By Steven Hefferon, PTA, CMT
Whether you have flat abs or a beer belly, you can experience pain due to excess abdominal gas and excess fecal matter in your intestines. It has been said that if you have only one bowel movement a day, you have up to eight meals left in your intestines. Gas can develop in a matter of hours after eating and stay around for a long time so listen up.
How does this relate to back pain? Allow me to explain… Abdominal gas can be devastating to the back-pain sufferer, especially one who is trying to take a more natural approach and is using stretching and exercise to get relief. Here’s why: The position of your pelvis and the curvature of your spine are the two biggest factors that affect any condition that causes back pain. Even if the treatment you are using is a good one, your results will be hindered by a distended belly.
Big Belly Gas Pains
Let me give you an example: Suppose the last thing you eat at night is fruit. Your body will begin to digest it, and because fruit ferments very quickly, gas will be an automatic byproduct of that breakdown. Without any other food matter to push the gas along, it will get trapped. All night long your body will be fighting the effects of that gas, and you will wake up in the morning with killer back pain.
That’s why I never recommend fruit as a midnight snack. Right now you may be thinking: What’s so bad about a little gas? Answer: If your belly gets distended – much like a pregnant women – your abdominals are going to get stretched out, which means they are not going to be able to stabilize your pelvis as they should.
There is no amount of abdominal strengthening you could do to overcome the outward push of that abdominal gas. If your belly is distended, you will never achieve the neutral position for the pelvis that you need to get relief.
Flat Abs Gas Pains
I know what some of you are going to say: “But what if I have flat abs and back pain?” Even if you have rock-hard abs, the gas – instead of pushing your belly outward – could be pushing your intestines back into your spine and the muscle of your spine. That irritation of your intestines could be just as bad as, if not worse than, the outward forces. In either case, you will be amazed at how fast you’ll get relief if you work on getting that gas out of your system.
5 Things You’d Rather Not Know
If having too much gas was not bad enough, there are at least five other irritating conditions that can affect your back pain due to improper bowel movement.
1. Most people are chronically dehydrated, which usually leads to constipation. Other reasons you might be constipated include the medications you are taking and the foods you eat. With constipation, you go through your day with excess pressure on your bowels. And whenever your colon is full of waste matter, it will be stiff and rigid. Because your colon is so close to your spine and the muscle of your spine, mobility becomes an issue, not to mention more pain.
2. Constipation creates strain. If your fecal matter is dry, hard, and difficult to eliminate, you will have to work harder to get rid of it. This can be murder on your body – your blood pressure spikes, your rectum is traumatized, and the pressure on your spine is tremendous.
3. Food allergies cause inflammation. Whether we know it or not, many of us have food allergies (nuts, wheat, milk, beans, etc.). With any allergies, you will have an inflammatory reaction, and the inflammation that emanates from your intestinal track is so close to your spine that the inflammation is going to affect the muscle of your spine.
4. Poor nutrient absorption can add pounds. A digestive track that is not absorbing nutrients properly will not allow your body to get the nutrients it needs to repair itself. This can bring on a chronic cycle of eating to try to satisfy your nutritional needs, which likely will lead to weight gain.
5. Stress on internal organs weakens tissue. The weight of the excess stool will put stress on your internal organs – your stomach, small intestines, and large intestines, all of which are held in place by very delicate fibrous connective tissue. As that connective tissue is weighed down over time, it will start to fail than sag and than your trouble are going to be compounded.
Poop Away Pain
Most people would do almost anything to get rid of their back pain. If you are undergoing any type of treatment (including the principles of Muscle Balance Therapy) and want to improve your odds of getting relief sooner, try these tips:
Drink more water. A good rule of thumb is to drink one ounce of water for every two pounds of your body weight. For instance, if you weigh 100 pounds, drink at least 50 ounces of water each day.
Give yourself a visceral massage (called Sun-Moon). To begin, lie on your back and with both hands starting just above your right hip, apply inward pressure on your abdomen, going straight up to the bottom of your rib cage. Then follow along the bottom of the rib cage to the left and then down to the top of the left hip. Go slow and repeat to tolerance.
Try Hydro Colon Therapy. Also know as colonic irrigation, it is a highly effective, although somewhat uncomfortable, method of flushing out the colon, or large intestine. Similar to an enema but more extensive, this procedure can be pricey (it has to be done by a trained professional).
Natural Colon Cleanse. A less-invasive option is to find a good all-natural colon-cleansing product. Many of the new formulations taste okay, work gently, and cause no cramping or bloating. Most of these products begin to work overnight. The better products come with an anti-parasitic and an herbal tea.
To get the best results from whatever back pain treatment you are trying right now, do yourself a favor and drink more water and cleanse your colon. You will be amazed at the results and your waist line will love you too.
Updated: September 11,2013