My Child Is Constipated, what should I do?
Is your child constipated? It can be scary if your child is not stooling. Constipation in a young child is very common and it can cause them pain. Poor diet, lack of water, bowel obstruction or bowel disease can cause constipation. Additionally, uncoordinated bowel muscle contractions (peristalsis) can cause constipation. Peristalsis is the wave like motion that moves the fecal matter through the digestive system.
Often your pediatrician will prescribe medication, laxatives or fiber. You may or may not want these as treatment options and in many cases, they just do not fix the cause of constipation. What can we do to help our children, naturally?
Chiropractic can be a natural, low intervention treatment, to stimulate peristalsis (gut motion). It will cause no harm and may do a world of good.
Why can chiropractic help?
The Chiropractor treats the spine and related nerves that power the bowel.
The nerves that power and control the bowel movement come from the spine. A stressed out spine and spinal nerves can be causing the constipation. Moreover, the wave like motion that propagates the bowel movement (peristalsis) can be less effective due to spinal nerve stress. To get a great visual of how peristalsis works, watch this video on YouTube. It is important to rule out spinal nerve irritation as the culprit of constipation. The chiropractic adjustment stimulates the nerves and reduces potential nerve interference or irritation. The removal of interference will allow peristalsis to happen. If your child is not responding to “traditional” types of care, a trip to the chiropractor can potentially help your child’s constipation.
How can chiropractic help?
The chiropractor can helps mobilize the soft tissue (bowel) with the adjustment.
In my office, I use a gentle percussion like tool (sigma- instrument video) that uses vibration to mobilize soft tissue and stimulate nerves. This safe and gentle percussion stimulates the nerves that power the bowel. By using percussive vibration, the stool will loosen and break apart. As this fecal material breaks up, the colon will be able to pass the bowel contents with more ease. Remember, a physical problem typically requires a physical solution. If body parts are not moving correctly, an adjustment is typically warranted. Many practitioners apply manipulative therapy to the spine to treat constipation.
Chiropractic is not a substitute for medical evaluation. A chiropractic exam and treatment is natural, safe and cost effective. The parent should seek medical evaluation if the constipation isn’t relieved soon after a chiropractic treatment.
Here is what you can do right now at home to see if chiropractic may help your child:
Take your fingers and make a peace sign. Now, trace your fingers along your child’s spine while gently pressing down. (child’s shirt is off). You may find some red spots appear on your child’s skin aka, the “red reflex”. It is an indicator that there is inflammation and stress at that spinal level. A chiropractic exam and treatment is warranted, if the red reflex is present.
A 2-year-old with constipation presented to my office, here is what happened:
A mother and father recently brought their 2-year-old boy to me complaining of constipation. His pediatrician has already prescribed MiraLAX and fiber. Neither of these treatments helped, and this child only stools 2 times per week.
The parents asked me if I treat constipation. I do not “treat” constipation, I said. I treat the spine and soft tissue around the spine. If the constipation is due to a problem in the spine, then the treatment will be helpful.
Upon the exam, it was evident that this child had some sort of spinal tissue and nerve irritation. (red-reflex on the spine)
This red-reflex occurred at L1- L2 and L5-S1. (spinal vertebral levels). The nerves that exit this part of the spine are related to and associated with different parts of the bowel. Treatment was applied (percussion with sigma- instrument) to his spine.
After the first treatment, this child had a bowel movement the next day. The parents reported that their child continued to stool regularly for the following two weeks. Not all cases will respond this way. This is one of the many cases that I have been able to help.
**If you have tried this already and it has worked, leave a comment! (or) If you have questions whether or not this is right for your child, leave a comment. **