Digestion Issues Treatment Chiropractor Sun Prairie, WI

One of the least talked about but most common issues in our office involves digestion. Our patients aren’t alone either—digestive disorders affect 60-70 million Americans each year. This begs the question: Why are digestive issues so common in the United States?

The term digestive disease encompasses all parts of the digestive system, from the esophagus down to the large intestine. The cause of many digestive disorders is unknown, but the United States has several contributing factors, such as chronic stress and exposure to harmful pesticides. There is also overwhelming evidence that the Standard American Diet might be the most significant contributor to digestive disease. The diet is high in carbohydrates, refined sugar, and processed foods, all of which contribute to gut dysfunction.

Common symptoms of digestive dysfunction may include diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, gas, bloating, food intolerances, and more. While gut disorders may be obvious in the physical sense, they also affect overall health. Because the gut plays a critical role in your health, any imbalance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other disorders. There is also substantial evidence of the effect of gut dysfunction and mental health. Imbalance, or dysbiosis of the gut, has been shown to contribute to increased stress, anxiety, and depression.

You may be wondering what chiropractors have to do with digestive disorders. Like all systems in the body, the digestive system is controlled by the nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments help to keep your nervous system functioning at its best. Because adjustments are gentle and safe, they are a great alternative to some prescription medications.

How We Improve Digestion in Sun Prairie, WI

Comprehensive Consultation and Exam

As with any complaint, performing a thorough health history with any digestive issues is necessary. This helps to discern if there are any familial, environmental, or mental components to the problem. A focused exam, along with X-rays on the areas of the spine that innervate the esophagus, stomach, and intestines, will help the doctors determine if a physical component is present. The results help the doctors focus on the areas that need the most correction.

A typical new patient’s first visit involves a detailed history of your digestive complaint, a specific exam, and X-rays. Our goal is to be as specific as possible, and we need time to review our findings before we go over them at your next visit.

Specific Chiropractic Care

The nervous system controls every function in the body, including the digestive system. When your spine is in alignment, the body functions normally. When your spine is out of alignment, or subluxated, the body isn’t able to send and receive nerve signals at full strength. This means that if the nerves that control the bowels and intestine aren’t firing correctly, then dysfunction can occur. For some, a subluxation causes pain or numbness and tingling in a certain area. But for many others, symptoms of subluxations are less obvious, such as constipation, diarrhea, or acid reflux. Chiropractors are trained to detect these subluxations by palpation and x-ray and correct them through chiropractic adjustments.

It is important to note that while we have seen hundreds of people report improved digestion in our office, more research is still needed to corroborate this in a clinical trial setting.

Nutritional Guidance

Part of the reason why digestive dysfunction is common in the United States is due to the Standard American Diet, which is arguably one of the unhealthiest in the world. This is why proper nutritional guidance is an integral part of our recommendations. In general, affected people should stick to a diet of lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and some whole grains as long as they contain fiber. Inflammatory foods such as milk and cheese should be avoided, along with sugar and carbonated drinks. These can cause excess bloating and discomfort. Please note that these recommendations are geared toward the general public, but you may need specific recommendations for your body that can be different from those given.

Many people turn to the help of supplements to aid their digestive problems. By far, one of the most effective supplements is a probiotic. Probiotics are live organisms that make up the good bacteria in your gut and keep your tract healthy. These can be found at any pharmacy and are usually kept refrigerated.

Digestive enzymes are also becoming popular. Digestive enzymes are proteins your body makes to break down food. Some people are insufficient in these enzymes and benefit from taking these as a supplement.

Common Digestion Problems in Sun Prairie, WI

GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. Symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, swallowing problems, sore throat, and sometimes vomiting. GERD can occur if the sphincter (valve) between the esophagus and stomach becomes weak and allows acid to flow in the opposite direction. Other factors contribute to GERD, such as obesity, pregnancy, and smoking. Studies have shown that addressing misalignments of the spine may help GERD symptoms by ensuring that the nerve that controls the sphincter sends full signal strength to contract the muscle appropriately.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is actually a group of symptoms that occur together, such as repeated pain in the abdomen and changes to the bowel movements, such as diarrhea, constipation, or both. The exact cause of IBS is unknown but it’s been thought that food passes at an abnormal speed through the gut along with stress, oversensitivity of nerves in the gut, and a family history of IBS. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to regulate the nerve signals affecting the gut and help decrease IBS symptoms.

Constipation and Diarrhea

Constipation or infrequent bowel movements (or difficult passage) typically persists for several weeks or longer. Like many GI issues, the list of causes of constipation is long. Insufficient fiber, change of diet, lack of exercise, and not drinking enough fluids are a few possible culprits.

Diarrhea is liquid or watery stool that occurs three or more times a day and may persist for weeks. Like its counterpart, constipation, diarrhea has several known causes. Viral infections, bacterial infections, and food allergies are the most common. Similar to many other digestive complaints, chiropractic care has a positive outcome on constipation and diarrhea. One specific study on a patient with chronic constipation reported a decline in constipation and a resolution of low back pain.

Bloating and Gas

Bloating occurs when large amounts of air or gas build up in the gastrointestinal tract. Bloating is commonly caused by eating too much too fast or having a food intolerance. It feels like a tight, full feeling and sometimes is described as a feeling of a balloon in the stomach. In some cases, bloating occurs because the nerves going to the stomach and intestine send irregular impulses, leading to bloating and gas. If this is the case, chiropractic adjustments to the spine can help regulate these impulses.

Dyspepsia

Dyspepsia is the term for recurring signs and symptoms of indigestion without obvious cause. It may feel like pain or burning in the stomach or feel like heartburn. While there is no known cause for dyspepsia, there are several contributing factors, such as consuming fatty or spicy foods, chocolate, alcohol, or carbonated beverages. Adjustments of the mid back and nutritional and lifestyle guidance can help alleviate dyspepsia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can chiropractors in Sun Prairie, WI help digestion?

We have had many patients report improved digestion after regular chiropractic care, along with improvement of other symptoms.

Can a misaligned spine cause digestion problems?

Simply put, yes. Misalignment of the spine can send abnormal signals to digestive organs such as the stomach, intestine, and esophagus.

What part of the spine controls digestion?

Spinal nerves of the thoracic spine (mid back) control the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Nerves in the lumbar spine (low back) control the large intestine and colon.

Can chiropractic help bowel movements?

Spinal misalignments in the thoracic and lumbar spine can contribute to symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation. Many people have reported improvement in these GI conditions after chiropractic adjustments.

How do I get rid of GERD?

There are many lifestyles and dietary treatments for GERD, including maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, avoiding trigger foods, and spinal adjustments to affected spinal nerves.