By Dr. Patrick
~ Have you ever heard that left shoulder or arm pain could be the only symptom a person is having a heart attack? If you have both chronic back pain and indigestion, you may have thought that the two are not connected. But they are connected in a way similar to how left shoulder pain is connected to a heart attack.
Back pain and indigestion are issues for many people. They can be remedied by first understanding the connection between the two, and second by finding a doctor who uses a whole-body systems approach to pain treatment.
Basic anatomy teaches us that our spinal cord is a system of nerves that sends messages to our brain and connects to nearly every part of our body. Nerves from our spinal cord connect to both muscles and organs. We could not blink an eye, digest our food, or hug one another without the nervous system’s sending a message to the brain that allows us to function in these ways.
Back pain and indigestion are connected because the nerves that go to and from the organs of the digestive system also link to specific muscles and ligaments that stabilize the back and neck. When you are experiencing stress in one of your digestive organs, that organ will send
a message back to the spinal cord via the same nerve that goes to a corresponding spinal muscle. As a result, the corresponding muscle will become tense, contracted, and painful.
For example, when the bowel is stressed from constipation, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may experience accompanying low back pain. Hence the cause of your pain may originate from your bowel even though you may feel the pain in your back.
This phenomenon is termed “referred pain” because the stress on the digestive organs refers pain to the muscles in the low back. About a third of the people I see in my practice who are experiencing chronic low back pain have back pain because their kidneys are stressed from trying to expel the waste products associated with undigested food. Thus, low back pain is not always caused by a misaligned vertebra or disc problem as is so often presumed!
Treating the back pain only without also treating the deeper digestive cause will result in the back pain’s returning. So it is important to consider that your back pain may have a deeper source than in the back, where you feel it most.
Another example of referred pain is when people experience frequent pain between the shoulder blades. Pain between the shoulder blades could actually be coming from the esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, small intestine, or liver. Just ask anyone who has had a gallbladder attack to verify this for you.
When we have a health problem, we tend to focus on the symptoms. We may be focusing our attention on our stomach cramps or back pain only. While our symptoms may point to one issue, our bodies may be trying to tell us something different. The key to lasting treatment is to get to the source of the pain, which may be coming from an organ or system that is in need of rest and nutrition to heal.
Unfortunately, the established medical approach tends to view our bodies as separate parts. Specialists give medications that cause side effects that can harm the organs and systems that other specialists treat. For example, you may see a specialist about your back pain, and he or she prescribes a medication that may irritate your stomach, create ulcers, constipate you, and damage the kidneys or liver.
If we fail to approach the body as a whole, we disrupt its natural regulation processes. So what may be “good” for relieving back pain may not be good for the stomach, liver, and kidneys. An integrated approach, on the other hand, that uses a whole-body systems perspective can treat many conditions without the side effects of medications and may be the better choice for a person who has the twin issue of back pain and indigestion.
What We Do to Help
The approach we use at the Digestion Relief Center uses a whole-body systems method that looks for the cause. First we restore the body’s ability to assimilate and eliminate (i.e., digest your food) properly. Next we use a noninvasive neurological approach that reestablishes communication circuits between the nerves, organs, and brain to restore normal function. Then we adjust the musculoskeletal system as needed.
If you have unresolved spinal pain or indigestion and have not yet tried our “inside-out” approach, we invite you to give us a call at 899-8741, visit www.DigestionReliefCenter.com, or attend one of our free educational seminars … because we believe treating the body goes beyond symptoms only.
Since 1999, Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, HIS, has helped North State residents by using a whole-body systems approach to health. He specializes in providing natural relief for food and environmental sensitivities, intolerances, digestive, and digestive- related problems. For more information contact Dr. Patrick at 530-899-8741 or visit www.DigestionReliefCenter.com.
© 2015. Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC. All Rights Reserved.