Our health is impacted by a variety of factors that all interact with each other. Rarely is there a condition that has a single, isolated cause. This is why it can be important to identify the root cause of your health problems and address them there. Symptoms in one area of your body may be a reflection of a problem happening in a completely different location. Many people visit a spine doctor expecting only to deal with their back pain and are surprised to learn that their treatment may help other health issues as well. This is often the case when chiropractic treatment improves digestion.
The Spine and the Digestive System
Many common digestive conditions can be traced back to the spine. A range of spinal cord issues can cause problems in other parts of the body. The spinal cord sends nerve signals to the rest of your body, impacting its function, which can cause digestive problems. Issues that can lead to these problems include disc compression, herniated discs, or strained ligaments.
The lumbar spine, or lower back, is particularly important here. The sacrum is especially important when it comes to nerve function. Issues in the lower spine and sacrum can lead to symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, or bladder malfunction. This occurs because the lower spine includes sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves that connect directly to the digestive system, so interference directly affects these processes.
This process can work in reverse, as well. If you are experiencing stress in one of your digestive organs, the organ will send a message back to your spinal cord through the same nerves. The muscle that corresponds to these nerves may become tense, contracted, or could trigger back pain.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Pain in the lower back can occur for a variety of reasons, ranging from single acute injuries to chronic conditions. Some of these causes may indicate your lower back is affected and your digestion may be affected.
Strains – When the muscles or ligaments in the back stretch or tear due to excess activity, this is a strain. You may notice pain, stiffness, or muscle spasms.
Disc Injuries – Between your vertebrae are small, cushion-like discs that keep the bones from rubbing against each other. When one is jolted out of place or ruptures, it can press against the spinal cord or nerve roots, causing pain. This can occur when lifting or twisting, during a car accident, or as a result of degenerative diseases.
Sciatica – When a herniated disc presses on the sciatic nerve, which connects the spine to the legs, pain can occur in the legs and feet. It is often described as burning, pins and needles, or a tingling feeling that radiates down the back of the legs.
Spinal Stenosis – This condition occurs when the spinal column narrows and pressure is put on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Degeneration of discs usually causes this issue, as nerve roots can be compressed by tiny bone spurs or soft tissue. You may feel numbness, cramping, or weakness throughout the body, especially when walking or standing.
Other conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, spondylitis, reproductive health issues, spondylosis, pregnancy, or abnormal spine curvature can also contribute to lower back pain.
Treating the Root Cause
When you visit the back doctor with any sort of pain, their goal will be to determine the root cause of your problem and address that issue directly. Your initial conversation on your first visit with the chiropractor will be about your symptoms, medical history, and goals. With this information, they can develop a personalized plan to address your short term pain as well as your long term health. They will work to reset your body’s central nervous system by realigning the spine.
Unlike other solutions that are more invasive, like medication or surgery, chiropractic care is a natural approach to treatment. Because it is working towards a sustained fix, it may take some time before your digestive problems resolve fully. In addition to spinal adjustments to correct misalignments, your chiropractor may also discuss lifestyle changes like diet and exercise to help alleviate symptoms.
Whether you are suffering digestive issues or in need of a back doctor, AICA Orthopedics will work with you to develop a plan that fits your needs. Our chiropractors are able to work with a wide range of specialists to develop holistic treatment protocols to address your spinal and digestive health together. Call today to schedule your first consultation and begin feeling relief today!