According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, as many as 700,000 people in the United States suffer from Crohn’s disease. Men and women are equally likely to suffer from Crohn’s disease, but the condition is more common in adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35. Furthermore, Crohn’s disease may run in families. Some studies have shown that anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of people suffering from Crohn’s disease have a first-degree relative who also has the condition.
What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a type of irritable bowel disease (IBD) that is an inflammation of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. It most commonly affects the end of the small bowel (called the ileum) and the beginning of the colon, but it can actually affect almost any part of the GI tract. It can also affect the thickness of the bowel walls.
Although Crohn’s disease is chronic, patients will often experience flare-ups, in which the symptoms are more pronounced. Symptoms of Crohn’s disease may include chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, feeling an urgent need to empty the bowels, abdominal cramps, feeling as though the bowels are not completely emptied, or constipation that may lead to bowel obstruction. Patients may also suffer from fatigue, loss of appetite, or weight loss. Crohn’s disease in children may lead to growth delays.
The standard treatment for Crohn’s disease generally involves a combination of medications to treat the inflammatory response in the GI tract and increase remission frequency and duration, along with changes in diet to provide the body with proper nutrients. In general, soft bland foods will cause less trouble than spicy or high-fiber foods.
Chiropractic treatment of Crohn’s disease focuses on correcting misalignment in the middle (thoracic) or lower (lumbar) vertebra of the spine. When the vertebrae become misaligned (called a spinal sublaxation), the nerves branching out from the spinal cord to the GI tract can become pinched. As a result, the GI tract may not function to its fullest capacity, which can lead to Crohn’s disease.
An article in the March 2003 issue of the Journal of Vertebral Sublaxation Research examined the effect of spinal adjustments on remission times of Crohn’s disease. A group of 51 patients was divided into a group of 17 treatment patients and 34 control patients. Of the 17 patients who received spinal adjustments, 12 experienced long term, stable remission of symptoms. Furthermore, nine of these 12 patients reported alleviation of all symptoms. The researchers concluded that spinal sublaxations can lead to problems with digestion and absorption of nutrients that are common problems with Crohn’s disease.
It is not uncommon for Dr. Nathen Horst to see patients with Crohn’s disease at his practice. Many of these patients have found standard treatments to be unsuccessful and are seeking out alternative treatments for relief from symptoms. Chiropractic adjustments, along with careful monitoring of diet and stress levels, can make a world of difference for these patients. Contact Horst Chiropractic today to schedule an appointment.