Common Digestive Problems that Chiropractic Care can Cure


Although most people avoid talking about it, having digestive problems is more common than you would think. Gastrointestinal disorders are often unpleasant, irritating and painful. More than these negative effects, they can hinder the normal functioning of your digestive system and compound your health woes.

Some of the most common digestive problems that afflict Americans are:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – Sometimes called acid reflux, GERD affects 20% of Americans. It occurs when gastric acid from your stomach flows back up into the esophagus causing heartburn, a symptom characterized by a burning chest pain. GERD is a disorder of the lower esophageal sphincter, the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus. In a normal digestion, the lower esophageal sphincter opens to let food into the stomach and closes to prevent the partially digested food and gastric acid from going back up into the esophagus. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or relaxes inappropriately.
  • Gallstones – Your gallbladder is the organ that secretes and stores bile for digestion. Gallstones, hard deposits from excessive cholesterol or waste in your bile can form in your gallbladder causing pain in your abdomen, particularly in the upper right section. It is reported that gallstone affects 20 million Americans.
  • Crohn’s disease – This chronic disease belongs to a group of conditions described as inflammatory bowel disease. It is an autoimmune disease – your immune system mistakes your body’s cells for foreign invaders and attacks them, causing damage. It usually affects your small intestines or the digestive tract. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, and weight loss are the common symptoms. It is estimated that Crohn’s disease may be affecting up to 700,000 Americans.
  • Ulcerative colitis – Another type of inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis have symptoms similar to Crohn’s. In this condition, however, the large intestine is solely affected. About 700,000 Americans may be affected by ulcerative colitis.
  • Celiac disease – Serious sensitivity to gluten, a type of protein, which is found in wheat, barley and rye, characterize this disorder. If you have celiac disease and you eat gluten, your immune system will be agitated and will damage your villi, the part of your small intestines that aid in the absorption of nutrients from the foods that you eat. About 1 in every 133 Americans has this disorder, but 83% of them either do not realize that they have it or have been diagnosed with a different disorder. The symptoms of this disease differ between adults and children. Adults may have fatigue, anemia, bone loss, seizures and depression while children’s symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, constipation, and weight loss. What may cause the misdiagnosis for this condition is the fact that some people may not manifest any symptom.
  • Hemorrhoids – In this condition, the blood vessels located at your digestive tract’s end are inflamed. A common sign you may have hemorrhoids is when you see blood in the toilet during bowel movement. Chronic constipation, straining during your bowel movements, diarrhea and lack of fiber in your diet can cause hemorrhoids. 75% of Americans aged 45 years and older are reported to have hemorrhoids.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome – The symptoms for irritable bowel syndrome are varied and the causes are not known. Some signs you may have irritable bowel syndrome are when your digestive tract is irritable, when you have stomach pain and when you experience discomfort a few times in a month for several months, and you can have constipation one day then have diarrhea another day. 10 to 15% of Americans are affected by irritable bowel syndrome.

Chiropractic Care for Digestive Disorders

As varied and complicated these digestive problems may be, chiropractic care may be the common effective treatment option for them. Your spinal nerves, working in coordination with your brain, control all your body functions. Particularly, your body’s digestion is controlled by the nerves in the spine in the thoracic region, or around the chest and abdominal area. Misalignment in the thoracic vertebrae causes these nerves to become irritated. This irritation will result in these nerves sending erratic impulses to the gastrointestinal organs, which can lead to various digestive problems, such as the most common disorders described earlier. Putting the thoracic spine into proper alignment through chiropractic care allows the release of tension the nerves and attached muscles may be holding. The release of tension can significantly help alleviate the various digestive problems and allow the body to heal and achieve optimal performance.

How Chiropractic Helps in Digestion


Proper digestion, rest and exercise are some of the important aspects of healthy living that many people fail to give enough attention to because of their fast-paced activities at work and in the home. This leads to the rise of various digestive issues. From studies, we know that 40% of visits to the doctors are due to gastrointestinal problems. The complaints include heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome. The common convenient way people afflicted with digestive disorders try to treat their conditions is by taking a pill. Do not be surprised that the second highest selling drug in America is Nexium that treats gastroesophageal reflux diseases, or simply, acid reflux.

