Everyone experiences constipation. The experience can range from being mildly annoying to severely painful. While everyone experiences it, that doesn’t mean you must live with constipation. A chiropractor can help alleviate your symptoms.

What Is Constipation?
Constipation is when your bowel movements are either difficult, less frequent than normal, or both. Normal frequency for a bowel movement ranges from a few times a day to a couple of times a week. If you are straining when you have a bowel movement or are becoming uncomfortable because of an inability to pass it, you likely have constipation.

The Causes of Constipation
The most common cause of constipation is a slow-moving digestive system. When the stool moves too slowly through the digestive system and cannot be quickly removed, it can dry or become hard, causing constipation.

Chronic constipation, however, usually has larger underlying causes. Several medications have constipation as a side-effect such as antacids, anti-depression medication, narcotic pain-killers, cold medicine, and calcium or iron supplements.

Other possible causes of constipation include:

  • Changes in diet or activity level
  • Cancer in and around the digestive system
  • Eating lots of dairy products
  • Eating disorders
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Bowel blockages
  • Neurological conditions
  • Problems with the muscles in the bowel system
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Overusing laxatives

The Symptoms of Constipation
The most prominent symptom of constipation is hard or painful stool as well as having infrequent bowel movements. You may also feel like you are straining to pass your stool. When chronic constipation becomes serious, you can experience bloating, a swollen abdomen, pain, and even vomiting. Chronic constipation can be very painful and cause great distress.

The Treatment of a Constipation
Many people may be surprised to know that chiropractic care can alleviate or end constipation symptoms. While most people are aware that spinal alignment can help alleviate back pain and discomfort, spinal care and chiropractic adjustments can also improve bowel function. Proper spinal alignment maximizes neurological health and function, which will help your bowels to function more properly. While proper alignments can take some time, many patients experience relief after just one adjustment. Your chiropractor may also manually stimulate your abdomen to improve function.

You can frequently treat constipation with some activity or diet changes. Try to drink extra water, eat more bran, have warm liquids in the morning, or add more fruits and vegetables into your diet. If you are inactive, adding exercise can help, too. A mild, over-the-counter laxative may help, but this should be a last resort. Paradoxically, laxatives can make constipation worse if misused.

Your chiropractor can walk you through some diet and activity changes to help remove or alleviate these symptoms.

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