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Digestive System

From the Desk of Robert C Slater BA, MSC, DC, CME

Functional constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints in the United States as per survey data (*). Depending on the definition employed, it occurs in 2% to 20% of the population. Constipation-related healthcare costs total a massive $6.9 billion in the US annually.

More than four million Americans have functional constipation, accounting for 2.5 million physician visits a year. You may have not realized the degree to which this large bowel dysfunction is slowing you down, but read further to make more sense of it.

Functional constipation is defined by the presence of several distinctive symptoms: (1) straining during 25% of a bowel movement, (2) lumpy or hard stools for 25% of the bowel movement, (3) sensation of incomplete evacuation for at least 25% of bowel movement, (4) sensation of anorectal obstruction or blockage for at least 25% of bowel movement, (5) manual maneuvers to facilitate at least 25% of bowel movement, (6) infrequent bowel movement: as per 3* a week or less.

It is more common in women, the elderly and children. One reason functional constipation occurs more frequently in the elderly is due to an increasing number of health problems related to a condition of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, which slows down the function of the digestive tract.

Although around $725 million is spent on laxative products each year in America, these harsh chemicals that are foreign to the body will not solve the problem is there is physical basis for this undesired condition. Paradoxically, prescribed medications for high blood pressure, pain killers, antidepressants as well as antacids may also disrupt or reduce the motility of the smooth muscle of the bowel, resulting in functional constipation.

From a chiropractic perspective we would like to find out if spinal misalignment in the region of T12-L1 [thoracic spine vertebra #12 or lumbar spine vertebra #1] is physically putting abnormal mechanical pressure on the nerves that feed essential vitality to the large intestine. We also want to establish if there is a metabolic or nutritional imbalance that is contributing to the functional constipation you may be experiencing. Proper nutrition from optimal blood supply, like complete and unrestricted energy message from the nerve supply, restores normal vitality to the large intestines, thus reducing ongoing constipation.

Call Healing Hands Wellness Center, pH 651-699-3366 today for a chiropractic and nutritional examination and assessment. This will clarify and determine if the physical elements of spinal alignment and proper nutrition play an adverse role in the constipation you may be experiencing.

(*) Andromanakos N, Skandalakis P, Troupis T, Filippou D (2006). "Constipation of anorectal outlet obstruction: Pathophysiology, evaluation and management". *Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology* *21* (4): 638–646.