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Can Chiropractic Care Help Alleviate Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms?

November 13, 2023
Read Time: 7 Minutes

Can chiropractic care help ulcerative colitis? For those struggling with this chronic digestive condition, the answer is yes. A chiropractor can help manage disorder symptoms in many ways through whole-body holistic treatments.

Rather than prescribe medication*, a chiropractor examines the alignment and tension in your spine and muscles, which can significantly relieve stress on your large intestine, lessening pain and flare-ups.

Since symptoms of ulcerative colitis can be highly unpleasant, and the condition may put patients at risk for even more severe issues (like colon cancer), regularly seeking treatment as soon as possible is essential.

As part of your central nervous system, connected to the brain, spinal health plays an integral role throughout the entire body, including your digestive system. Improving your gut health and underlying causes that may worsen your symptoms is hugely beneficial.

Chiropractic care is a pain-free, non-invasive treatment method with little-to-no risk. If you're wondering, "Can chiropractic care help?" it's worth seeking an evaluation and treatment at an in-office visit and developing a customized treatment plan designed to meet your needs.

Keep reading to learn more about ulcerative colitis, how chiropractic care impacts gastrointestinal health, minimizing inflammation and improving immune response, and why spinal alignment and nerve communication are critical when addressing symptoms.

A chiropractor can help ease digestive orders for a better quality of life.

*Never stop taking or altering your medication regimen without speaking with your medical provider. Never change, modify, or add dietary supplements to your daily routine without your doctor's approval.

Understanding Ulcerative Colitis

Medical professionals can identify the cause of ulcerative colitis in patients at this time. However, the problem is believed to be related to the body's immune system–though the direct connection is unclear. However, it is considered a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).

The condition usually affects the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum. Patients experience a range of symptoms, which also puts those at increased risk for both colon and rectal, and bowel cancer.

There is a connection between food and mental health which can cause flare-ups of the condition and worsening symptoms. Particular foods and increased stress are the two primary culprits.

Food that can worsen symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • White bread
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dairy
  • Food that is high in fat
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks, like soda and seltzer water
  • Spicy foods
  • Red meat
  • Fried foods
  • Margarine, shortening, and lard

Foods that are hard for the body to digest are the most likely to cause symptoms. Certain vegetables can even cause flare-ups. If you have ulcerative colitis, it helps to keep a food diary, logging what you eat and when your symptoms worsen. This enables you to hone in on problem foods to minimize pain and discomfort before it occurs.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis commonly include:

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Excessive, chronic, and bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Gurgling sounds and feelings in the large intestine
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling the need to empty your bowels, even when they're empty
  • Fatigue

You cannot self-diagnose ulcerative colitis and often need to see a gastrointestinal doctor to receive specialized care. Your doctor will order lab tests and imaging to identify the disease correctly. For some, the condition is life-long, while for others, it may persist for a few years before going away. The most common ages for this form of IBD are those between fifteen and thirty, though it can occur at any time across all demographics.

Possible medical interventions for the disease include prescription medication and occasionally surgery. You may require IV fluids at a hospital if you become severely dehydrated due to symptoms, and other medical procedures may involve the use of enemas.

If you're looking to mitigate the need for drastic measures, it can be beneficial to seek chiropractic care before the condition worsens. Many patients choose this option since it's non-invasive and requires no additional procedures or medication.

The Role of Chiropractic Care In Gastrointestinal Health

While many associate chiropractors with addressing back and neck pain, they can also help improve gastrointestinal health. This may lessen symptoms, decrease the frequency of occurrence, and boost your mood as a result.

Experts state that with ongoing care, patients typically experience decreased intestinal discomfort. While visits won't cure the disease, they can certainly help you feel better.

Healthy digestion starts with a healthy spine, like many other body parts. Your spine contains countless nerves, and since it is part of the central nervous system, it can become irritated and put undue pressure on your intestines. You can experience decreased blow flow to the area, brain signals that release pain, and diarrhea.

