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Decoding Digestive Changes after Seeing a Chiropractor

Updated: Apr 23

Your best friend swears by it. Your uncle John doesn’t spend as long in the bathroom. You’ve seen it pop up in your social feed. So you may be wondering if all that hype may be true…

Will going to see the chiropractor help you with your digestive issues?

Presently, there is no research that supports that chiropractic adjusting itself can help with digestive issues. So why are there so many people on the internet and elsewhere saying that they have fewer digestive issues after seeing a chiropractor?

What does chiropractic adjusting actually do?

There are many physical effects of chiropractic adjusting. Better physical movement, changes in muscle activation/relaxation, and decreased pain are researched effects of getting spinal manipulation, or chiropractic adjusting. Since your brain knows where you are in space by the movement of joints, getting better joint movement can have an effect on things ranging from coordination to strength and muscle activation.

Additionally, we have seen changes in brain activity and inflammatory chemicals  after a patient undergoes a trial of chiropractic adjusting therapy.

Why might people have changes in their digestion after getting chiropractic care?

There are a few reasons why someone might see changes in their digestion after undergoing a trial of chiropractic care.

  1. Nutritional guidance

A chiropractic school education includes education on clinical nutrition, as well as common gastrointestinal disorders. Some chiropractors take additional training on the subject. If someone who has a gastrointestinal issue, such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) has not had adequate guidance or diagnosis before, a chiropractor may be able to identify the signs and offer nutritional changes that can be helpful.

Often times, a discussion on diet and its potential effect on inflammation and pain is had with a patient who is presenting with a pain issue that has become chronic. Decreasing inflammatory triggers can have a positive effect on digestive health, and health overall.

A chiropractor may also counsel on diet, generally, if it seems that the patient could benefit from altering their nutritional intake. A lack of fiber and decreased water intake can alter digestion and have an effect on the gut bacteria.

Sometimes, it may not necessarily be the adjusting therapy that did the trick. It may have been all the other aspects of treatment.

  1. Decreased physical stress

The effects of chronic stress on digestive health has been shown and is validated by the medical field. Increased cortisol over time can cause inflammation and have an overall negative effect on not only digestive health, but health overall.

If a source of stress is musculoskeletal pain, and that pain is reduced, it makes sense that overall stress on the body will be reduced. Many patients state that their overall mental health has improved, since they no longer are concerned about their pain issues.

I believe that overall musculoskeletal discomfort, not only pain, can be a source of stress for some people, and I have had patients occasionally confirm this. It is well known that psychological stress can be felt in the physical body as tension. Since chiropractic adjusting therapy can have a positive effect on how the body feels overall by releaving physical tension, it makes sense that that would reduce overall stress, thus having an effect on the other symptoms associated with consistent stress.

  1. Posture changes

For many people, imbalanced posture is the norm. The head coming forward, shoulders rounding forward, and a forward-curving spine are all common in what we would call a “flexed’ posture. This type of posture can be due to simple habit, or it can be due to pain or discomfort.

A flexed posture alters intestinal digestion. When we slouch, especially after a meal, that slows down digestion. It can also have an effect on how quickly your stomach empties, therefore increasing symptoms of GERD.

Waking posture is not only something we may need to addressed. If someone with IBS sleeps on their left side or on their back, then it may help with IBS symptoms in the morning, if that is something they suffer with.

There are many reasons why someone may regularly have a flexed and imbalanced posture, and seeing a chiropractor can often times help with guidance for that issue.

You can read more about posture in this blog from February.

Having digestive issues, especially alongside back pain or neck pain, can be difficult to address. Having someone on your side who is knowledgable in both, like Dr. Whit at Alameda Chiropractic & Ergonomics, can make it easier to manage and reduce symptoms of both.

If you deal with digestive issues and bodily discomfort, then contact Dr. Whit at Alameda Chiropractic & Ergonomics. He can help you transform your journey to a healthier, elevated quality of life.

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