Crohn's, Spinal Pain, and Chiropractic Support
Last updated: April 2023
Over the years that I've lived with Crohn's disease, I’ve been willing to try almost anything suggested to me by my doctors and medical professionals in order to best manage my symptoms and my disease. In addition to traditional medications, I’ve worked with naturopaths and other alternative treatment providers in seeking additional relief at times. This has typically been when I’m plagued with outstanding and lingering pain or discomfort.
In the United States, unfortunately, most non-traditional therapies and providers aren’t covered by health insurance policies, leaving quite a hefty bottom line bill behind. This meant that I would give appointments, supplements, and treatments a few tries, and without seeing any increase in comfort or reduction in pain, I’d discontinue them and stop seeing the provider entirely. In retrospect, this might not have been the best habit, but it felt like walking a very fine line between trying things that could possibly help despite the associated price tag, and pushing to validate whether or not they actually made a difference.
I want to pause for a second and state that I hold zero judgment towards others who find any of those providers, supplements, or treatments beneficial. In fact, I’m quite pleased for them that relief may come sooner and more often. It wasn’t until recently that I felt the benefits of alternative therapy – specifically, that of a well-trained and educated chiropractor.
Spine, core, and back pain with Crohn's
My spine, or rather the core of my body, in the center from right to left and the center from front to back, radiates a nauseating level of deep aches when it becomes important to alert me that my body is under stress, feeling fatigued, or starting to show an increase in Crohn’s symptoms. This feeling has stopped me in my tracks for years but has always been dismissed or brushed off by my GI, rheumatologist, and primary care physician.
A few months back, I had started seeing a chiropractor for an injury I sustained to my tailbone, and I was fascinated by the deep and engaging conversations we'd have before my adjustments and ultrasound therapy. He was incredibly educated on autoimmune diseases and was even able to explain to me some of the connections I'd experience throughout my body. So, right after Thanksgiving when this soul-sucking ache flared up in the core of my body, I scheduled an appointment with my chiropractor.
My chiropractor's insight on the small intestine
In his office, I explained what felt difficult to communicate with other providers. What hurt, how, where, and what I knew it meant for my upcoming days/weeks. Without batting an eyelash, he told me that it made sense, that the small intestine was associated with the lumbar splanchnic and sacral pelvic nerves, which correlated with the pain I was experiencing in the center of my body, most closely related to my spine.
There was no magic answer, but rather, continuous treatments. There was nothing my chiropractor could do to cure me or remove this feeling entirely. But much like taking pain medication, he would make small adjustments to my spine, combine that with massage, use of a tool called a percussor (aka a TheraGun) and ultrasound technology to provide me some increased comfort and relief.
Part of managing my Crohn's pain
Rather than looking at him as someone to see when I'm hurt, he's now someone I see regularly, every 2 weeks or so unless something is extra uncomfortable. As part of my care team, he's able to support and educate me on the connections within my body and how to maintain my health as best as possible.
If you've worked with a chiropractor before, have you found this to be helpful in managing your Crohn's disease and chronic pain?
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