Inflammation of the Gut-Brain Axis

February 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

The gut has a nervous system of its own called the “enteric nervous system”. It has about as many neurons as the spinal cord and is metaphorically called “the brain of the gut”.

The gut has developed powerful mechanisms to defend the body against invading antigens derived from food, bacteria, parasites, toxins and other compounds. Its outer cell lining, the epithelium, constitutes the inner surface of the body that is highly permeable in most parts of the gut, in particular the small intestine. When the gut lining is damaged through stress, medication or poor diet (namely inflammatory allergens like gluten), gap junctions in the lining allow toxins to pass through and be picked up by immune cells. The immune cells then launch an inflammatory response which is where “irritable bowel syndrome” stems from.

The gut contains the largest immune system of the body, collectively called “gut-associated lymphoid tissue” (GALT) that continuously surveys antigens passing through the gut. The GALT works hand-in-hand with enteric nervous system, the gut endocrine (hormone) system as well as the spine to set up a powerful local defence system. The brain is advised about the actions of this defence system by activity in the spinal cord.

gut brain inflammation irritable bowel chiropractic

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Iliotibial Band Syndrome

February 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Case of the month, Cases, Spinewave Bulletin, Symptoms 

Iliotibial Band Syndrome ChiropracticThe iliotibial band is a common source of perceived back, hip and groin pain. While people often associate iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome with runners, it’s a frequent occurrence amongst those who don’t run too.

The ITB is a strong, thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the outside of the leg. It starts at the hip and runs along the outer thigh and attaches to the outside edge of the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee joint.

Low back and hip pain can be challenging to diagnose because there are multiple sources of pain referral and with the way pain receptors are wired in the low back (being wide apart) a person cannot always accurately perceive where the source of the pain is, although they might feel it in their hip or groin.

The old understanding is that the ITB becomes inflamed as it runs over the leg bone due to friction. This doesn’t really happen because the ITB itself is extremely rigid and resistant to stretch – it lengthens less than 0.2 percent with a maximum voluntary contraction.

ITB gluteus max chiropracticThe role of the ITB is to flex, lift sideways and internally rotate the leg. It’s fibrous tissue splits into two parts at the top of the hip: 1. Melding with the gluteal muscles at the back (g max) and 2. Joining the tensor fasciae latae muscle at the front (TFL).

Tension and compression of the ITB occurs when these two connections at the top of the band become weak or don’t have appropriate nerve firing from spine and brain.

Weakening of the gluteal muscles can happen in a number of ways: Sitting for long periods of time, crossing legs, or standing with hip cocked to one side. Gluteal muscles also weaken through physiological and mental stress. Parts of the nervous system responsible for handling stress weaken the body’s posture and the pelvis can lose strength and form. See weak hip abductors (B) versus normal hip abductors (A). This problem can refer or create low back pain, hip pain, or groin pain. Read more

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