We often think of our body systems as working independent of each other. We then think of our symptoms as unique and independent of each other. Nothing could be further from the truth even though this is exactly how our medical system is designed.
Chronic back and pelvic pain are prime examples of how pain can be interconnected with the health of your gut. The gut is a buzzword lately and everyone is talking about gut health. But what does that mean exactly? There are many factors that impact gut health and each of these factors can influence chronic back and pelvic pain.
Most of us think that pain that feels like it is in muscles and joints must be coming from a muscle or joint problem. While this IS true much of the time, the cycle of chronic pain is complex. We can get side tracked treating the symptoms of chronic pain instead of the cause. Think of how often you foam roll or stretch to solve a symptom but it never goes away. This is because the tight muscle is a symptom not necessarily the cause. Digging deeper into why there is a muscle imbalance of alignment issue is the key to solving the musculoskeletal component of chronic pain.
Dysfunction of bowels is a key indicator of inflammation and irritation in the abdominal cavity and inflammation in the gut can feed inflammation in the system. If someone is constipated (works hard to have bowel movements, bm’s are like rabbit poop or you feel like you can never fully empty, you only poop after coffee) or has chronic diarreha, there is a chance that extra toxins are leaking into the system feeding inflammation and increasing pain. The toxin overload signals an inflammatory response to start in the system and this inflammatory response can lead to increased pain. In addition, with chronic constipation there is always increased pressure in the abdomen and this can directly amplify pain.
Scars heal on the outside in 6-8 weeks but scar tissue can continue to grow internally for a lifetime!!! This means that after surgeries like an appendectomy, c section, gall bladder removal and more, there can be a network of scar formation inside the body that is continually expanding. This can create an imbalance of mobility in tissue and create back or pelvic pain.
We can’t live without stress and sometimes stress can be good for us. But, living under chronic stress leads to overactivation of the fight or flight response and this is NOT good. Unfortunately, in today’s world, manu of us don’t even recognize that we are under stress. Stress signals to the body that we need extra energy to run or escape resulting in extra glucose release into the system and elevation of stress hormones each leading to inflammation. This inflammation can disrupt gut health and thus create more inflammation that drives pain.
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Is a mom of two, life long exercise & nutrition enthusiast, women's health specialist & physical therapist.