Constipation Relief with Chiropractic Care & Craniosacral Therapy

About Constipation

Constipation is widespread affecting men and women, the young and old and everyone in between equally. Constipation symptoms such as cramping, bloating, stomach and back pain can range from annoying to extremely painful. For this reason a conversation about your frequency of bowel movements and texture of bowel movements should not be delayed and is a sensible next step that will lead to immediate relief and comfort to your life.  I’m confident that by applying a combination of two gentle, natural treatments, chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy can:

(all proven achievable with chiropractic care and supported with research, click links)

Constipation Relief with Craniosacral Therapy

With respect to constipation and all gastric issues (diarrhea, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, etc.) understanding the role of the Vagus nerve, one of the cranial nerves, is key as it travels all the way from the brain down to the large intestine. One of the Vagus nerve’s many functions is to stimulate the muscle contractions within the intestines that move stool through your digestive system.  Thus within the gastronomical tract (intestines) the Vagus nerve regulates the glandular secretions and subtle contractions of smooth muscles required for processing, moving and expelling of stool from your body.  

Thus in addition to information on this page in how chiropractic care  resolves constipation, be sure to visit my page on Vagus Nerve Treatment here to learn how I supplement chiropractic care with craniosacral therapy – forming a powerful yet gentle treatments that swiftly resolves chronic constipation while also alleviating any lower back pain and gastric issues. 

Why Medications Won’t Work for Constipation

When experiencing constipation people commonly resort to medications in effort to manage both the constipation and associated problems.  While medications may provide a moment of relief, it’s a temporary fix as they are only covering up the symptoms rather than seeking out the root cause and correcting it. As soon as you stop taking the medications the constipation will return.  Additionally the medications can produce unwanted side effects for example with respect to laxatives  – taking too much can actually have the opposite effect, worsening your constipation instead of providing relief. 

Also numerous medications can either cause or exacerbate constipation such as Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation, such as naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).  Antihistamine medications, like loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), are helpful for allergy symptoms, but they can also lead to constipation — with frequent use. 

It’s equally important to be mindful pain medications such as “opioids” (oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone, and Tylenol #3,) can cause constipation, as they slow down the movement of stool through your intestines.  Medication-related constipation can’t be treated by changing the type of liquid or food you consume thus eating more fiber will not help, neither will exercises like walking. 

What’s Causing Your Constipation

Generally speaking most people understand their constipation to be caused by a diet lacking in fiber, possibly the overuse of laxatives, or a health ailment such as Celiac disease or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).  While these are all valid perceptions most people are surprised to learn that in a great many instances, constipation is actually a nerve dysfunction in origin and rooted in the health of their spine.  Therefore the most effective treatment for constipation is care focused on spine health with the intent of relieving nerve dysfunction while restoring healthy 2-way nerve communication.  This has been proven most notably with respect to a person experiencing chronic constipation and this research which concluded chiropractic care immediately improved the person’s stool consistency and increased their bowel movements from 0 to 5 bowel movements weekly.  

Constipation typically occurs when stool remains in the intestines (gastrointestinal tract)  too long and soon becomes hard and dry from having the stool’s water absorbed by the colon. 

The intestines are connected to the spine through a complex network of nerves and their healthy functioning requires proper nerve communication with the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).   However, the slightest spinal misalignment or disruption to specific areas of the spine can interfere with nerve communication between your central nervous system and your intestine (gastrointestinal tract) and lead to constipation.

Without accurate 2-way nerve communication between your intestine (gastrointestinal tract) and central nervous system, messages that instruct your body’s procedural next steps on how to process (digest and expel) stool can go errant and not acted upon. However gentle targeted chiropractic adjustments correcting spinal misalignments will: 

  • remove issues causing nerve communication interference
  • restore 2-way communication with the intestines and central nervous system
  • ultimately enable your body to naturally heal itself and relieve the annoying and often painful symptoms of constipation

Spinal Misalignments, Subluxations & Your Constipation

In chiropractic care a subluxation is a mechanical disturbance and misalignment of the spinal column or cranial (bones of the head and face), not necessarily visible on X-rays, that disrupts the functioning of your nervous system, specific joints, tissue, muscle, bony structures, fascia, possibly tendons, ligaments and other parts of the anatomy.  It’s important to be aware subluxations and misalignments can be painless, arise for a great many reasons, and at any point in the course of your lifetime.  Subluxations and misalignments can impose pressure, pinch, and even essentially ‘strangle’ nerves exiting the spinal cord and cranial nerves coming out of the cranium.  

All of these anomalies of the spine that infringe upon the nerves can induce partial or complete malfunctioning in the communication signals traveling over the affected nerves.   Your digestive organs that process stool are connected to your central nervous system by nerves running through your highest lumbar vertebra (L1), and lowest thoracic vertebra (T12).   (See Red Arrows Below)

Your brain transmits messages through this pathway to instruct your body on how and when to process and expel stool.  A spinal misalignment or subluxation interfering with nerve communication pathway can result in partial or complete organ dysfunction, giving rise to constipation, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and other gastric problems.   

