Irritable Bowel Syndrome

September 14, 2011 by
Filed under: Case of the month, Cases, Spinewave Bulletin, Symptoms 

I am now well toilet trained – Karen.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has in many instances become a hand-wave diagnosis due to its complex nature and myriad causes. IBS can have elements of constipation and diarrhoea, or alternation between the two.

When I first heard that psychological counselling was a good treatment for IBS, I was intrigued by the gut-brain axis; and what conclusions to draw from so many people having constipation or diarrhoea as a side issue with their other neurological complaints.

“Gut decisions” probably involve the enteric (bowel) nervous system to some degree, and explains why when you’re nervous you get “butterflies”. IBS is believed to stem from miscommunication between the central (brain) and enteric nervous systems. More specifically, an inhibition of the corticolimbic system, which means emotional dysregulation. There may be other intraluminal factors like abnormal gut flora and the popular gluten intolerance, but these probably tie back into dysregulation of the neuroimmune connection, most likely broken down by the primary cause of psychosocial stress.

Changes in mood, immune and gut function are among the first things to alter in the breakdown of nervous system function. In IBS patients, brain imaging shows that areas most activated include thalamus, insula, anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala, and brainstem (upper spine). As per the diagram below, the green areas represent the parts of the “automatic” nervous system which attempt to maintain harmony in the body. The red arrows show how these parts control gut function and, interestingly, skin (see psoriasis). One of chiropractic’s main objectives is to normalise the green areas. This is done by analysing the spine via neurological exam, measuring the autonomic nervous system, and providing correct stimulation by way of adjustment ■

Dr Neil Bossenger presented to our company on managing stress. I had an ache down the back of my left leg and it had been annoying me for many months and was slowly getting worse. Because of the pain I had stopped attending the gym, but continued going to a walking group I belong to twice a week. Prior to listening to Neil’s presentation I had attended physiotherapy for several sessions, but gave up as I thought I was better, only to find the pain came back. I then went to an osteopath thinking maybe he could fix the pain, but alas the same thing: once I had completed so many treatments the pain slowly started coming back again.

A friend recommended Neil and said he was going to contact me to see if he could come and talk to our staff. I was desperate for relief from pain and thought maybe this is my answer, so before Neil even spoke to our staff I knew I was going to book a full consultation with him. I also had several other ongoing issues like bad toilet habits (going maybe once every 5 days), migraines, poor sleep habits, lack of concentration or motivation. I have a bicuspid aortic valve which is monitored, dodgy kidneys from kidney problems when I was a child and elevated blood pressure for several years, to name a few. I was a bit like a walking medical diary with all the problems I had collected over the years.

My big day came and I went along to my first visit with Neil. Pip on reception is like a long lost friend, always bright cheery and chatty, so as soon as you meet Pip you feel right at home. We swap family stories and photos, and she babysits grandchildren while you get adjusted.

Neil did some neurological testing and sent me off for a spinal x-ray. This showed my head was on crooked and my hips were all out of alignment (hip replacements are prominent in my father’s side of the family). Neil soon started balancing my spine and straightening me out and the changes in my overall health and wellbeing were so noticeable that I so look forward to being adjusted. My leg pain has disappeared, I am now toilet trained well – to the extent that I can almost go every day now – my migraines are not as frequent, my blood pressure is normal (I had that tested recently), I sleep like a baby most nights, my concentration is a lot better and motivation has improved.

I would thoroughly recommend Neil to anyone that has ongoing health issues. It really is like going along to another world. I can’t give enough emphasis to the difference Neil has made to my overall health and wellbeing. When you visit Spinewave Wellness Centre both Pip and Neil always addresses you by your first name and it is so nice being identified as you each time you walk in. Neil is very pleasant and has such a lovely rapport with everyone, no matter what age. Neil and Pip make a great team – make sure you visit them soon.

Karen Wardle, HR and Health & Safety Manager

© Dr Neil Bossenger 2011

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