Gastrointestinal problems, such as stomach pain, indigestion, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), can be pretty stressful and embarrassing to regularly deal with. Unfortunately, for many Americans, this is their reality. Digestive problems are on the rise, and many individuals are unsure of how to manage them. Traditional medical practitioners may give anti-inflammatory or anti-heartburn drugs, but these aren’t necessarily safe over time, and they don’t always address the source of the problem. For people suffering from painful stomach problems, it may be surprising to learn that chiropractic treatment may actually be the answer they are looking for.
This article will explain exactly how spinal alignment can affect digestion and how seeing a chiropractor can help correct digestive issues.
How Can Spinal Alignment Affect Digestion?
A lot of research has been done to assess whether or not spinal alignment can affect digestion. One 2008 study shows that increases in the angle of lumbar kyphosis and the number of lumbar vertebral fractures may represent very important risk factors for GERD in osteoporotic patients. Another study published in 2015 showed that laryngopharyngeal reflux disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease were significantly higher in patients with lumbar kyphosis than in participants without the diagnosis who were used as “control subjects.” This is because lumbar kyphosis (a reverse curve in the lower spine) and thoracic hyper-kyphosis (an excessive curve in the middle of the spine) are known to put more strain on the stomach and esophageal system. Furthermore, the changed spinal-posture alignment will impede gastric reflex activity, which controls the movement of the lower gastrointestinal tract after a meal. This is essential for digestion and movement of food from the stomach to the intestines. Eventually, in many cases, this complex reaction caused by the change in the spinal alignment is what causes GERD.
The fact that spinal misalignments in the spine will exert unnecessary and often harmful amounts of pressure on the nerves coming out of the spine is another leading factor for GERD and other digestive issues. Because the nervous system oversees every function in the human body, interruptions in nerve activity caused by the spine being out of alignment can also disrupt stomach function. This phenomenon is what’s known as “nerve interference.” Nerve interference can reduce the amount of essential nerve energy reaching the stomach, and the stomach and digestive tract can continue to become increasingly dysfunctional if left untreated. The result is many of the commonly reported digestive ailments we hear about or experience ourselves.
Restoring the Spine to Improve Symptoms
Chiropractic treatment is frequently used to alleviate digestive issues because restoring the spine to its natural alignment can effectively rid your body of the digestive symptoms caused by the misalignment. By realigning the spine, nerve compression or tension can be relieved, and nerve signals may begin to flow properly again. This ensures that your digestive system runs smoothly. Many GERD patients undergoing chiropractic treatment have noticed a decrease in their symptoms. Because realigning the spine and strengthening the back muscles can ultimately allow the nervous system to function optimally again, the stomach and other essential organs can resume their regular functions without the symptoms associated with GERD. One Chinese study even showed that correcting the displacement of intervertebral discs and/or vertebra (spinal misalignments) to resolve the symptoms caused by pressure exerted on the nerves and vessels around the spine is an effective treatment for IBS.
Your chiropractor can also help you build healthy habits, such as eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercises that help maintain good posture. These lifestyle modifications can help with everything from GERD to IBS or even with persistent stomach pain caused by spinal misalignments. These nutritional changes, along with maintaining a healthy posture and spinal alignment, are extremely beneficial to long-term nervous system health, and therefore, digestion health.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, aims to realign the spine back to health, eliminate nerve interference, and return the body to a state of health and wellness. The doctors at PostureWorks use this research-driven approach to fix any misalignments that may be causing your digestive problems.
Now that you’re aware that spinal misalignment can affect digestion, if you’re noticing symptoms associated with GERD or other digestive problems, schedule an appointment today to see if your spinal alignment is the root cause, and let us get you back into optimal alignment.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function while eliminating the source of pain and circulatory and nervous dysfunction. CBP is conservative, evidence-based, and non-invasive. To find out more about how spinal alignment can affect digestion or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks, contact us today.