New research presented recently at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting suggests a possible link between headaches (migraines in particular) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The research, done at Istanbul University in Turkey, looked at people with each of these conditions – migraines, tension headaches, and IBS – and compared them to a control group of people without any of these conditions. What they found was that people who experienced migraines were twice as likely to have IBS than people with tension headaches (54% vs. 28%). Of the 107 IBS sufferers who participated in the study, 38 reported experiencing migraines and 24 reported tension headaches.
While on the surface, headaches and digestive issues may not seem related, it’s clear from the study that a connection may be there. This comes as no surprise to me, actually, since many patients we see in our practice cope with multiple chronic conditions simultaneously. As an upper cervical chiropractor, the results of this study make sense because of the connection to the nervous system.
In both migraines and irritable bowel syndrome, somehow normal signals that travel between the brain and body are becoming distorted. In the case of migraines, those signals carry messages of proper blood flow regulation, muscle tension, and flow of cerebrospinal fluid. In the case of IBS, those messages tell the gut when to produce certain enzymes in the right quantities, and move food smoothly through the GI tract.
When the atlas (the topmost vertebra in the neck) misaligns, it puts pressure on the brainstem, which is the relay station for all of these signals. Utilizing upper cervical chiropractic analysis and adjusting techniques, we can determine how the atlas is disrupting this normal function. When normal alignment is restored, normal function is also allowed to return. This is how we see our migraine and headache patients achieve so much success under our care – and the best part is that the relief is not merely temporary, it lasts. If you’re experiencing migraines and also have been having digestive issues, it’s no surprise they might be connected. Addressing the root cause of these issues with upper cervical chiropractic can be the answer to your condition.