Research News Staff
Relief for Infants with Constipation

Research Reveals Relationship between Nervous System, Spine and Constipation

A recent study revealed that a child experiencing constipation since she was 3 months old found resolution through chiropractic care. The research on the now 5-year old girl, reported in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health-Chiropractic, revealed dramatic improvement in the patient's bowel function after visiting the chiropractor. 

CLICK HERE to review the study.

“Research indicates that minor shifts in the structure of the spine may impact function, suggesting that these structural shifts may be a factor in a number of disorders. Structural shifts may lead to nerve obstruction and could possibly result in a host of health problems such as constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. Other chiropractic researchers have reported on similar results and reviews of the scientific research reveal numerous other studies that have shown a similar connection. 

“It makes a lot of sense when you think about it” stated McCoy. “It’s reasonable to suggest that if you obstruct or damage the nerves exiting the spine, the result of the obstruction(s) and/or damage can have far reaching implications on the functioning of the body. Through research reports like this we are finding that correcting these structural shifts reduces nerve obstruction, bringing about marked improvement in children who are experiencing a variety of gastrointestinal maladies.” 

Ordinarily, infants suffering from constipation may be given medications that - in many cases, have not been fully studied in children. Uncovering the cause of the gastrointestinal issues is a much better strategy. One such cause is thought to be structural shifts in the spine concurrent with abnormal motion - the combination of which is more commonly known as vertebral subluxations by doctors of chiropractic. These vertebral subluxations result in nerve obstruction. It’s these obstructions that may cause symptoms such as those seen in this study, and doctors of chiropractic correct these obstructions. 

The patient reported on in the study of mention was a 5-year-old female who was delivered via cesarean section and suffered from low birth weight and lung issues. This child spent 10 days in the NICU following her birth. The child presented to the chiropractor with complaints of constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain starting at six months of age. At that point, she experienced these symptoms on a daily basis and experienced little to no relief from the use of laxatives, oils, and high fiber diets as prescribed by her medical doctor. She had recently ended up in the emergency room due to extreme stomach pain. 

The chiropractor examined the child and discovered structural abnormalities concurrent with vertebral subluxations in the neck, mid and low back. By the 10th visit, the patient’s symptoms were completely resolved and at a one year follow up the patient's constipation and all other symptoms were nonexistent. 

According to Dr. McCoy, these results suggest a possible link between gastrointestinal disturbances, structural abnormalities and vertebral subluxations. Correcting the subluxations through the use of specific chiropractic adjustments appears to have returned this child’s gastrointestinal function to normal. 

The authors call for further research on chiropractic and constipation in children. 


Contact Information: 

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH

Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic

McCoy Press