Chiropractic for GI Disorders? YES!

Canadian researchers reviewed studies regarding chiropractic care for disorders of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract.  A total of 21 articles published in peer-reviewed journals between 1980 and November 2012 were included in their review.

For the purpose of this literature review, they defined chiropractic treatment as “therapy provided by a licensed chiropractor involving any combination of spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), soft tissue therapy (STT), modalities, stretching and mobilizations.”  For GI disorders, they included diagnosis such as “infantile colic, constipation, GERD, inflammatory bowel disease, and colitis”.

Articles included 4 randomized control trials with the balance being a variety of formats including: Prospective cohort studies, Case Reports, Longitudinal/Prospective Studies, Retrospective Studies, and Systematic Reviews.

Multiple chiropractic adjustment techniques, including Activator, Diversified, Thompson, Gonstead, were all associated with improvements of GI symptoms.  Other treatments that were associated with GI symptoms improvements were included “soft tissue therapy (for example, ischemic compression), dietary changes and life style modifications.”   Specifically:

  • Patients in a Randomized Clinical Trial for GERD found diversified spinal manipulation therapy, ischemic compression and dietary alterations were found to have “significant improvement in symptoms.”
  • Two Randomized Clinical Trial for colic reported positive results with diversified Spinal Manipulative Treatment and occiput-sacral decompression. “Spinal manipulation therapy was found to be significantly better at treating colic compared to over-the-counter medication.”
  • While only case studies were found for colitis and constipation, the studies reviewed did indicate that chiropractic care had a positive effect for those patients.

Overall, they found that a majority of articles reported mild to moderate improvements with no adverse side effects or worsening of symptoms reported in any of the studies.  This suggests that chiropractic care can be considered as an option for patients with a variety of GI conditions.


SOURCE: “What effect does chiropractic treatment have on gastrointestinal (GI) disorders: a narrative review of the literature”  Katherine Angus, BSc(Kin), DC, Sepideh Asgharifar, BSc(Hons), DC, and Brian Gleberzon, DC, MHSc  J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2015 Jun; 59(2): 122–133