Are the Holidays Hard to Digest? The Key to Overcoming Digestive Issues.

It’s hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t love a Thanksgiving dinner feast. I mean what’s not to love? Turkey, stuffing, yams, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy and pumpkin pie. Once the meal is over though, the post-Thanksgiving dinner hangover ensues. For many this looks like a nap on the couch but for a great deal of Americans it leads to digestive chaos. Up to 45 million people in the United States suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) symptoms of which include: gassiness, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The average cost of IBS treatment per year in the United States is between $1.7 billion and $10 billion for direct medical cost—that doesn’t include any medication, prescription or over the counter–and a whopping $20 billion more for indirect costs, like time off (not only for doctor’s appointments, but for illness as well) or less productivity while at work. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) IBS is responsible for “more than 700,000 physician visits, 100,000 hospitalizations, and disability in 119,000 patients. Over the long term, up to 75% of patients with Crohn’s disease and 25% of those with ulcerative colitis will require surgery.”

Many Americans turn to over-the-countermedications such as Pepto-Bismol, Tums, Alka-
Seltzer or other antacids. The problem with these options is that they come with a vast array of side effects from the FDA such as anxiety, muscle weakness, headaches, depression, vomiting, and many more. Recent research studies have shown chiropractic adjustments as a positive alternative for IBS without the side effects of the aforementioned over-the-counter medications.

How could a chiropractic adjustment affect the digestive system you may be wondering? That’s a great question! The nervous system (which we focus on at Acru Health) directly innervates the digestive system at multiple spinal levels. The phrenic nerve, which arises out of the brain travels directly next to the atlas vertebrae (C1) innervating the majority of digestive organs, sympathetic nerves in the thoracic and lumber spine and parasympathetic fibers from the sacral region, which all play major roles in controlling digestive processes. If there are any subluxations (misalignments in the spinal column which negatively impact the communication across the nerves) present in these areas it can lead to many of the symptoms under the IBS umbrella.

In a published case study, a young woman had been plagued with IBS symptoms once or twice a week for 5 years. After one adjustment she noticed a reduction of symptoms and within a short period of time all her digestive problems disappeared. When the case was published 2 years later she was still symptom free.

As the holidays approach, remember that regular chiropractic adjustments could be the difference for the digestive challenges you may experience. At Acru Health, through the detection and correction of subluxations, we allow your body to heal and function naturally the way it was designed. We have already seen many practice members report positive changes in their digestion under scientific and specific chiropractic care in our office. We would love the same result for you this holiday season!

Wagner, T., J. Owen, E. Malone, and K. Mann. 1996. Irritable bowel syndrome and spinal manipulation: a case report. Chiropractic Technique 7:139-40.