Chiropractic care has been proven to be effective for alleviating back and neck pain. Of course, the spine does not exist in a vacuum, so a chiropractic adjustment to the spine can have an effect on other body organs. Because the spine is so integral to the structural integrity of the body, it is often subject to a great deal of stress and tension. When the spine and surrounding muscles and tendons are under strain, toxins can build up. The chiropractic adjustment releases stress and strain on the spine, muscles, and tendons, subsequently releasing those toxins. When this happens, the patient may experience a variety of temporary, but somewhat unpleasant side effects, including diarrhea.
Chiropractic Release to the Lower Back
The side effect of diarrhea most often happens when a chiropractic release is done to the lower back, around the lumbar region or the sacro-iliac joint. Such a manipulation can put pressure on the stomach or intestines. The muscles surrounding these organs may experience a very sudden release due to the chiropractic adjustment. This may, in turn, over-stimulate the gastro-intestinal tract, leading to cramps and diarrhea. Fortunately, this is temporary and should last no more than 24 hours. If symptoms do last more than 24 hours, contact Dr. Horst immediately to schedule a follow up appointment.
Reducing Side Effects
The best way to reduce diarrhea following a chiropractic adjustment is to keep hydrated. It may seem as though water would be the last thing to recommend in cases of diarrhea. However, it keeps waste flowing through the system and prevents constipation. It also helps keeps electrolytes in balance, which may be disrupted by diarrhea.
Rest may also help in these cases. The body may be straining during bouts of diarrhea, so lying down and resting as much as possible will allow the spine, muscles, and tendons to be able to release and stretch out again. This has the added benefit of helping the body hold the adjustment for a longer period of time. If at all possible, lie supine (on the back) rather than prone (on the stomach) in order to avoid any additional stress being placed on the gastro-intestinal system.
Avoid certain foods that may overstimulate an already taxed GI system. These would include fatty foods, most dairy products, foods high in fiber (such as whole apples), and any food known to produce gas (such as beans or broccoli). Over the counter products such as Pepto Bismol can be used, but this introduces more toxins into the system. Foods to consume might include bananas, yogurt (because of the cultures), white rice, and blueberries.
While diarrhea is certainly an unpleasant and unwanted side effect of a chiropractic adjustment, the effects are very temporary compared to the long lasting benefits the body as a whole can receive from proper and ongoing chiropractic care. Patients should feel free to discuss any concerns they may have with Dr. Horst before undergoing any chiropractic adjustment so that they feel safe and secure with the procedure.