"Look well to the spine for the cause of disease." -Hippocrates

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Tale of the Constipated Boy

I came across this article the other day in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics and thought it was very interesting. It is a case study of a young boy who came to a Chiropractic clinic complaining of constipation, and here is his tale.

The boy came to the clinic with his mother, who said that he had bowel movements at 7 to 10 day intervals, and sometimes even two weeks apart. She told the Chiropractor that he had been having this problem since he was born. His pediatrician referred him to a gastroenterologist, who diagnosed him with chronic constipation, and informed the boy’s mother that he would likely continue to have this problem.

His treatment at the time consisted of a diet that was high in fiber, high fluid intake and was also prescribed a laxative. He followed this recommendation moderately closely, and was still having very large, painful bowel movements, that would take as long as two hours. The mother noted that he had a bowel movement the day before the visit.

The boy had never had a spinal complaint or pain before, and upon Chiropractic examination was found to have a subluxation in his pelvis (specifically his sacrum was subluxated, which is the large bone at the bottom of the spine). The subluxation was adjusted, and the abdomen of the patient was also massaged along the course of the colon (which was based on anecdotal evidence that it may help the situation). The Chiropractor also recommended that the mother continue with the high fiber and fluid diet.

3 days later the mother and boy returned to the Chiropractic clinic to report that the boy had a bowel movement the day of the adjustment, and one 2 days after that, and she was excited because he had never had 3 bowel movements in 4 days before this point.

The mother reported that his bowel movements were much quicker, easier, and less painful, and the stool was much softer and smaller. Treatment was continued for a month, with a total of 8 visits, after which point care was discontinued because his bowel movements had normalized, and no more sacral subluxations were found. The patient never returned for more care, and a follow-up call 13 years later found that he was still experiencing normal bowel function.

Chiropractic care was able to relieve his 8 year long condition in just one month.


1) Quist DM, Duray SM. Resolution of symptoms of chronic constipation in an 8-year-old male after chiropractic treatment, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2007 Jan; 30(1):65-8.

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