Here at Vital Wellness Center, we see many patients with digestive complaints. Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation, irritation, and pain for some of our patients. Our skilled and caring chiropractor, Dr. Foss, hopes the following guide will provide some insight into this condition as well as some of the benefits of chiropractic for Crohn’s.
What Is Crohn’s?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic disease that primarily affects the small intestine and the adjoining portion of the large intestine, causing areas of painful inflammation. It is one of the most common forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. These conditions all involve some form of intestinal inflammation. It is important not to confuse Inflammatory Bowel Disease with Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome. The disease is a more extensive classification containing multiple diseases, while the syndrome is a group of symptoms that often occur together.
Crohn’s is a condition that starts so gradually that many patients tell us they didn’t realize they were in the beginning stages of a disease process. These subtle symptoms lead many patients to believe that they’re just under some extra stress at work and their intestines are acting up as a result. Unfortunately, this line of thinking often leads to more suffering since they discount symptoms thinking they are nothing serious.
Crohn’s symptoms are famous for waxing and waning unexpectedly. This intensifies the challenges people living with Crohn’s disease face. Many individuals with Crohn’s report symptom-free remissions lasting for weeks or even years.
Who Does Crohn’s Affect?
More than half a million Americans are now living with Crohn’s disease, which is becoming more common. In addition to living in America, there are a few factors that are linked with an increased risk of developing Crohn’s. Many individuals first begin experiencing Crohn’s disease in their twenties. Often, individuals with Crohn’s have a parent, sibling, or another family member with some form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Crohn’s is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakes healthy bacteria inside the gut with an unhealthy invader. Once the immune system is triggered by these bacteria, it mounts a complete immune response that includes increasing fluid to the area, spiking a fever, and sending in immune cells to deal with the problem bacteria. Since there are no problematic bacteria, the immune system instead attacks healthy intestinal tissue, causing inflammation and tissue damage.
Other lifestyle factors can dramatically increase the risk of developing Crohn’s disease. Some studies have revealed that smoking can double the risk of this condition. Eating a diet high in fat can also slightly increase the risk of Crohn’s disease, as can taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Other medications linked with Crohn’s disease development include birth control pills and antibiotics.
Symptoms of Crohn’s
Since Crohn’s disease causes inflammation that changes the form and function of the intestinal tract, many of its main symptoms are related to digestion. The three most common signs of Crohn’s that we see here at Vital Wellness Center, are weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, or other forms of abdominal pain.
Since Crohn’s disease is a condition that causes intestinal irritation, it can cause symptoms linked with widespread inflammation. Some of these include fever, joint pain, nausea, anemia, fatigue, skin changes, and eye pain.
While each individual will experience symptoms differently, symptoms also vary according to the location and severity of the affected portion of the intestine. Although they do not cause Crohn’s disease, stress and certain irritating foods can worsen symptoms.
How Chiropractic Helps Alleviate Crohn’s Symptoms
Our chiropractic care provides a natural alternative to risky medications such as immunomodulators and corticosteroids. Both of these types of medications reduce symptoms by reducing the immune system activity that inflames the intestine. Unfortunately, they also reduce healthy immune system activity, leading to an increased risk for infection. Prescription immune system reducers also cause a slew of side effects, including mood swings, weight gain, fatigue, and nausea and vomiting.
When medications eventually stop working, many individuals with Crohn’s disease must resort to even riskier surgeries to relieve their symptoms. One study estimated that as many as 60% of people with Crohn’s disease had surgery within 20 years of developing this condition. These procedures involve removing the diseased portion of the intestine. They also involve an increased risk of infection, and the possibility of complications and come with a 100% chance of downtime. Since these procedures all involve general anesthesia, they include a three-to-seven-day hospital stay and require a month or two for “full recovery.”
While surgery isn’t always avoidable, it can indeed be delayed. One of the primary ways our chiropractic helps relieve Crohn’s symptoms is by bolstering the immune system so it can correctly identify actual invaders and leave healthy tissue unharmed. Chiropractic also helps the body more appropriately marshal its resources for cooling the heat of inflammation and healing damaged intestinal tissues, possibly delaying the disease process even further.
Spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustment is one of the primary ways chiropractic helps relieve Crohn’s symptoms. When we perform spinal manipulation, we’re really restoring optimal alignment to the spinal vertebrae. Many of our patients think that this is very odd when they first hear about it but realize it makes a lot of sense when they hear the science behind it.
The spine is initially made of 33 vertebrae. By the time we’ve reached adulthood, several vertebrae at the bottom of the spine fuse together, leaving most adults with 24 vertebrae. These tiny bones are powerful since they enable a wide variety of motion. They’re also prone to moving in various directions we’d rather not have them travel toward, so the spine frequently becomes misaligned.
The vertebral bones are hard, but the nerves around them are pretty delicate. As a result, the nerves can become compressed to varying degrees. This nerve compression causes problems with how messages are delivered between the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the body.
Since some of these messages are for pain, the pain of Crohn’s disease can be worse than the condition of the intestine would indicate. Other messages are actually related to immune activity, helping the body to determine which bacteria need to be attacked and which healthy tissues need to be replenished and restored. There are also messages that control the peristalsis or motion of the intestinal muscles during the digestion process. While this isn’t a formal part of Crohn’s disease, it can certainly affect its symptoms.
Comprehensive Lifestyle Coaching
Lifestyle factors can have an extraordinary impact on the inflammation that worsens Crohn’s symptoms. Because of this, our natural relief of Crohn’s symptoms always includes a strong lifestyle management component. During these deep-dive sessions, we delve into topics as diverse as nutritional changes, health-promoting exercise, and immune-enhancing stress reduction techniques. At Vital Wellness Center, our goal is much more than eliminating symptoms. It’s restoring good health.
Why Choose Vital Wellness Center’s Chiropractic for Crohn’s
At Vital Wellness Center, our chiropractic care is more than just what we do every day or what our patients tell us has improved the quality of their lives. Our chiropractic measures for Crohn’s have been researched. One study found that 70% of individuals achieved long-term remission or stabilization of their Crohn’s symptoms.
If you’re ready to experience natural relief of Crohn’s symptoms, we’d be glad to schedule an appointment for you. Our chiropractor, Dr. Foss, is waiting to help you relieve your symptoms and watch as you transform your health in many ways.