IBS is a disorder that affects the large intestine and means, literally, that the patient has irritated bowels. IBS causes a great deal of pain and discomfort but does not permanently damage the large intestine, nor does it cause more serious conditions such as colon damage or cancer. For some people, IBS is mild and can be managed with diet and stress management. For many others, however, the condition is disabling, making it impossible to work or travel even short distances.
IBS is characterized by cramping, abdominal pain and bloating, gas, diarrhoea and constipation. Patients who have IBS-related diarrhoea often feel an urgent and uncontrollable need to have a bowel movement. Many people alternate between diarrhoea and constipation. Also, some people find that their symptoms subside for months, whereas others’ IBS worsens over time.
Because it is not clear what causes irritable bowel syndrome, medical treatment tends to focus on the relief of symptoms. Some of the treatments include anti-diarrhoea drugs, anticholinergic (these drugs suppress the nervous system) drugs and even anti-depressants. Bear in mind, all of these drugs have side effects. Because of the side effects, Chiropractors have a more natural approach to treating IBS.
One of the most telling realizations about irritable bowel syndrome is that even though the cause is unknown, most GPs will tell you that there is a dysfunction in the muscles of your intestines that causes the food to be moved through them either too fast or too slow. This movement is controlled by your parasympathetic nervous system. Those parasympathetic nerves exit your spine in your low back and go to the intestines. If there is a problem with that area of your low back, it can affect how the intestinal muscles function. Just like people can have symptoms in their legs as a result of a low back problem affecting the nerves to the legs, they can have intestinal symptoms if the parasympathetic nerves going to the intestines are involved with a spinal problem.
Chiropractors treat IBS through specific chiropractic adjustments that affect the parasympathetic nervous system. If you’re suffering from this chronic, and often times debilitating, condition, wouldn’t it be worth giving chiropractic a try? Unlike the medications, chiropractic care has no side effects.
Stretch of the Month
- Lower into a squat with the hands on the thighs, back arched
- Contract your abdominal muscles. (Try to pull your belly button toward your spine.)
- Slowly round your back, pushing it up toward the ceiling.
- Allow your head to drop forward and curl your pelvis under.
- Hold for 10 seconds. You should feel a gentle stretch in your back.
- Return to the starting position.
- Raise your head up and let your pelvis fall forward as your belly reaches down toward the floor.
- Hold the position for 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat about 5 to 10 times.
Healthy living involves discipline and a strategic approach towards exercise and nutrition. It requires small, consistent changes every day to increase your metabolism and fuel your body with the right types of nutrients.
Here are some simple ideas to help you live a healthier life:
- Avoid staying in one position in front of your computer or television. Change positions at frequent intervals so you’re not sedentary all day.
- Get on your feet and move an hour or two a day to decrease cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. Moving around gets your blood flowing and your body working.