The Effects of Drugs to Digestion

While medications in most cases provide relief to the symptoms of digestive disorders, they are temporary and do not address the root cause of the problem. The digestive problem will most likely flare up again, and the vicious cycle of unhealthy habits, digestive problem and medication continue, with no apparent end.

It is also unfortunate that many people with spinal pain such as back pain, tension headache and neck pain almost instinctively turn to painkilling drugs for relief. This practice may have adverse effects to their digestive health. It is estimated that about 16,500 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to bleeding ulcer from the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). This type of drugs that include Aspirin, Aleve, Advil and Naprosyn are common medications prescribed for spinal pain.

Tylenol, although not an NSAID, is linked to liver damage, which is another digestive problem. Tylenol poses a severe risk to the liver of patients who are already into other medications that have known liver toxicity.

Laxatives when used long-term can lead to a number of problems that can damage your digestive function.

There is a more effective and natural way of managing digestive problems and preventing their recurrence – chiropractic treatment. Yes, chiropractic care, aside from helping patients be relieved of back pain, neck pain and tension headaches and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, can offer other health benefits, including relief from digestive problems.

Chiropractic Care and Digestion

Nerves from different regions in the spine have definite connection to the digestion process. These spinal nerves have the capability to control the speed of the food passing through the digestive tracts, control the quantity of digestive juices being secreted into the gastrointestinal tract, and control blood supply to the various organs of the digestive system. Disturbances in these spinal nerves will not just necessarily result to spinal pain, but they can potentially affect any function associated with these nerves, including digestion.

Minor to severe subluxations or misalignments in the spine can interfere with the nerves’ ability for proper digestion control. Improper alignment in the spine put stress and strain on the nerves, making them incapable to send out the important signals to the digestive organs that activate them to function well. Digestive disorders such as chronic acid reflux, constipation and upset stomach can develop as a result. These ailments will persist until the interference in the nervous system or the subluxation is corrected.

It was revealed in an Australian survey of 1,494 patients of chiropractic that heartburn or indigestion often accompanied their spinal pain. Most of these patients initially reported only their spinal pain, which was usually felt between their shoulder blades, to their doctors, and not about their stomach troubles. 22% of the patients with indigestion or heartburn reported relief from the symptoms of their digestive problems, as well as from their spinal pain, in the course of their chiropractic care.

Other studies showed the link between low back pain and constipation or diarrhea in patients. In these cases, correction of misalignment or subluxation in the patients’ pelvis or lumbar area lead to the relief of both their low back pain and problems with their bowel movement.

The digestive system is strongly linked to the nervous systems, which has complete and total control over the functions of the digestive system. Chiropractic care can have dramatic improvements on the functioning of the digestive system. It is extremely effective and safe in the treatment of conditions related to digestion.

Chiropractic Care and Other Tricks to Treat Digestive Problems

Grated and ground ginger in two wooden spoons ginger root green leaves on the wooden board

Swallowing too much air can lead to all sorts of digestive troubles including indigestion, belching, heartburn, and gas. Practice these habits to control where air goes.

  1. Gulping your meal makes you swallow air with your food, resulting in gas and a bloated feeling. Instead, take small bites and chew with your mouth closed. Since you are more likely to eat faster and swallow more air if you are hungry, consider eating more fre¬quent – but smaller – meals.
  2. Bypass straws and narrow-necked bottles. You may burp more if you drink from these.
  3. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy increases saliva, which helps neutralize stom¬ach acid. But you will often swallow extra air without noticing. When you have candy or gum in your mouth, simply try to keep your mouth closed.
  4. Do not smoke. You will swallow air if you suck on a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. When you feel bloated, you may be tempted to force yourself to belch. Do not do it; ¬you will just swallow more air in the process.
  5. Try an apple a day. Whether your problem is visiting the bathroom too often or not often enough, apples can help. Just one apple with its skin contains four to five grams of fiber ¬the most important nutrient in keeping your bowels working regularly and smoothly. Get¬ting back to normal without relying on harmful drugs could be as easy as replacing that afternoon snack of potato chips or cookies with a crisp, delicious apple. You can also try ginger or other amazing foods.
  6. Turn away pain with turmeric. If your symptoms also include heartburn, bloating, nausea, and even light-colored stools, turmeric might offer some relief. Symptoms like these can be signs of a poor flow of bile from your liver to your gallbladder. Turmeric gets your bile flowing, which could relieve your pain. It works so well that the German Commission E, experts in the field of herbal medicines, recommends taking up to a half tablespoon – about three grams – every day for this kind of indigestion.
  7. Visit your chiropractor. Chiropractic adjustments aim to provide balance and overall wellness, including eliminating pain and diseases brought by body organs affected by damages of the nervous system. Digestive problems and stomach pains can significantly be reduced with regular chiropractic adjustments. More on visiting chiropractoк and how he can help here.