If your spine is out of alignment, it can't communicate well with your gastrointestinal system. Chiropractic care improves bowel function, which can lead to lessened or decreased symptoms.

Addressing Inflammation and Immune System Response

As ulcerative colitis is thought to be connected to the immune system, it's essential to address this bodily function, too. Additionally, as part of the classification of inflammatory bowel disease, the role of this inflammation requires attention, too.

IBD is believed to be caused by immune system dysfunction, leading to digestive tract inflammation. Your immune system identifies healthy gut bacteria as a danger instead of something required.

The immune system begins to mistakenly attack the healthy bacteria as they view it as a harmful infection instead. This battle between the immune system and friendly bacteria leads to the inflammation that accompanies IBD.

Excellent spinal health and improved communication with the digestive symptom is one way to fight back against this unpleasant symptom. Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can also help decrease symptoms.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods Include:

  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes
  • Fatty fish
  • Fresh fruit
  • Spinach and kale

The Mediterranean Diet is famous for fighting inflammation and providing health benefits. Studies show that those who strictly follow this diet have lower risks of getting cancer, insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, and cognitive decline over the years.

If you're looking for a way to further improve your IBD symptoms in addition to medical and chiropractic care, following an anti-inflammatory diet can help significantly as it fights back against your immune system's incorrect response to gut bacteria.

Stress Reduction Techniques

Ulcerative colitis is also associated with increased stress and mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression may come first or be a secondary effect of struggling with the disorder. Many find they experience flare-ups during periods of excessive stress, making the experience even worse.

Patients with ulcerative colitis often become anxious before events like parties, dinner dates, and other places like airplanes, where they won't have easy and private access to a bathroom. This can cause people to miss out on important, fun activities, perpetuating the cycle of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Your chiropractor can help you create a whole-body wellness plan to help minimize this stress.

Stress reduction techniques may include:

  • Yoga and meditation
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Breathing exercises
  • Therapeutic hobbies
  • Talk therapy
  • Diet adjustments
  • Exercise routines
  • Aromatherapy
  • Proper sleep habits and routines
  • Positive visualization
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • And more

Reducing stress is a great way to feel better mentally, ease depression, and help manage anxiety. It also takes your body out of fight-or-flight mode, enabling all bodily functions to work better. It can help alleviate muscle tension, help the spine remain aligned, and more.

Spinal Alignment and Nerve Communication: The Bottom Line

What's the final conclusion to the question, "Can chiropractic care help ulcerative colitis?" The answer is that while it won't cure the condition and likely isn't a total replacement for medical treatment from a gastroenterologist, it can significantly help manage symptoms.

When aligned correctly, your spine can communicate with your brain, nerves, and digestive system much better. It can help reduce inflammation, improve the healthy function of the immune system, and chiropractors can help develop whole-body wellness plans to manage stress and mental health.

Many patients report an improvement in symptoms in as little as one session. Chiropractic adjustments help your brain release "feel-good chemicals," which can instantly improve your mood. However, ongoing, long-term chiropractic treatment is the best way to maintain symptom reduction.

As you go through a series of chiropractic appointments, you'll likely notice that your symptoms decrease greater over time and that the frequency of flare-ups also lessens. This puts you on the path to a happier, pain-free life where you can enjoy all the world has to offer.

If you have an ulcerative colitis diagnosis, contact ChiroCare of Florida today to schedule an appointment. With eight locations throughout South Florida, extended evening hours, and weekend appointments available upon request, getting treatment is easy.

We work with multiple insurance policies, including Medicare, and will verify your benefits before your arrival so you know what to expect financially.

Don't wait. Seek chiropractic care today.

About the Author:
Dr. Steven Schwartz
Raised in Coral Springs, Florida, Dr. Steven Schwartz is a major advocate for the South Florida community. CEO of ChiroCare of Florida, Dr. Schwartz has grown the group from one facility to 11. Whether he’s treating patients or volunteering for community service, Dr. Schwartz’s long-term goal is to ensure that each and every patient can experience the ChiroCare of Florida difference.
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