Could your gut be causing back pain?
Does what I eat affect my back pain? If my digestion isn’t good can that make my back pain worse? I’m getting adjusted, what else can I do to help ease my back pain?
The intention of the adjustment has never been to "treat" back pain but to restore normal function to the spine and neurological system. For some people receiving adjustments, which remove interference to the body’s natural processes, is enough for them to begin healing and to feel their symptoms improve. For others getting adjusted and massaged is the beginning of a journey to reduce back pain or other symptoms that are the signs that your body is under stress and can no longer adapt.
Modern life can be stressful. Increasingly, natural health practitioners are seeing that an approach which encompasses attention to lifestyle factors is required for a person to heal themselves and begin to live their Vibrant Life. In our centre back pain is a major reason for people to seek our care.
The causes of that back pain are often more varied than you may think. People often ask “what did I do?” in a physical sense. Was it their posture? An overuse injury? or accident? However as modern humans we have to consider the effects of emotional stress, diet and exercise on our experience of symptoms and our innate ability to heal ourselves.
Chronic inflammation in the body is a major cause of painful and restricted joints (amongst many other symptoms we can dive into another time). To ease inflammation, we can look to what we eat, our gut health, reducing stress and cutting out toxins from any products we use.
At Vibrant Life we do not claim to ‘fix you’. We can however help you create the right conditions for your body to heal itself over time. We know that you already have the innate intelligence giving you everything you need to heal. However, sometimes there is interference that needs to be removed. we adjust your body (subluxations), you adjust your lifestyle.
One of the lifestyle changes we place a big emphasis on is improving your gut health. Over the last few years research has shown how the gut microbiome directly affects the ‘gut brain axis’. The bacteria in our digestive tract affect our gut, our immune system and even our brains - influencing inflammation, energy and pain, including back pain.
I talk about diet and gut health a lot in terms of creating and maintaining optimal health. It can be a surprise to hear that regaining normal gut health can reduce the incidence of back pain, headaches and even chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. This is why I am such an advocate of our 30 days to healthy living nutrition reset. You can find more information with this link.
On the whole, a healthy gut microbiome can be maintained by choosing a lifestyle that promotes diversity of microbes and minimises damage to the microbiome and gut. Eating foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates are associated with a “leaky gut” and increase damage. Such damage leads to inflammation, which affects the brain and its pain response. Choosing the 30 day nutrition reset is a great way to begin this journey, learn and commit to making changes and then maintain that over time as you heal.
WHAT CAN HELP HEAL MY GUT MICROBIOME AND REDUCE MY PAIN?
· High Fibre foods and omega 3 fats help to lower inflammation.
· Probiotic supplements and fermented foods help to populate more microbes.
· Prebiotic supplements and prebiotic foods like fibre rich fruits and vegetables, help to ‘feed’ healthy microbes.
WHAT DAMAGES MY GUT HEALTH AND INCREASE PAIN?
· Refined carbohydrates and foods high in sugar contribute to a ‘leaky gut’ and poor digestive health increasing inflammation and pain.
· Processed foods do not promote healthy bacterial growth in the gut and increase inflammation.
· Using antibiotics, oral contraceptives, pain medications and other drugs can damage the delicate balance of the gut.
· High levels of stress and sleep deprivation can be damaging to our balance of good microbes.
It is normal to have at least one if not two or three bowel movements every day. A healthy poo should be brown, easy to pass and sausage shaped (at least 5 cm long). If your bowel movements are infrequent, hard, small you may be tending towards constipation. This back up of fecal matter in the gut can cause recurring problems in the lower back. You may need to look at improving your diet, drinking more water and improving your gut microbiome (more good bacteria).
Another digestive cause of lower back pain that we encounter is ileocecal valve syndrome. The ICV is located in the right lower abdomen between the small and large intestine. Essentially it allows material to pass from the small intestine into the large intestine (the colon) but not back the other way.
Function of this muscular valve can become affected by stress, overindulgence, dehydration, caffeine and alcohol and will be explored fully in another article.
Signs that the IC valve is a problem can include diarrhoea, constipation, headaches, brain fog, shoulder pain and pelvic and low back pain.
A skilled practitioner can adjust the ileocecal valve to help it to function normally if that is what is needed , along with adjustments to other parts of the body and nervous system that may be affecting your health. The treatment approach however, will usually also involve lifestyle alterations including dietary and stress management plus supplementation which can include probiotics.
At Vibrant Life we are passionate about adjusting the spine and body to restore normal neurological connection between the brain and body. Along with this we recommend that you adjust the areas of your lifestyle that are holding you back from experiencing your best life. Check out our 30-day nutrition reset. Take a probiotic supplement and omega 3 supplement every day. Eliminate the processed toxic foods from your diet. Increase the high fibre, high omega 3 foods in your diet, switch to a brand of personal care products that you can trust to be pure and safe, and take steps to moderate the stress in your life.
You can feel confident that everything your body requires to heal and for you to feel vibrant is accessible to you. We look forward to serving you.
Heiss CN, Olofsson LE. The role of the gut microbiota in development, function and disorders of the central nervous system and the enteric nervous system. J Neuroendocrinol. 2019;31(5):e12684.
Tang Y, Liu S, Shu H, Yanagisawa L, Tao F. Gut microbiota dysbiosis enhances migraine-like pain via TNFα upregulation. Mol Neurobiol. 2020;57(1):461-468.
Minerbi A, Gonzalez E, Brereton N, et al. Altered microbiome composition in individuals with fibromyalgia. Pain. 2019;160(11):2589-2602.