While stomach pains may be difficult to face, there are simple everyday solutions that you can turn to in order to minimize the ache. As long as you are equipped with the right knowledge, you can easily and effectively overcome stomach problems.

Antacid Tips and Traps


If your doctor has approved the occasional use of over-the-counter medicines for your heartburn, here is what you need to know before you go to the drugstore:

  1. Antacids can have hidden side effects that could be dangerous. So read antacid labels and talk to your doctor to help you recognize products that may not be safe for you.
  2. If you are on a low-salt diet, choose your antacid with care. Seltzer-type products contain a lot of salt and should not be taken by people on low-sodium diets.
  3. Antacids that are high in calcium should be avoided by people with kidney problems. Calcium antacids can also cause a rebound effect, resulting in even greater acid production.
  4. If your favorite heartburn remedy contains magnesium, do not take more than the recommended daily dose, and do not use it for more than a week without your doctor’s approval. Too much magnesium can cause diarrhea, and that can rush food through your colon too quickly. This “gastrointestinal hurry” keeps the colon from absorbing nutrients. With fewer nutrients to fuel your activities, you may feel tired and worn out.

Even worse, you could build up deadly levels of magnesium in your body. Magnesium is excreted from your body by your kidneys, but your kidneys have more trouble doing this as the years go by. That is why it gets easier to build up dangerous levels of magnesium as you grow older. The signs of this dangerous side effect are low blood pressure, muscle weakness, light-headedness, confusion, heart rhythm disturbances, nausea, and vomiting. If you develop these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.

Although many people think liquid antacids work better than tablet antacids, scientific evidence says otherwise. Oklahoma researchers were surprised to find that tablets actually provide greater and longer-lasting relief than liquids. A study of 65 heartburn sufferers suggested that tablets can do a better job of lowering acid levels in the esophagus and reducing the number of times stomach juices flow back into the windpipe. The tablets mix with your saliva to form a gummy substance that sticks to your esophagus better and longer than the liquid medicine. Plus, the act of chewing the tablets may bring out the natural antacids in your saliva.

4 Amazing Foods that Soothe Gastritis


When doctors talk about inflammation of your stomach lining, they call it gastritis. That inflammation means stomach pain, and it can be a sign of a peptic ulcer. If you have gastritis, do not eat high-acid foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, sodas, and orange juice.


They could make you hurt worse. Try these four foods to help cure the pain – or even better – prevent it.


  1. Go for green tea. Drinking green tea regularly could ease stomach inflammation. What’s more, Chinese green tea is also a potent antioxidant that can protect you from heart disease and cancer. It’s good for your health in a lot of other ways, too.
  1. Plan on plantain. A cousin of the banana may help fight off stomach pain and inflammation related to ulcers. In animal studies, plantains caused the stomach lining to grow. It thickened, actually preventing new ulcers from forming, and covered over existing ulcers, allowing them to heal – kind of like putting salve on a cut. If you buy plantains from the grocery store, don’t eat them raw. Instead, wait a bit. They’ll turn dark in about three or four days, and that means they’re ready to prepare. Try boiling, baking, or mashing them like potatoes for a tasty and helpful remedy.
  1. Satisfy your tummy with yogurt. Here are two new ways yogurt might rescue you. The “good bacteria” found in yogurt destroy several kinds of bad bacteria that can lead to stomach inflammation, including ulcer-causing H. pylori. Just make sure you choose and eat yogurt with active cultures.

And because these helpful bacteria may fight the side effects of antibiotics, yogurt could also soothe your tummy when you take antibiotics to treat an ulcer. Try eating several cups of this creamy treat each day.

  1. Try a raw old remedy. Unprocessed honey can coat your stomach and fight bad bugs at the same time. With its antibacterial powers, honey can fight ulcers by killing H. pylori bacteria. Making honey your everyday sweetener may also shield your stomach from other irritants that can cause ulcers – like NSAIDs and alcohol.