If you’re coping with constipation, it’s very likely that you have a spinal misalignment or subluxation in your spine’s highest lumbar vertebra (L1) & lowest thoracic vertebra (T12) that’s aggravated something called the “celiac ganglion bundle of nerves” .

How Constipation Arises from a Chiropractic Perspective

Spine issues affect our health far more than we realize as the central nervous system is responsible for the healthy functioning of all other body systems, the intestines included.  Spinal misalignments, particularly in the L1 vertebra, can interfere with communication to your intestines leaving them entirely or partially dysfunctional and resulting in constipation.  Here are the 4 basic steps in how constipation arises from a chiropractic perspective:

  • With healthy functioning of your body systems, stool in the intestine is ‘pushed’ by muscles to the anus, where it leaves the body.
  • Nerves and their cells in the intestine called ganglion nerve cells direct the intestinal muscles to push the stool. These ganglion nerves connect directly to a more complex bundle of nerves called the celiac ganglion, which is essentially the “digestion air traffic controller of nerve communication” with the intestines, stomach, liver, pancreas, and other areas of digestion.
  • The celiac ganglion bundle of nerves or “digestion air traffic controller of nerve communication” is connected to the spinal cord (and thus brain) through nerve roots exiting the spine’s upper lumbar and lower thoracic region.

  • Any form of pressure or pinching applied to the nerve roots exiting the spine’s upper lumbar and lower thoracic region [your highest lumbar vertebra (L1) & lowest thoracic vertebra (T12)] can interfere with proper communication with your celiac ganglion bundle of nerves or the  “digestion air traffic controller of nerve communication”.  Pressure to this area of the spine can arise from a vertebrae misalignment or even an emotional issue such as anxiety or stress.  Regardless of the origin of the pressure, it can ultimately result in the full or partial malfunction of the intestinal muscles pushing stool to the anus and causing constipation, or  irritable bowel syndrome, and other gastric issues.   Whenever the central nervous system can’t function at its optimal pace, stool travels sluggishly through the intestines and colon, and this slow pace can be experienced as constipation.

In treating you I identify and resolve any spinal misalignments, relieve the pressure and relax the spine within the upper lumbar and lower thoracic region with chiropractic adjustments. Through safe, natural, and precise adjustments of your spine, chiropractic treatments can relieve not merely chronic constipation but also low back pain, all due to spinal compression triggering nerve roots linked to intestines and digestive flow.   Most people notice digestive improvements within days of receiving chiropractic care, along with back pain relief, that comes with the reversal and restoration of the previously strangled nerves. 

Stress & the Connection with Constipation

Digestive issues are usually connected to the health of your central system and physical nerve compression, but also emerge from psychological distress. For example, many who’ve suffered from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) are familiar with the discomfort intense emotions and anxiety can produce in their gut.   Mindful psychological factors can significantly affect digestive health; it’s not surprising that nerves connected to the digestive system are vulnerable to emotional triggers that can disrupt their communication and functioning when stressed or otherwise aggravated.  

Stress can induce or aggravate stomach pain, nausea, and changes in bowel movements, including constipation.  This happens because in stressful circumstances; 

  1. our body’s release hormones as part of the fight-or-flight response 
  2. released hormones divert blood flow & metabolic resources away from the intestines and toward vital organs (lungs, heart, and brain) 
  3. this diversion of fluids increases intestinal permeability (leaky gut allowing entry to toxins) causing inflammation while also slowing down intestinal movement of stool and constipation commonly occurs. 

(Our Vagus Nerve Treatment page offers a detailed explanation on how emotional stress can trigger organ malfunction throughout the body including digestive system dysfunction.  Craniosacral therapy is the premiere treatment for resolving Vagus nerve dysfunction including those ailments connected to the digestive system.  click here).

Constipation in Children Treated with Chiropractic Care

Constipation can often affect babies, toddlers and young children.  In fact a newborn could possibly have Hirschsprung’s disease (missing nerve cells in the muscles of the baby’s intestine) If they do not pass their first solid stool, within 48 hours of birth. More commonly, constipation is experienced:

  • when an baby first starts formula feeds
  • during weaning
  • during potty training
  • at times of stress

Aside from not passing stool, symptoms indicating constipation in children include:

  • a firm or distended abdomen (abnormally swollen outward)
  • low energy
  • reduced appetite
  • irritability

Stress and constipation also affects children and there is research of school-aged children, documenting the connection between exposure to stressful life events and pediatric constipation.   Additional Research has shown:

  • One case study reviewed children who suffered from constipation determining nearly all experienced immediate relief after just one chiropractic treatment.
  • Another case study on infants under the age of 2 concluded infants that had irregular bowel movements along with pain, bleeding, and straining were able to have regular bowel movement, free of strain and pain, after undergoing chiropractic treatments. 

