IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is a group of symptoms that occur together, including repeated pain in the abdomen and changes in bowel movements, which may be diarrhea, constipation, or both. With IBS, one can have these symptoms without any visible signs of damage or disease in the digestive tract.
The most common symptoms of IBS are:
- abdominal (stomach) pain and cramping, which may be relieved by moving your bowels
- a change in your bowel habits – such as diarrhoea, constipation or sometimes both
- bloating and swelling of your stomach
- excessive wind (flatulence)
- occasionally experiencing an urgent need to move your bowels
Some other less common symptoms may also be experienced, such as:
- lack of energy (lethargy)
- feeling sick
The symptoms of IBS can also have a significant impact on a person’s day-to-day life and, as a result, some people may experience symptoms of low mood and stress.
Osteopathy can potentially help manage some of the symptoms associated with IBS, including fatigue and muscle tightness, by addressing their underlying causes. Here’s how it may be beneficial:
*Manual therapy: Osteopathy involves hands-on techniques that can help relieve muscle tension and improve mobility. Techniques such as soft tissue massage, joint mobilization, and myofascial release can be used to address specific areas of tightness and discomfort.
*Exercise prescription: An Osteopath can design a tailored exercise program to improve overall strength and flexibility. Strengthening exercises can help support the body’s natural alignment, while stretching exercises can alleviate muscle tightness and improve range of motion.
*Education and self-management strategies: Osteopaths can provide guidance on lifestyle modifications, such as ergonomic adjustments and relaxation techniques, to manage symptoms like fatigue and muscle tightness. They can also educate you on proper body mechanics and posture to prevent further discomfort.
It’s important to note that while Osteopathy may provide symptomatic relief, they do not directly treat the underlying cause of IBS. IBS management typically involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes dietary changes, antibiotics, and addressing any underlying conditions contributing to bacterial overgrowth. If you suspect you have IBS, it’s advisable to consult with a doctor first for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.