Constipation is defined as having a bowel movement fewer than three times per week. With constipation stools are usually hard, dry, small in size, and difficult to eliminate. Some people who are constipated find it painful to have a bowel movement and often experience straining, bloating, and the sensation of a full bowel.
Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life, and a poor diet or lack of exercise typically is the cause. Most constipation is temporary and not serious and lifestyle changes will help relieve symptoms and help prevent them from recurring. These changes may include adding high-fiber foods to the diet, drinking enough water and other liquids, such as fruit and vegetable juices and clear soups, so as not to become dehydrated and engaging in daily exercise. When this fails to offer relief, the problem may be related to the nerve system.
Chiropractic adjustments (particularly in the lower spine) may help relieve constipation in certain individuals.
Muscles in the intestine push stool to the anus, where stool leaves the body. Special nerve cells in the intestine, called ganglion cells, make the muscles push. These nerves connect directly to the celiac ganglion, which also innervates the stomach, liver, gallbladder, spleen, kidney, small intestine, and the ascending and transverse colon. The celiac ganglion, in turn connects to the spinal cord (and the brain) through nerve roots that exit the spine in the lower thoracic and upper lumbar region.
Pressure on these nerve roots caused by misalignment of the vertebrae in this area may interfere with the normal function of the bowel as well as other organs of the digestive system.