Try eating a tablespoon of honey an hour before meals and at bedtime to help soothe your discomfort. Spread that tablespoon on a piece of bread to keep the honey in your stomach a little longer.

When Diarrhea Strikes: What Trigger Foods to Avoid


In some cases, what you put in your mouth can trigger awful stomach problems – almost as if you’d taken a fast-acting laxative. Here are some prime suspects that bear watching.

Cut back on spicy, fried, and sugary foods. These are common diarrhea culprits, so bypassing them could make a real difference.

Remember how some sweeteners can trigger indigestions? That’s also how sugar-free eating may cause diarrhea. In both cases, the offending sweetener is sorbitol, a popular sugar substitute in many sugar-free foods and treats. It doesn’t take much of this little sweetener to cause gas and bloating. A few more grams and you could feel cramping and diarrhea. If you are sensitive to this product, don’t forget to check labels. Sorbitol also lurks in vitamin supplements, over-the-counter drugs, and some prescription medications.

Diarrhea can also be a symptom of a food allergy. Allergies affect more than 20 percent of Americans. If you’re allergic to a particular food, allergy symptoms will strike with an hour or so after you eat it. You can blame over 90 percent of all food allergies on just eight edibles – peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.), milk, eggs, wheat, fish, shellfish, and soy. So if you’re experiencing diarrhea, think about what you ate. If the answer frequently includes a common allergy food, try avoiding that food and see if your symptoms improve.

If a recent meal included wheat, rye, barley, or oats, you may be allergic to gluten, a mixture of proteins found in many grains. This inherited allergy, called celiac sprue disease, can severely damage the lining of your intestines. If you think this may be causing your problems, find out how to choose foods that don’t hurt in the celiac disease chapter.

Caffeine stimulates your bowel muscles as well as your brain, so it can cause diarrhea. Watch out for side effects from caffeinated coffee, tea, or cola. Nicotine and alcohol can cause digestive problems, too. Although these may not count as foods, eliminating them could make your diarrhea go away.

Chiropractors’ Advice on How to Prevent Ulcers


Ulcers, also referred to as peptic ulcers, are defined as the sores that usually develop in the stomach’s or on the spot just right at the beginning of the small intestine. One sign of an ulcer can be a gnawing stomach pain that comes and goes for days or weeks at a time, occurs two to three hours after meals or in the middle of the night, and goes away when you eat or when you take an antacid.

Other ulcer symptoms may include weight loss, bloating poor appetite, burping, and nausea or vomiting. If you suspect you have an ulcer, you should take appropriate measures right away.

Some painkillers can be like the double agent in an old spy movie. Just when you think they have come to help you, you discover they are working against you. That’s the case with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These NSAIDs can undermine your stomach’s natural protection. Aspirin and ibuprofen are common NSAIDs taken for arthritis, headaches, and minor aches and pains. If they cause you stomach pain, ask your doctor about switching to another type of pain reliever.

Meanwhile, chiropractors advise that working on these new habits can help you avoid ulcers and the pain that comes with them.

  1. Get a good night’s sleep. Experts believe natural compounds called TFF2 patch up everyday wear-and-tear in your gut, so that it won’t get bad enough to cause ulcers. While there’s some TFF2 in your stomach most of the time, the amount seems to increase up to 300 percent during normal sleep. So make sure you’re snoozing from at least one to five in the morning. That way you will get the best natural repair to your stomach.
  1. Although stress and spicy foods are no longer considered ulcer-causers, they may trig¬ger pain once you have an ulcer. Try to control stress and avoid triggers until your ulcer heals. Experiment with walking or other exercise to see if that lowers your stress and makes you feel better.
  1. Fill up on fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and you could lower your risk of ulcers. Peo¬ple who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop ulcers, and research¬ers think fiber could be the reason. Fiber seems to encourage the growth of the mucous layer that protects your stomach from digestive acids. What’s more, a combination of fiber and vitamin A can help protect your poor battered stomach lining and may playa role in rebuilding it. Try a tasty sweet potato to get both of these stomach helpers at the same time.
  1. Stop smoking to ease the burn. Cigarette smoking raises your risk of developing an ulcer. It also makes existing ulcers heal more slowly and increases the odds that your ulcers will return again.
  1. To protect your stomach, think before you sip a drink. Alcohol, black tea, and coffee, even decaffeinated, are all known to irritate your digestive tract. While drinking these products may not give you an ulcer, they can make the one you have feel worse – and maybe even take longer to heal. Replace your morning cup of coffee with another hot drink that is milder on your stomach.

