IBS and Chiropractic

IBS and Chiropractic

The Connection Between Colon Function and Your Spinal Nerves

To decide whether or not chiropractic can help you in your pursuit of calming irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it might be helpful to consider other cases of disrupted digestive function. For example, what happened when people with constipation and diarrhea received chiropractic manipulations? This is the best way to analyze the data now since there have not been any specific studies of IBS and chiropractic.

Here Are a Few Studies That Can Give You a Clue:

  1. A study reported in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association in 2011 had clinical faculty at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College rate whether or not chiropractic manipulation was beneficial for 29 different conditions. One of the conditions that the majority of clinicians agreed that chiropractic helped was constipation.
  1. In January 2007, two chiropractors reported on the case of an 8-year-old boy whose constipation was completely resolved after chiropractic treatment. The boy had had a problem with chronic constipation since birth, with fluid, fiber and laxatives not helping. The chiropractors determined he had a subluxation of the sacrum and when the manipulation was made, followed by massage of the abdomen in a clockwise direction, there was a dramatic improvement. He received two visits a week for a month. His mother confirmed he had established normal bowel function. This was confirmed 13 years later as well.
  1. There was another case of a 29-year-old man with chronic lower back pain who had a mild bulging disk at the fifth lumbar vertebrae. Medications and standard chiropractic manipulation provided little relief. The chiropractor used a method of chiropractic called applied kinesiology for treatment and instructed the patient on what to do at home. His bowel function improved as did his low back pain.

What these three studies tell us is that if one method of chiropractic doesn’t work, try another. We’ve seen here that relief can occur quickly, so there’s no point in lingering for additional treatments if they are not resolving the condition. If standard chiropractic care doesn’t work, try applied kinesiology.


How Do You Find a Chiropractor Who Can Help?

There are a few guidelines that can help you find the right chiropractor:

  1. Experience is always preferred to no experience. Chiropractors beginning in practice right out of school are not your best choice. You want someone who “knows the ropes”, particularly with IBS and chiropractic.
  1. You can call the Chiropractic Association in your state and talk to them for awhile. Talk to a chiropractor, not their secretary, and ask what are the top three methods of chiropractic that can help you with your IBS. You may hear terms such as diversified technique, COX table, spinal decompression, and applied kinesiology. Take notes on what their response is.
  1. Then ask for two referrals to chiropractors for each one of those top three methods. You might even get lucky and find that one chiropractor is skillful in all three methods. That’s the ideal situation as if one method doesn’t work, they will have the others to fall back on.
  1. Give it a shot. Go for it. The only thing you have to lose is your IBS, and the money’s worth it.
  1. Ask the chiropractor how many patients the have helped with IBS and go with the one who has the most experience.


Caso, M.L. Evaluation of Chapman’s neurolymphatic reflexes via applied kinesiology: a case report of low back pain and congenital intestinal abnormality. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004 Jan; 27 (1): 66.

Parkinson, J., Lau, J., Kalirah, S., and Gleberzon, B.J. Attitudes of clinicians at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College towards the chiropractic management of non-musculoskeletal conditions. J Can Chiropr Assoc 2011 Jun; 55 (2): 107-19.

Quist, D.M. and Duray, S.M. Resolution of symptoms of chronic constipation in an 8-year-old male after chiropractic treatment. J Manipulative Phsyiol Ther 2007 Jan; 30 (1): 65-8.

Up next:

Can a Low FODMAP Diet for IBS Help Symptoms?

Many living with IBS have found that eating a low FODMAP diet has improved their symptoms and quality of life. Learn more about FODMAP here.
by Sophie Lee on December 10, 2018
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