Chiropractic Care and Digestive Issues

Researchers Discover Possible Link Between Crohn’s Disease and Spinal Problems

According to a recent study, researchers in Japan say there is a possible link between Crohn’s disease and interference to the nervous system from spinal misalignments.

The research was published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research and grew out of a previous study involving more than 3,000 patients with allergic diseases and over 1,000 non-allergic patients. It focused on the relationship between immune function, spinal displacements called vertebral subluxations, and how reducing those displacements resulted in improvement, and in some cases complete remission, of symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s disease causes inflammation in the small intestine but it can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation causes pain and makes the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea.

There are many theories about what causes Crohn’s disease but none has been proven. The most popular theory is that the body’s immune system reacts to a virus or a bacterium by causing ongoing inflammation in the intestine.

Treatment for Crohn’s disease includes corticosteroids to control inflammation but while these drugs are considered the most effective for active Crohn’s disease, they can cause serious side effects, including greater susceptibility to infection. Immune suppressing drugs are also used to treat Crohn’s disease.

According to Dr. Yasuhiko Takeda, a chiropractor and lead author of the study: “This is why it is so important to develop other means of dealing with this terrible disease. If we can find treatments that enhance the function of the immune and nervous systems perhaps we can help millions of people with this disease without the harmful side effects of drugs.”

Beginning in 1992, the focus of Takeda’s research has been on the relationship between subluxation, allergic disease, asthma, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel disorder and ulcerative colitis. He became interested in this after observing common patterns of spinal distortions and subluxation in patients presenting with these problems. He observed that many of these people got better following chiropractic care. This convinced him that chiropractic care was the answer to these health problems and that he needed to look into it in more detail.

As Takeda pointed out, “Allergic diseases are a large group of disorders that include: pollinosis, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, hay fever, bronchial asthma, drug allergies, Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease to name a few. In Japan alone these diseases affect tens of millions of people. It affects their quality of life in terms of physical strength, immune deficiency, and autonomic imbalance. It doesn’t stop there as it affects their social well-being, schoolwork and on the job productivity. You must also consider the terrible side effects of the steroid medications and immunosuppresants that are given to treat these patients.”

While the results are exciting, more research is needed, according to Dr. Matthew McCoy, Editor of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. “Clearly the results of Dr. Takeda’s study are something to be excited about and they are not surprising considering other research that shows improved immune and nervous system function following chiropractic care,” stated Dr. McCoy.

Chiropractors correct misalignments and related problems of the spine that interfere with how the nerves work. These problems in the spine are called vertebral subluxations and can be corrected by chiropractors with painless adjustments to the affected spinal bones.

Other Digestive Disorders

Including: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Kidney, Incontinence, Interstitial Cystitis.

The types and frequencies of nonmusculoskeletal symptoms reported after chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy. Leboeuf-Yde C, Axen I, Ahlefeldt G, et al. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999:22(9):559-564.

Twenty consecutive patients from 87 Swedish chiropractors answered questionnaires on return visits. A total of 1,504 questionnaires were completed and returned. Twenty-three per cent of patients reported improvement in nonmusculoskeletal symptoms, including:

Easier to breathe (98 patients)
Improved digestive function (92)
Clearer/better/sharper vision (49)
Improved circulation (34)
Less ringing in the ears (10)
Acne/eczema better (8)
Dysmenorrhoea better (7)
Asthma/allergies better (6)
Sense of smell heightened (3)
Reduced blood pressure (2)
Numbness in tongue gone (1)
Hiccups gone (1)
Menses function returned (1)
Cough disappeared (1)
Double vision disappeared (1)
Tunnel vision disappeared (1)
Less nausea (1)