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IBS and Chiropractic

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common condition with approximately 1 in 5 Australians experiencing IBS at some time. It is referred to as a functional gastrointestinal disorder characterised by abdominal pain or discomfort and a change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea). A new description for this condition is that IBS is a condition of brain gut interaction, highlighting the importance of the brain and its relationship with gut function. Abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive system may cause you to experience greater than normal discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas or stool. Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines can cause your body to overreact to changes that normally occur in the digestive process, resulting in pain, diarrhoea, or constipation.


If you’re having digestive issues, including IBS, you probably don’t think to contact a chiropractor. However, there is a growing body of research in this relationship. For example, there is a randomised control trial study published which evaluated the clinical effect of spinal manipulation (adjustments) in treating IBS compared with the anti-spasmodic IBS medication Dicetel.1 Researchers randomly divided 210 IBS patients into spinal manipulation and medication groups. All the patients in the spinal manipulation group received a total of 5 treatments. 

Symptoms were evaluated based on bowel symptom scale scores before and after treatment. Post-treatment results from the spinal manipulation group showed that 92 cases had excellent results, 10 cases had good results, 3 had fair results and 0 cases had poor results. Meanwhile, in the medication group, 30 cases had excellent results, 41 cases had good results, 12 cases had fair results and 22 cases had poor results. 

The researchers of this study concluded that displacement of intervertebral discs and/or vertebrae in the thoracic and lumbar region appear to be a contributing factor in the symptoms of IBS. They also concluded that correcting this displacement of intervertebral discs/and or vertebrae to resolve the stimuli caused by pressure exerted on the nerves and vessels around the spine is an effective treatment for IBS. 

If you are experiencing from IBS and would like to have your spine and nervous system checked, contact Dr Cindy at Provolution Health on 6299 2660 or


  1. Qu L, Xing L, Norman W, Chen H, Gao S. Irritable bowel syndrome treated by traditional Chinese spinal orthopedic manipulation. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2012 Dec 1;32(4):565-70.

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