Unheralded Saviour: Kids, Constipation and Chiropractic

By Dr. Molly Casey

Young Boy in Restroom

Chiropractors see patients for a lot of different things, not just bad backs. Some of those things tend to get talked about in hushed tones. For children, one of those subjects is constipation. It happens. It’s a thing everyone faces at some point. And chiropractic has been known to provide some much-needed relief.

A Regular Problem

Is constipation really that big of an issue with the kiddos? Some reports say up to 25 percent of all pediatric gastroenterologist visits are for constipation. That’s relatively common. Constipation is defined as infrequent or difficult elimination of the feces. It may create pain, fear, and avoiding an attempt to eliminate. This is not a fun situation for the child or parents. Basically, it stinks.

In my experience, childhood constipation eventually finds its way to the clinic as a last resort by parents at wit’s end. The situation reaches Code Red because your little one hasn’t had a bowel movement in days, and even though you’ve tried switching their diet and used laxatives to loosen the stool, nothing good is happening. The little one is in pain and cranky (and wouldn’t you be, too?). Parents want to pull out their own hair because of the craziness that ensues due to the crankiness and pain -- and this cycle is on a loop hour after endless hour, day after day. Literally, nothing is moving forward!

Finally, a friend says they once heard chiropractic can help. Parents, desperate for anything that might provide relief, head to a chiropractor. Adjustments over a series of visits restore function to the spine, and consequently the nervous system, and the constipation resolves.

Why is this scenario so common? Because many people don’t know that chiropractic helps the nervous system function and improve; as a result, it helps children and adults overcome a battery of symptoms, including constipation. When people don’t know something can help, they never reach for it in their toolbox, and chiropractic is a tool with far-reaching benefits.

So how does the chiropractic adjustment help in this situation? Although it’s still developing, your child’s spine is like an adult spine. When the spine is misaligned (subluxated) or not moving through the full range of motion, those restrictions can irritate the exiting nerves thereby decreasing the function of the nervous system. When this occurs in the lower thoracic or upper lumbar areas of the spine, the intestines can function less than optimally. To hypothesize this might cause an elimination problem such as constipation is quite logical. It’s just as logical that the correction of the subluxation or restriction would benefit the individual and potentially increase the bowel movements. It’s quite simple.

Cleaning Up the Mess

We know there are a myriad of reasons that can cause constipation. We, as chiropractors, simply and profoundly support the body at the most foundational level: optimal nervous system function. If the spinal restriction is a contributing cause, clearing it may help restore proper movement. You can read a small case review of three patients under age 2 who received chiropractic care and their constipation resolved.

The bottom line is that many children are needlessly suffering from something that might be helped by chiropractic. Feel free to spread the word. Chiropractors at The Joint want to help your little one -- and you -- through this difficult passage. Drop in anytime and let’s see what we can do for you! You might be surprised by the benefits of regular chiropractic care.

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