Digestive issues are increasingly prevalent in the United States. Studies have shown that over 60 percent of Americans suffer from some type of gastrointestinal (GI) issues in a given week. Symptoms of GI problems include stomach pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, cramping and constipation. Aside from physical discomfort and pain, GI issues can affect our lives in many other ways. Gut issues often lead to nutritional deficiencies and weight fluctuations, which can cause fatigue, weakness or other health concerns. Disrupted daily routines and decreased productivity due to GI issues can make it challenging to maintain a normal schedule. Severe GI symptoms can lead to isolation and embarrassment, further causing depression and anxiety for many. The most commonly diagnosed digestive disorders in the U.S. are GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, Celiac Disease, Peptic Ulcers, Diverticulitis and Gallstones. Most GI disorders are managed with dietary and lifestyle changes. However, medications and even surgical interventions are recommended depending on the specific condition and its severity.
The Gut-Brain Connection
The connection between our gut and our brain is fascinating and has been recognized by experts for hundreds of years. This complex and two-way link between gastrointestinal (GI) issues and the nervous system is referred to as the “gut-brain axis.” The connection between our gut and brain is evident to anyone who has experienced a “nervous stomach” when awaiting a stressful interview, a difficult test or uncomfortable conversation. The gut-brain axis encompasses neural pathways, neurotransmitters, immune system components, and gut microbiota. The Vagus nerves, which are the longest cranial nerves connecting your brain to your large intestine, control involuntary bodily functions such as your digestion, heart rate and immune system. Disruptions in these nerves can cause a host of issues for our bodily functions, including digestion. When there are disruptions in how our brain communicates to our gut through our nerves, it is no wonder that GI problems exist.
Chiropractic Care and Digestive Health
As painful and stressful as it may be to deal with digestive issues, there are many avenues to pursue relief from these uncomfortable symptoms. Being diagnosed with a GI disorder does not doom you to a life of pain, overly restricted diets, or expensive medication. For many who are suffering, the answer may be found in the nervous system. Many people believe chiropractors only can treat chronic pain or joint immobility, but because of the proven connection between the nervous system and the gut, chiropractic care could potentially benefit many individuals experiencing GI problems.
Proper spine alignment is key to a healthy central nervous system and, in turn, the gastrointestinal tract. A trained chiropractor can identify, diagnose and adjust any misalignments and subluxations in the spine, improving the overall functioning of the nervous system and helping relieve many GI issues. It does not necessarily matter how long someone has lived with an issue – patients with lifelong digestive problems may actually be living with spinal misalignments that have been effecting them since they were kids. Research has also found a strong association between gastrointestinal symptoms and back pain, especially in women. Many of these symptoms could also be improved by chiropractic care for spinal discomfort and the digestive tract.
At Legacy Chiropractic, we look forward to helping you identify the underlying causes of your gut problems and ensuring that, through proper alignment and adjustment, your nervous systems and digestive systems are communicating most effectively, reducing your GI symptoms and improving your quality of life moving forward. Contact us for additional information and an evaluation.