If your newborn, toddler, or school aged child is experiencing constipation I invite you to call me for a free consultation.   Also please visit my page on the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy for newborns, toddlers, and children by click here

If you’re experiencing constipation or any gastric issues such as constipation, GERD, IBS, diarrhea, or any others,  rest assured that you’re not alone.  You don’t have to live with this uncomfortable situation that can make life miserable. Chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy will not only resolve this problem but also improve your overall health.   The first step to bettering things is with a conversation, so feel free to call me, inform me of your circumstances and I will share with you if and how I can be helpful.

Craniosacral therapy kindles the body’s inherent healing power by supporting the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid in effort to balance the craniosacral system (the spinal cord, brain, its membranes, & fluids).    If you or a loved one is experiencing constipation issues, don’t hesitate to reach me and I will be as helpful as possible sharing my insight once I learn of the circumstances. 

About Dr. Kaminsky & Craniosacral Therapy

Dr. Kaminsky is a 1999 graduate of the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic. He is licensed to practice in NY and has completed close to three thousand hours of professional continuing education since becoming licensed in March of 2000.

The primary approach used in his office is Craniosacral Therapy (CST) which is a method focusing on the cranium (head) and sacrum (a large bone at the base of the spine) scientifically proven to control life sustaining fluid flow throughout the body.

Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on manual therapy approach that brings about healing via the fluidity of the body. The existence of the Craniosacral System was first discovered by Osteopath Dr. William Sutherland in the early 1900’s, calling it Cranial Osteopathy.  And later rediscovered, validated, and developed by Dr. John Upledger in the late 70’s early 80’s, who renamed it Craniosacral Therapy after doing five years of research at the Michigan State University, School of Medicine. In 1983 Dr. John, as he was fondly called, established a teaching institute in Palm Beach, Florida, to teach this cranial sacral method to all healthcare providers. The Upledger Institute is still very active today.

The craniosacral mechanism pumps fluid which is produced in the brain, called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF), through the fascial network of the body, the purpose of which is to lubricate joints, muscles, organs, all cells and all tissues. It is the driving life force for your body’s systems to function properly, CSF also carries healing properties to bodily traumas, injuries and past surgeries.

The proper function of your cranial sacral mechanism, via CSF flow, maintains the normal tone of your muscles, provide nutrients to your organs, and keeps you out of pain. It sustains human life and allows your nervous system to stay responsive to challenges of daily living and your mind-body life experiences. The better your craniosacral mechanism functions, the better the flow of this life sustaining fluid, the better your body can handle physical and emotional stress. The uninhibited flow of this fluid throughout your body allows you to thrive, opposite of survival mode.

CSF is part of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) brain and spinal cord), which is physically encapsulated within the dural membranes of the spine and head.

One of the functions inside of your brain is to automatically generate energetic rhythmic impulses that function to pump CSF throughout your body, regulating your peripheral nerves, nervous system and organ systems, which in turn, sustain your function (physiology) and life. It is an important force that maintains everything functioning in your body. This is what we call the Craniosacral System, or Craniosacral Mechanism. It is the hydraulic, energetic and rejuvenating system of your body.

This measurable life force of moving fluid is palpable to a trained craniosacral therapist, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rate, that can all be felt, so too can the Cranial Sacral Rhythm (CSR) be palpated and measured. It is the foundational diagnostic tool in real-time used to evaluate your current state of well-being (or lack thereof), and potential for health improvement and healing.

Compromises of your rhythmic impulse, correlates to CSF flow restrictions in the system which the body is unable to self-correct or overcome on its own. This is the reason why over time we develop pain, dis-ease, symptoms, conditions, mind-body disconnect and basically all human physical and psychological ailments.

When the fluid isn’t flowing optimally, your bodily rejuvenation is affected, and this is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable. By placing his or her hands on your body, most commonly on your head and sacrum, for diagnostic purposes, the practitioner can detect, feel, evaluate, and rate the SSQAR (strength, symmetry, quality, amplitude, rate) of the rhythm; then bring forth correction of any limitations with subsequent experienced hand placements on different parts the body during a session.

A craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm reset, restore and renew allowing for healing to take place of the mind-body connection, musculoskeletal tightness and spasms, neurological deficits, autoimmune issues, organ function, many common conditions, and of course pain. Through a practitioners properly focused and attuned touch, your body is facilitated to release channels of fluid stagnation and flow restriction, which ultimately breakthrough, overcome and improve CSR and the function of vital fluid flow.

Dr. Alex Kaminsky is an advanced practitioner of Craniosacral therapy, having studied up to advanced levels including SER and pediatric courses. He has built a solid foundation with many years of experience, treating babies, children and adults.

To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kaminsky.