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Digestion problems

One of the most common digestive complaints I hear about from patients is constipation. It is extremely common and can give symptoms of not passing stools regularly and fully to passing hard stools and experiencing abdominal cramps. If you are not able to pass stools at all it is important to contact your GP.

Please also visit the NHS website page for further information.

Irritable bowel syndrome is another common complaint, and can cause various related musculoskeletal such as tightness over the rib cage and abdomen, difficulty taking a deep breath and muscular aches and pains of the back. IBS can be aggravated by certain instigators such as stress and anxiety to dietary links, but everybody has a different experience and it varies greatly. It is important to notify your GP in relation to any digestive complaint, abdominal pain and change to bowel movements.

It is important to establish your normal or previous digestive experiences and history to find out why unwanted symptoms are occurring. GP referral may be advised for further investigations depending on the nature of the problem, signs and symptoms.

Common contributing factors to digestive disorders are diet, stress, hormonal imbalance, low back problems, pain, drugs and illness. As well as taking a thorough case history, I may advise palpation (light touch to help feel what could be happening) of the abdomen, lower back, and observation of posture and breathing mechanics. This can give a good insight of the possible causes to inform your treatment options. Treatment may involve gentle work to the pelvis, hips, low back, ribs, diaphragm and viscera (soft tissues around the abdomen) and advice.

Many other chronic digestive problems can lead to abdominal discomfort and tension in the low back and ribs, and while not always diagnosable, all chronic or episodic symptoms should have been appropriately investigated by your GP, before osteopathic treatment is advisable, following which I can help you to reduce the related musculoskeletal symptoms. Please do contact me with any questions you may have concerning whether osteopathic analysis and treatment may be able to help you.

There are lots of self help remedies for constipation as well as hands on treatment and individual advice. You could try increasing gentle exercise and stretching to get the circulation going and boost gut motility, check out this page on yoga stretches for constipation. Please only go as far as you feel comfortable, stretching and exercise should feel positive and not painful. Diet advice from a dietician can also be of benefit as well as addressing lifestyle contributors and stress.