The Connection Between Digestive Health and Chiropractic Care

4 min read

Chiropractic care is known for its pain management benefits for the back, neck, and joints, but many people don’t realize that its benefits go beyond pain management. One lesser-known benefit of chiropractic care is its effect on the digestive system. Believe it or not, chiropractic care can help improve your digestion process. Keep reading to find out more.  

Understanding the Digestive System

Your digestive system helps your body break down food into sugar for energy, amino acids for protein, and fatty acids that turn into necessary fats. These are used for energy, muscle and bone development, and controlling the chemical processes in your body. 

A healthy digestive system allows you to fully absorb your food's vitamins and other nutrients and release unneeded wastes. It also contains essential healthy bacteria that affect your organ function and nervous system. 

When the digestive system isn’t working properly, you might feel bloated, tired, nauseous, or experience constipation. 

How the Spine is Related to Your Digestive System

Your spine not only holds you upright, but it’s also the connecting point of nerves that extend out to all areas of the body. When your spine is aligned correctly, your nervous system functions at its best. When your nervous system is working well, so is your digestive tract. That’s because the digestive tract contains an extensive network of nerves that impact other areas of the body. So, when your gut health is on track, you will feel good in more ways than one. 

Spinal Misalignments and Digestive Dysfunction

Common spinal misalignments come from herniated or ruptured spinal discs or strained muscles and ligaments. It can happen suddenly, or it can be caused by sitting or standing too long in one position. If the misalignment isn’t fixed, it can lead to issues with digestion, including:

  • Difficulty having a bowel movement
  • Abdominal pain
  • A feeling of fullness immediately after eating
  • Feeling like you still need to use the bathroom when you’re done

Digestive Conditions That Chiropractic Care Can Help

Digestive issues are widespread, affecting more than 40 million Americans, and range from temporary to chronic conditions. 

  • Constipation - To be considered healthy, bowel movements should occur at least three times a week. When you have less than that, your body is not able to release toxins and waste stored in it. This not only hurts your stomach but also causes you to have less energy, feel bloated, and even experience indigestion.
  • Acid Reflux/GERD - This condition causes chronic heartburn and possibly regurgitation of acid from the stomach. 
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s Disease – These conditions cause inflammation of the large intestine, which can make it difficult to digest foods. 
  • Celiac Disease - Caused by an allergic reaction to gluten, this chronic condition causes irritation and damage to the small intestine lining, which leads to pain, discomfort, and digestive issues. 

While chiropractic care can’t always cure these conditions, it can reduce their effects. 

Chiropractic Care for Digestive Issues

Depending on the cause of the spinal misalignment, the chiropractor will recommend a treatment plan designed to return the spine to its proper position. This allows the central nervous system to function properly, sending signals correctly to all areas of the body.

Spinal manipulation is one of the most common chiropractic treatments. By realigning the vertebrae, the nerve signals are delivered correctly. Chiropractic adjustments involve placing gentle pressure on the spine to align the vertebrae properly. Most patients need several adjustments to get their spine in alignment and stay there. 

If you have a herniated or ruptured disc, the treatments may be different. Spinal manipulation may put too much pressure on the spine while it's healing. For these patients, spinal decompression can relieve the pressure off the cracked or ruptured disc. By taking the pressure off the vertebrae, you’ll experience less pain, and blood can flow more easily to the area for healing. Several sessions are needed for spinal decompression to provide lasting results. 

If spinal misalignment is caused by muscle or ligament overuse, additional therapies can help keep a spinal adjustment in place. These include cold laser therapy, which brings blood to the affected area to improve healing, and massage therapy to loosen the muscles. When muscles are too tight in the back, they can prevent spinal adjustments from being as effective.

Proper spine alignment can enhance all bodily functions, including those related to the digestive tract. Keep in mind that your chiropractor won’t treat your digestive tract directly; they’ll focus on your spine and central nervous system. This will ensure that your entire body functions as it should, leading to optimal digestive function. 

Other Ways to Support Digestive Health

Keeping your digestive tract healthy can support your well-being in several ways. Studies have found that your digestive tract is closely associated with your brain, and maintaining healthy gut function can help improve your mental health and cognitive abilities. A healthy digestive tract can also help support your immune system, sleep patterns, and hormones. 

In addition to seeing a chiropractor regularly to support digestive health, here are some additional steps to keep your digestive tract working well. 

  • Eat a nutritious diet with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains
  • Cut back on processed foods with artificial ingredients
  • Drink water and stay hydrated
  • Chew food thoroughly and eat slowly
  • Eat fermented foods and take probiotics to help promote good bacteria in your digestive tract

Support Digestive Health With Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care probably seems like an unexpected solution to digestive issues, but it is worth trying if you’re struggling with digestive health. Many digestive issues are related to the nervous system, and chiropractic care helps to ensure that your nervous system functions properly. 

Chiropractic care supports your body in more ways than you may realize. Its holistic approach improves full-body health so that you can feel your best. Our skilled chiropractors will develop a unique treatment plan to fit your needs. Schedule your visit today

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