Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is no walk in the park. This common disorder affects the functioning of the large intestine and may manifest as a variety of uncomfortable symptoms including bloating, gas, abdominal cramping and soreness, stress, anxiety, constipation, or diarrhea.
While there is no medicinal treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, with the help of a local chiropractor in Hickory, sufferers can work to correct the imbalances that lead to this uncomfortable condition at the source by addressing the neck pain in Hickory that affects the way that the brain stem interacts with the gut.
That said, there are also plenty of healthy lifestyle choices that people living with irritable bowel syndrome can make to help reduce their discomfort and enjoy a fuller, more relaxed life on a day to day basis. Here are some great places to start.
1. Identify and Cut Out Triggers
In order to understand how to best address irritable bowel syndrome, people need to learn to identify the patterns that lead to adverse reactions. The best way to do this is to keep a detailed diary for at least a couple of weeks.
This is a good place to note not only what was consumed and when, but also the amount and type of daily exercise, stress levels, bowel habits and stomach and back pain in Hickory. Be sure to record any over-the-counter medications or dietary supplements as well. Keeping a diary will not only be useful in terms of identifying what triggers a reaction, but will also help a chiropractor in Hickory to best address the condition.
Things like fried or fatty foods, dairy and caffeinated beverages, and alcohol all tend to be common triggers, but different people will find different foods or lifestyle habits more or less irritating. This means it is important to evaluate the condition as a whole from a personal perspective and take the initiative to cut out those things that tend to lead to unpleasant symptoms.
2. Eat Less Food More Frequently
A lot of people who live with irritable bowel syndrome will notice that their symptoms tend to get a lot worse right after they eat, and this is especially true with heavy meals. This is because the more that a person eats in one sitting, the more the digestive tract becomes stimulated, and for people with IBS, their gut is already prone to over-stimulation.
So essentially, it is important to resist the urge to eat a lot in one sitting, and rather, opt for smaller, more frequent meals instead. This way, the digestive system will function in a more continuous, predictable way, as opposed to going through the uncomfortable jumps and starts that come with a lot of food in one short sitting.
3. Easy Does It
Irritable bowel syndrome is an unpredictable condition, and this in turn causes a lot of stress. This is totally understandable. Nobody wants to end up having to make a dash for the bathroom or deal with gas in a public setting. However, the rub here is that people who are stressed or anxious tend to take shorter, more rapid breaths and maybe even drink and eat more quickly, which in turn, will make it more likely the digestive tract will become irritated.
One of the ways that sufferers can help take control of this unpleasant cycle is to make a conscious effort to breathe fully, chew their food fully and carefully consume beverages in moderation. Cutting out chewing gum and cigarettes can also help, as can making a point of not speaking while chewing. Mindfulness meditation can be a useful tool in terms of both reducing stress and encouraging more conscientious habits.
4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Yet another vicious cycle that tends to exacerbate the severity of IBS is sleep deprivation. A lot of people who suffer from IBS will literally lose sleep because of the discomfort or stress they experience because of the condition, and this, in turn, will only increase the possibility of a negative reaction.
One of the best ways to counter stress-related insomnia is to create firm routines and stick to them. Go to sleep at the same time every night, set the alarm clock for the same time every morning, avoid screens when winding down and never use the bed for work-related activities. Exercise can also help mitigate insomnia, as can taking regular naps when feeling tired.
Cutting out caffeine is also one of the most effective ways to combat chronic restlessness, and it is also one of the primary triggers for IBS-related discomfort. As painful of a sacrifice as it may feel to be at first, most people also report feeling more alert and productive throughout the course of the day when they learn to kick their coffee habits to the curb.
5. Prioritize Self-Care
A lot of people who live with IBS also struggle to relax. This is totally understandable, given that the uncomfortable nature of the condition itself is inherently stressful. However, stress is also a major trigger for irritable bowel syndrome-related reactions, and this means that it is important for anybody living with IBS to learn to unwind.
One of the best ways to combat stress is to do things that make a person feel comfortable or happy. Otherwise known as self-care, these types of activities include taking a bath, reading, meditating, gentle yoga, massage, pampering, enjoying a warm cup of herbal or tea or really partaking in anything else that just feels good for the soul, will really help the stress of the day just melt away.
As counter-intuitive as it may feel, setting aside some concrete time for self-care, is actually especially important for those who already lead busy lifestyles. It is a must for anybody who lives with IBS to make relaxation a priority.
Summing It Up
When it comes to living with irritable bowel syndrome, there is no need to feel discouraged. Those who commit to good lifestyle choices while working with a fibromyalgia chiropractor in Hickory often experience a significant reduction in symptoms.
For some, they might even be able to gradually integrate certain trigger foods into their diets again as their symptoms diminish. However, they will want to be sure to consult with a chiropractor for migraines in Hickory first. Lifestyle choices can go a long way, but only a trained practitioner can address the issues from a neurological perspective right at the physical source. Be sure to reach out to find out more.