Common stomach problems may include irritable bowel, ulcers, heartburn, reflux and even cramps.
Most people will first go to the drugstore and find a medication or solution that fits the symptom and take it for a few days or as needed until the symptom goes away.
In many cases, the symptom does not go away and may actually worsen with the medication you purchased.
The next step most of us will take is to either go to our primary doctor who may prescribe something or we may go to the gastrointestinal specialist.
The gastro intestinal specialist will consult with you, ask you about your symptoms and then perhaps prescribe something for you to see if it works. If there is no relief, it is not uncommon for you to have an upper or lower GI exam.
The bad news is that most of these tests come back negative. Often when this happens, most people are told that they may have irritable bowel syndrome which may cause the cramping.
One thing that is noticeably missing is an assessment of the patient that includes their full dietary habits as well as a functional musculoskeletal evaluation.
We can blame this on the fragmentation of care which is clearly driving healthcare costs these days, however, a musculoskeletal evaluation may have eliminated the need for the upper and lower GI because tight fascia surrounding the abdomen that surrounds the xyphoid process and lower diaphragm may actually have been the reason you were in pain in the first place. Fragmentation of care is what happens when you see your primary doctor for 10 minutes, and they then send you to another provider for one symptom, who then sends you to another provider for another symptom and so fourth. You may eventually end up seeing several physicians and still not have an answer to why you hurt, but you may be on multiple medications. This is quite common with elderly populations.
Muscular and fascial problems in the core will affect your stomach and be worsened by stress since stress will tighten all the tissues in the body. Taking medications that buffer the stomach which is often a first line of defense may actually make your stomach ache for real, because we need the acidity to properly digest food. Reducing stomach acid will increase parasitic activity in the gut, worsen digestion and may actually result in problems such as Cibo and reflux.
Medical doctors have little training in the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal system. If this was part of their continuing education, fewer people may need to have tests which require anesthesia and are costly for the patient. The result of this poor training is too many doctors ordering expensive tests that increase risk yet offer little value to the care most people get from their doctors.
Seeing a chiropractor first may be a reasonable choice since most people with stomach pain are having musculoskeletal pain in the pit of their stomach. Chiropractors are uniquely qualified to evaluate and treat these conditions that usually involve the ribs and other articulations in the body as well. Since chiropractors are holistic in their approach to care, they will evaluate everything. The person with stomach problems is likely to be asked about their eating habits, and their history of neck, back, shoulder, knee and foot joint health as well. They will be treated with manipulation, soft tissue techniques such as myofascial release, exercises and even foot orthotics if they are unbalanced from the ground up.
It is common for problems in the core to cause stomach pain and cramps, while also involving the lower back and the knees and even the upper body. If you have multiple problems such as stomach, back, neck and even knee problems, will you are unlikely to find the answer by going to specialists who look at you as if you are not the sum of your parts. By looking at your body as a unit of functioning systems, you are much more likely to avoid expensive tests, unneeded drugs with their unintended consequences and find solutions that improve how you feel and function.
A holistic evaluation by a chiropractor often yields surprising information and leads to treatment that is effective because it addresses the cause, unlike medications that address the symptoms. This is why we now have an opioid crisis.
One of the most common findings is the idea of a DNA shaped spine. While there is no such thing as a DNA shaped spine, people will adapt poorly to inherited asymmetries and the fascial system will tighten and hold them in that shape which is likely to cause stomach pain, knee pain, hip pain, back and neck pain as well.
For most of us raised on the idea that the symptom is the problem, consider this fact; treatment of the symptoms leads to other symptoms, risks and problems and has led to the fragmentation and cost of healthcare in the USA. The United States is being out-practiced by other countries with simpler and more integrated healthcare systems that use fewer drugs, have more holistic methods of care and have better life expectancy, all delivered at a much lower cost.
On the other hand, treating the mechanism behind why you hurt is more cost effective, safer and can permanently resolve many chronic complaints. These results usually come without testing, therapies to painful parts and without medications if you see the appropriate practitioner.
Years ago Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Our current way of practicing healthcare in the USA is the definition of insanity. It has become accepted practice to always look for the next disease and the drug companies oblige by developing the next pill to cure it.
Unfortunately, our record of curing many stomach complaints with medications and tests is poor. In other countries where doctors practice more holistically, they use fewer tests, medications and procedures, yet the people are healthier. They spend their resources on people staying healthier, being more active and eating better quality food. The less fragmented the care is, the more likely you are going to feel better. the better you eat, the less likely you will be obese and you are more likely to reduce your risk of inflammation and diseases that result from those systemic adaptations.
In our healthcare system, chiropractors are musculoskeletal primary spine physicians who are well trained holistic providers. Holistic means they look at everything, not just your complaint. For stomach problems, it may actually not be insane to see a chiropractor first. They can if necessary send you to a medical specialist if needed. The good news is that most tests from upper and lower GI are inconclusive and can be avoided if the problem is musculoskeletal in nature. Most chiropractic visits use a hands on approach that may cure more than your stomach. It may improve the overall quality of your musculoskeletal heath and a resolution of multiple physical ailments as your body mechanics improves.
If you have stomach problems and other spinal and extremity symptoms, consider seeing a chiropractor first. While this is not conventional thinking, it may offer a better understanding of why you hurt and help you avoid harmful and costly interventions. Chiropractors will refer you to the appropriate medical specialist if needed.