When you visit an osteopath you will be screened with each appointment for more sinister reasons for your symptoms - just to make sure nothing has changed. You will be asked if you have had blood in your stools, any unintentional weight loss or fever, pain or diarrhoea that awakens you from sleep
Stress and lifestyle is a massive factor in IBS. When we are very stressed, the diaphragm does not contract properly and as a result of this the abdominal contents do not get massaged as much as they would be normally. An osteopath would work with your diaphragm and also the vertebral connections in your upper lumbar spine, where it attaches, and your neck, where the diaphragm is innervated from.
The body is amazing. it is designed so that if you fracture your neck below the middle you can still use you diaphragm to breath as it is innervated from the upper to mid nerves from the neck.
We will also work on your spine. The area from mid shoulder blades to just above the curve in your lower back innervates your large and small intestines. This may involve HVTs or 'clicks' in your back or gentle stretching. This all depends on you - your presentation, your circumstances. This is the beauty of osteopathy - it is tailored to you as a person. If you suffer mainly with constipation, we will work more with your upper neck and around the base of your spine where your parasympathetic nervous system is located - to try and speed things up a bit!
We will work on your abdomen. If you suffer with predominantly diarrhoea we will work around the left side of your abdomen (the ascending colon) or with constipation, we will work mainly with the left side, or the descending colon.
There will be other considerations during your treatment such as if your IBS is affecting other areas of your body through muscular tension. Stress is commonly a trigger for IBS type symptoms and osteopathic treatment can be helpful in reducing the side effects of stress on your body. We can also give practical advice on ways to help relaxation and reduce the amount of stress you feel.