Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
As many as one in five American adults may have the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Irritable Bowel syndrome is an often-debilitating condition that can cause:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Gas and flatulence
Twice as many women as men have the condition, and there is a high incidence of IBS among people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
The cause of IBS is unknown, and diagnosis is generally a matter of ruling out other, better-known illnesses. Tests such as colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or CT scans are performed to rule out other conditions, some of which could be life-threatening. Because the cause is unclear, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms.
One suspected cause is stress – and antidepressants, counseling and meditation are among the remedies sometimes suggested. The central nervous system is a focus, because the walls of the intestines move digesting food through the digestive system through a motion of contracting and relaxing muscles. An overly fast cycle results in diarrhea, a slow motion results in constipation.
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may be explained by compression of the meninges – the three-membrane protective sheath of the spinal cord and brain. Meningeal compression can be a result of accidents, trauma and even stress.
The belief is that such excessive pulling and irritation of nerve roots cause nerve fibers to fire irregular impulses to the brain, the NRC says. The brain may interpret these fired impulses as pain, itching, burning, coldness, numbness, or other odd feelings. It may also affect the nerve impulses controlling the digestive system, causing the symptoms typical of irritable bowel syndrome. The theory is that IBS symptoms may be caused by the sympathetic nervous system firing constantly, preventing the parasympathetic nervous system from controlling digestion. Its constant firing may increase adrenaline production and bring with it a feeling of foreboding, gloom and impending doom. The parasympathetic system works well when we are relaxed and controls things like food digestion and normal, relaxed bodily functions.
A free and non-invasive test can determine the suitability of the patient for long-term meningeal decompression therapy. The test also provides immediate temporary relief for many patients.