Dr. Kristen Mitteness
Chiropractic and IBS
Updated: Aug 29, 2021
I've had quite a few patients tell me that their IBS symptoms were improved after they started chiropractic treatment. Now, this isn't uncommon in my pediatric patients and I'm not the only one who has observed this. Here are some published case studies on the topic:
Resolution of Chronic Constipation in a Child Undergoing Chiropractic Care to Reduce Vertebral Subluxations: A Case Report & Review of Literature
Resolution of Chronic Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Constipation in an Infant Following Chiropractic to Reduce Vertebral Subluxation: A Case Report & Review of the Literature
Resolution of Constipation in an 8-month-old child Following Adjustment of Vertebral Subluxation
Resolution of Constipation in Children Following Subluxation Based Chiropractic Care: A Case Series & Review of the Literature
So why might digestive issues be improved with chiropractic treatment? Have you ever experienced mid to low back pain when you had a stomach ache, kidney, gall bladder or other organ issues? All the nerves that innervate your organs first have to pass through your spinal cord. When only about 10% of your nervous system actually feels pain, other issues can arise without pain symptoms. Could it be that when your spine is moving and functioning better, your bowels work better, too?
Chiropractic is known to make an impact on the neuromusculoskeletal system. Could the improvement in someone's gut after adjustments be from improving the function of the nervous system? Considering many of us are stuck in a sympathetic loop (think fight or flight) and chiropractic adjustments may help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (think rest and digest) maybe the change in our nervous system state allows our bodies to re-regulate themselves.
I don't have all of the answers, but I do know that healthy people don't experience digestive distress. In addition to adjusting my patients, I also discuss diet, exercise and stress management with any patients who present with IBS or other gastrointestinal complaints. Like many other common symptoms, maybe giving chiropractic a try is worth it. It's inexpensive and effective and the risks and side effects are extremely low and often mild.
Want to read more about irritable bowel syndrome and chiropractic? Here is another great read: Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the Spine