Osteopathic Manual Therapy For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Posted on March 18th, 2020
Are you experiencing digestive issues?
Do you have abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation?
If this sounds like you, it might be time to check in with your doctor because these are common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Luckily, there are ways, such as visiting a Toronto osteopathic manual practitioner, to help manage your symptoms.
But what is IBS?
And how would you know if you have it?
Keep reading to find out.
What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
IBS is a chronic disorder that affects the digestive tract – and it’s pretty common.
In fact, 120,000 Canadians are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) each year.
It’s classified as a motility problem, which is how the bowel moves contents through the intestines,
The problem may be that motility is too fast, too slow, or that it fluctuates.
The symptoms of IBS vary depending on which motility problem is responsible for it.
If motility is too fast, it can result in diarrhea or loose stools.
If motility is too slow, it can lead to constipation.
A combination of the two issues can lead to mixed symptoms.
Additionally, IBS affects how your brain interprets signals from the nerves in the bowel.
This can result in abdominal pain, bloating, and/or anxiety.
What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Researchers haven’t yet been able to nail down one single cause of IBS.
But there are a number of commonly-known triggers, including:
What Is Osteopathic Manual Therapy?
Osteopathic manual therapy is a holistic, hands-on therapy that aims to restore balance to the body and in doing so, restore its functions.
One of the core philosophies of this form of treatment, which is also known as classical osteopathy, is that your body knows how to heal itself.
Osteopathic manual therapy involves a practitioner evaluating your body’s movements in certain areas and, together with the patient, coming up with a plan to help.
Osteopathic manual practitioners (OMPs) work through manipulations of the tissues to support its natural self-regulation and healing.
How Does Osteopathic Manual Therapy Work?
In relation to IBS, the goal of an osteopathic manual therapy treatment is to provide an environment in which proper communication between the gut and brain is restored and maintained.
With digestive disorders, there are particular zones in your body that need greater attention, such as your nervous system.
Your OMP can feel the mobility of your organs, their functioning, as well as the blood flow to and from these structures to optimize the environment for the body to regulate itself.
Can Osteopathic Manual Therapy Help With Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
A 2014 review of 10 studies on the effectiveness of osteopathic manual therapy on the symptoms of IBS found preliminary evidence that osteopathic manual therapy may be beneficial in managing IBS.
One of the studies included in the review found that osteopathic manual therapy was effective in both the short and long-term.
In another study, a set of IBS patients underwent articular manipulations and soft tissue treatment while another set of IBS patients received placebo care: soft massage to the same areas.
Those that underwent articular manipulations noted a 25% improvement in the severity of IBS symptoms.
Yet another study showed an overall improvement in 68% of IBS patients who received osteopathic manual therapy treatments, compared to 18% of IBS patients receiving allopathic care up to six months after treatment.
Another place where classical osteopathy may be able to help is in abdominal adhesions.
If you recently had abdominal surgery, you may develop visceral or abdominal adhesions.
These are fibrous bands that can form between abdominal tissues and internal organs.
Due to the firm and fibrotic nature of these bands, they have the potential to interfere with normal intestinal motility and transit processes and thus cause IBS.
Though there are no diagnostic tests or imaging available to precisely diagnose visceral adhesions, well-trained osteopathic manual practitioners may be able to identify them through discussing your health history and conducting an abdominal physical exam.
Visceral manipulation is a form of osteopathic manual therapy and it may decrease the formation of adhesions and increase fluid movement.
It has also been shown to increase the range of motion in the pelvis and trunk, decreasing the volatility of the gut, which can lead to an improvement in many IBS symptoms.
IBS is a complex, multi-system disorder and osteopathic manual therapy can play a role in managing it.
With appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes, osteopathic manual therapy may be an effective treatment for IBS.
Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic
Have you recently had abdominal surgery?
Are you concerned that you might be experiencing symptoms of IBS?
Or do you want to find out more about osteopathic manual therapy?
If so, contact Annex Naturopathic to book an appointment.
We’ll gladly answer any questions you have and work on a treatment plan tailored specifically for you.
Contact us at Annex Naturopathic today.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D
572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND
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