Sure-Fire Cure for Celiac Disease


Wheat, barley, rye, and oats are among the most commonly eaten foods on the planet. However, if you have celiac disease, you might not be able to enjoy them. Celiac disease, also called celiac sprue, causes the hair-like villi of the small intestine to become inflamed and flattened. And since nutrients from food are absorbed through these tiny villi, the disease often leads to symptoms of malnutrition – even if you are eating healthy meals.

These villi in your small intestine do not become inflamed all by themselves. The culprit in celiac disease is gluten, a protein in many common grains. If you have celiac disease, you cannot eat foods made from these grains without damaging your small intestine. And the stakes are high. Up to 15 percent of people with the disease develop gastrointestinal cancer or lymphoma. Yet, if you eat a gluten-free diet, you can usually recover completely, and your chances of getting cancer can return to normal.

Possible symptoms of celiac disease are weakness, fatigue, anemia, bone pain, weight loss, stomach bloating, and diarrhea or bulky stools that float. All these symptoms are a result of not getting nutrition from the foods you eat. In addition, celiac disease often leads to lactose intolerance – the inability to digest milk. Other conditions that may show up along with celiac disease include liver disease, dermatitis herpetiformis (burning, itching rashes that last for weeks or months), thyroid disease, juvenile diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome (a condition that is characterized by very dry eyes and mouth), and ulcers of the mouth. But sometimes celiac disease has no symptoms at all, just the harmful changes in your small intestine.

Doctors in the United States do not test for celiac disease very often, and people with celiac symptoms are often told they have irritable bowel syndrome or a nervous disorder. At this time, the only certain test for celiac disease is removal of a tiny piece of the small intestine to check for damage to the villi. If your doctor finds changes in your small intestine, and a totally gluten-free diet relieves your symptoms, chances are good you have the disease.

Ginger: The Answer to Queasy Stomachs


The problem with some remedies for nausea is that you cannot stay awake after you have taken them, but ginger fights nausea without that side effect. Chinese sailors knew this fact thousands of years ago, but in modern times ginger has proven itself in study after study as well.

In one of the latest studies on motion sickness, scientists followed almost 2,000 people on a whale safari. Out of the seven different seasickness medicines used on the trip, ginger stood out like a champ. It worked as well as any of the heavy-duty drugs, but unlike them, ginger didn’t make anyone drowsy.

Because ginger works directly in your gastrointestinal tract, it reduces both the symptoms and the causes of your nausea. Newspapers and herbal magazines are filled with testimonials by people whose nausea was uncontrollable until they discovered the joy of ginger.

Even better, ginger makes your body healthier while it makes your food tastier. According to research, ginger has one of the highest antioxidant loads in the plant kingdom. To see if it helps you, pick up ginger supplements at any natural food store and take two 500-milligram (mg) pills about an hour before travel. If you still feel sick, take one or two more every four hours. Powdered ginger capsules may enable you to get the amount of ginger you need without suffering the burning sensation that swallowing plain powdered ginger can cause.

You can also use candied or crystallized ginger – a more chewy and sugary alternative. A piece I-inch square and one-quarter-inch thick is equal to a 500-mg pill. You can find can-died ginger at most grocery stores or in Asian markets. Powdered, grated, and whole gingers are all widely available.

Alternately, you can try a soothing ginger tea. Just pour one cup of boiling water over two teaspoons of powdered ginger, and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain, and then sip slowly.

Some doctors are big fans of ginger, but others are not convinced. Just know that ginger may not work for everyone. Although most people can enjoy fresh or powdered ginger without any side effects, check with your doctor before taking supplements if you regularly take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or blood thinning medication like Warfarin. Because ginger can keep blood from clotting, it may cause you bruising and bleeding problems.

If you’re scheduled for surgery, stop any herbal supplements well in advance. In addition to bleeding problems, you may experience an interaction with anesthesia.

Talk to your doctor before using ginger if you have gallstones. And before you recommend ginger to your pregnant friends, please note that it may not be safe for unborn babies.