This April, the Institute of Osteopathy is running an event on managing IBS. At Good Health Centre, we regularly meet patients who are suffering from this condition, and we find that each case we come across differs greatly. Our practitioners always look at the whole picture, and in the case of IBS this is particularly important.
IBS – the basics
- It is a common condition that affects the digestive system.
- Symptoms include: stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation, which tend to come and go over time.
- The exact cause is unknown, but it has been linked to food passing through the gut too slowly or too quickly, oversensitive nerves in the gut, stress, and family history of the condition.
It is a lifelong condition which currently has no cure; however there are steps you can take to relieve your symptoms.
IBS and Osteopathy
Our osteopaths encounter IBS from a number of different perspectives:
1) A patient may come to see us for the bowel complaint itself.
The practitioner would carry out some manual techniques that may help to improve blood flow in the gut, which reduces tension in the surrounding muscles, providing relief from abdominal pain. This method may also help reduce susceptibility to constipation and diarrhoea.
Osteopathy can gently stimulate muscles around the gut, loosen surrounding tissues and reduce local swelling.
Your practitioner may also offer dietary advice to be used in conjunction with manual treatment.
2) A patient may come to see us with another issue that we find is caused by IBS.
A patient may come to us with a back problem, or tension headaches. After a thorough consultation that encompasses the whole person, a practitioner may discover that the big stressor is actually the bowel. The problem isn’t always in the area where we feel the symptoms. In this case, the osteopath would incorporate the gut into the treatment plan.
3) There may be a seemingly unrelated structural abnormality in another area of the body.
The physical structure of the body governs function. This means that a structural anomaly can alter the function of a system such as the digestive system. As an example, your osteopath may discover an abnormality with your spine. As the nerves which supply the gut originate from the spine, a problem in this specific area may have an effect on the gut.
Stress is known to make IBS worse. Osteopathic treatment may have a secondary effect of relaxing the body to help alleviate stress, thus reducing the severity of IBS symptoms.
You may also like to consider acupuncture, massage and reflexology, as these treatments can also help with the management of stress.
If you would like to be seen by one of our practitioners or if you have any further questions, then please get in touch with us. You can call us on 0113 237 1173 or email email@example.com, and we will get back to you promptly.