Welcome to the Family Chiropractic & Massage blog! Here, we will discuss anything and everything that has to do with chiropractic care and wellness. We will share helpful information and hopefully answer any questions you have through our articles. We are a chiropractic clinic that began in 1997 and has since grown to locations in North Charleston, Summerville, and Moncks Corner, South Carolina. We are dedicated to providing tailored care and treatment with traditional and new techniques to help our patients reach their wellness goals. We treat a variety of conditions including neck pain, back pain, injuries, sciatica, scoliosis, and more. Besides chiropractic care, we also offer physiotherapeutic care, rehabilitative care, and massage therapy. Our licensed massage therapists offer all types of massage from deep tissue to compression massage and more. We are strong believers in natural healing! Check out our website to find out more information about the services and care we offer, and contact us today to schedule an appointment with our experienced doctors!

In our last article, we discussed bad back habits and how to break them. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems. Experts have said that approximately 75 to 85% of Americans will have some form of back pain in their lifetime. Bad posture is one of the main causes of back pain, but other things such as the mattress you sleep on and your diet can contribute to back pain. If you’re interested in learning more about bad habits that can cause back pain and how you can prevent it, check out our last post.

Today, we’ll be talking about chiropractic care and the digestive tract. Digestion is what moves food through your body, breaking down food molecules and transforming them into energy and nutrients. The digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and the accessory organs of digestion like the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. When the digestion process is slowed down or interrupted, it can leave you feeling tired, sluggish, and sick. A recent study suggests that 62 million Americans are diagnosed with a digestive disorder each year. If you are interested in learning about how chiropractic care can benefit those with digestive issues, you’re in the right place!

An Overview of Digestive Issues

There are a variety of digestive tract issues, and some include chronic illnesses such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis (UC), or Diverticulitis. These illnesses bring on “flare-ups” which cause irritation within the small or large intestine. Some people suffer from chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. These conditions can cause a range of symptoms including abdominal pain and bloating. The cause of many digestive disorders remains unknown, but it is known that they can develop due to a poor diet, smoking, or alcohol abuse. While some of these illnesses require medication, some can be eased with a change in dietary habits. 

The nervous system controls every part of your body including the gastrointestinal system. There are nerves that extend from the lower part of the spinal cord and travel to the stomach and intestines. To put it simply, your spine communicates with your stomach– The thoracic and lumbar areas of the spine are responsible for regulating the breakdown and digestion of food. Any type of interference with these nerves can lead to digestion issues. For example, the pressure put on nerves from poor posture, stress, or lack of nutrition can put tension on your spine. This, in turn, can lead to organs not working properly because electrical impulses sent from the brain to the spine are not spreading to the organs like they should. Tension or misalignments in the spine are referred to as subluxations. Subluxations can block signals within the nervous system, causing your body not to respond to certain impulses that can affect the movement of food through the digestive system, the absorption of nutrients, or the removal of waste through the intestines

Chiropractic Care for Digestive Issues

Although most people think of chiropractic care as treatment for only the back, neck, or spine, it is also beneficial for those suffering from issues with digestion. Chiropractic care has been proven to reduce inflammation in the body and is a safe, effective, and healthier way to get relief and promote natural healing. Focusing on the functioning of the nervous system, chiropractic care targets subluxations in the spine. Correcting subluxations relieves pressure put on nerves and allows your body and organs to function properly. A Chinese study in 2012 found that spinal manipulation and the correction of subluxations was an effective treatment for IBS. 

Chiropractic treatment has also been found to help people who suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), commonly known as acid reflux. Acid reflux can cause an acidic taste in the mouth, nausea, and a burning sensation. It is often caused by obesity or a poor diet, and other things such as poor posture, stress, and smoking have been linked to the condition. Taking stress off of the joints and strengthening spinal muscles with adjustments can help relieve pressure from the stomach. A Canadian study published in 2015 examined chiropractic care for GERD, colic, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and constipation and found that chiropractic therapy could be used in addition to other conventional treatments of GI disorders. 

A chiropractor will assess your needs and isolate the root of the problem before performing spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to correct subluxations and get your body back on track. Massage or other therapeutic techniques may be incorporated to relieve pressure on the nerves, joints, and muscles. Chiropractors can also work with you to create a long-term treatment plan, discuss your dietary needs, and help create a nutrition plan that works for you. 

Healthy Eating for the Digestive Tract

It is no secret that a proper diet is the key to health and wellness. Eating healthy and drinking plenty of water to keep your body hydrated can help maintain a healthy digestive tract. If you want to alter to diet to improve digestion, here are a few suggestions:

  • Yogurt: Yogurt is made from fermented milk and contains good bacteria such as probiotics. Probiotics live in the digestive tract and help improve digestion. They help with issues such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Check the label for “live and active cultures”. 
  • Ginger: Ginger or ginger root is widely used in Eastern medicine to treat nausea and improve digestion. Research shows that ginger helps food move faster through the stomach, reducing your risk of heartburn, nausea, and stomach discomfort.
  • Dark green vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are a great source of fiber. Fiber helps maintain bowel health and feeds the good bacteria in your gut.
  • Salmon: Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation in the body. This can help improve the digestion process, especially if you have a condition such as IBS.
  • Kefir: This cultured dairy product adds “grains” made from yeast and bacteria to milk. These cultures lead to an increase in good bacteria within the gut and aid with the digestion of lactose.
  • Avocado: This superfood is rich in fiber and nutrients like potassium, which helps improve digestion. It is a low-fructose food, which means it is less likely to cause gas.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains provide fiber and nutrients which help lead to optimal colon function. They are great for the good bacteria that thrive on fiber.

As you can see, the digestive tract and the spine are directly related. Therefore, chiropractic care is a great way to keep your gut in check. We hope you found this article informative, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you have any further questions or concerns. It would be a pleasure to assist you. Here at Family Chiropractic & Massage, we have doctors who have studied a variety of chiropractic techniques to render care to patients with different types of conditions. As people vary, so do the techniques chosen to help each patient get well. We use evidence-based treatment methods to help patients get better faster. If you are suffering from any type of back pain, contact us today to set up an appointment so we can assess your needs and create an effective treatment plan. One of our experienced doctors would love to help get you on the track to living a healthy, pain-free life! Thank you for reading, and we hope you’ll check back for more articles about chiropractic care and all it has to offer!