How Chiropractors Can Help Patients with Crohn’s Disease


Studies have revealed that specific spinal adjustments in patients with Crohn’s Disease provide long-term symptom remission. In combination with other treatments, some may experience complete remission of their disease.

Crohn’s Disease has become an epidemic in the United States with about three million individuals suffering from this disease and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease. It is likely that many more people have not been diagnosed or sought out medical attention for their condition. That number is only on the rise and more people are seeking treatment for unbearable digestive issues.

Although there is no cure for Crohn’s Disease, there are many treatments you can seek to alleviate and manage the symptoms of the disease. Many of those treatments are in conventional Western medicine practice. This means treatments include prescription medications, immunomodulators, surgery, and biologic therapies.

These conventional treatments do help many individuals manage their symptoms, however, we often fail to consider a more natural, holistic approach when it comes to managing a tough disease. Chiropractic care is an alternative approach to treating Crohn’s Disease that many find success with. Research also tells us there is proof to back up these claims, and the results are highly promising.

In this article, we will discuss what Crohn’s Disease is, why it is tough to manage, conventional Western medicine treatments and its issues, and how chiropractors can help patients with Crohn’s disease.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease is the inflammation of part of your digestive system. Although the disease can attack any part of the digestive system, it is most common in the small intestine and colon. Crohn’s is part of the inflammatory bowel disease group. This disease causes long-term inflammation and causes diarrhea, abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, weight loss, and rectal bleeding.

Flares-ups are also common and are sudden. They are believed to be activated from certain factors such as:

  • Smoking
  • Environmental pollution
  • Chronic stress
  • Antibiotics
  • Changes in medications

Why Treating Crohn’s Disease is Challenging

Treating Crohn’s is challenging because it is often difficult to diagnose. Furthermore, no single treatment works for everyone suffering from this disease. Since there is no cure, your doctor’s focus is to decrease the inflammation in your intestines, stop flare-ups from occurring, and to keep the disease in remission. This way you can live a relatively normal life without consistent painful symptoms associated with the disease.

You will likely have to go through a few different treatments before your symptoms begin to improve drastically. Since there is not one best way to manage your symptoms, trial and error is often the best way to find your ideal long-term symptoms relief plan.

There may also be limitations with improving symptoms of Crohn’s because Western medicine fails to consider alternative medicines and holistic approaches to treating and managing diseases. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is, however, becoming more popular for those with Crohn’s Disease.

The issue lies in the fact that traditional doctors are not equipped to engage in conversations with their patients about a CAM approach, even in addition to their conventional treatment. There can be no meaningful conversation between patient and doctor on how to use the following approaches to manage their symptoms in an effective way.

  • Herbal supplements
  • Chinese medicine
  • Probiotics
  • Mind-body techniques
  • Chiropractic care

Conventional Treatment Options and its Issues


The most common way to manage symptoms is through prescription medications. It is often the first treatment option given to patients when they are diagnosed. The medication you are prescribed depends on your specific symptoms.

Aminosalicylates are prescribed to help reduce inflammation in your intestines. They are medications that are meant for those with mild symptoms or for new patients. Although they may help reduce your inflammation, that does not mean they don’t lack unpleasant side effects such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Abdominal pain

Corticosteroids are another common treatment method. This is for those who have more severe symptoms and need stronger symptom management. Corticosteroids produce a host of side effects, many of them serious.

  • Acne
  • Loss of bone mass
  • High blood pressure
  • Greater infection risk
  • High blood glucose
  • Weight gain
  • Mood shifts
  • Psychological effects

There are other medications that patients are prescribed as well. Immunomodulators and biological therapies are common. The treatments are even harsher and come with worse side effects.

For instance, cyclosporine, an immunomodulator, used to treat stubborn Crohn’s Disease. This drug increases your risk of cancer (especially lymphoma and skin cancer,) high blood pressure, kidney damage, seizure, and much more. For many people, these side effects are not worth the potential benefit of the medication.

Surgery and Bowel Rest

Surgery and bowel rest can help with symptoms as well. Bowel rest is when you give your body a rest from food and drink. Your doctor may give you a liquid to drink that includes nutrients, may provide nutrients through a feeding tube into your stomach, or through an IV.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Crohn’s Disease

Although there is limited research on how chiropractic care can help patients with Crohn’s Disease, there are a few very promising studies that have been conducted.

2013 Study

A study in 2003 found that twelve out of seventeen patients experienced long-term positive results from spinal adjustments and consistent remission of their symptoms. Nine people also experienced some lower level of relief of their symptoms with spinal adjustments as well.

The study also found the following results, which further explain how chiropractic spinal adjustments helped patients with Crohn’s Disease.

  • By correcting changes in the vertebrae that are caused by vertebral subluxation, a common condition of those with Crohn’s, patients had improvement in their symptoms and it prevents future symptoms.
  • There is a high likelihood that the strength of the muscles that support the rachis correlate with any changes or development in patients’ symptoms who have Crohn’s.
  • One can expect that through using the Takeda Chiropractic Method in combination with conventional treatment for Crohn’s, side effects of drugs, stable remission of symptoms, and prevention of Crohn’s is a high possibility.

The study shows that it is possible that chronic nerve compression and vertebral subluxation in lumbar and thoracic areas are indeed what have a positive effect on immune function for people with Crohn’s Disease. They were also able to conclude that these nerve compressions of the spine can aid in betting digestion, absorbing nutrients in food and drinks consumed, and helping with excretion and other areas of the digestive tract.

New research published in March 2018 by Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research shows even more promise when it comes to putting Crohn’s Disease patients into symptom remission.

2018 Case Study

This case study follows a sixty-year-old man diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. His symptoms included abdominal pain, cramping, stiffness in all areas of his body, diarrhea, and general feelings of sickness. The man was taking multiple medications for his symptoms but felt as though they were not helping. 

After a thorough examination, they found that the man had a poor diet and subluxations on multiple areas of his spine.

After these findings were determined, the patient received treatment, subluxation-centered chiropractic care. Adjustments were made to his spine by using the Full Spine Diversified Technique. They also revamped his poor diet and he followed a healthier diet plan.

This combination of treatments provided the man with an almost complete reduction of his symptoms. He experienced a decrease in the severity of his symptoms and stated flare-ups were rare to non-existent.

Approximately nine months after chiropractic treatment, the man went back to his primary doctor for a full checkup. The doctor found that the man had complete medical remission of his Crohn’s Disease. 

Although the scope of each study is limited, and more comprehensive and larger scale studies are needed, the results indicate a promising CAM alternative to conventional medications and remedies. Even if patients do not use chiropractic care and other CAM remedies to solely heal their Crohn’s symptoms, using chiropractic adjustments in combination with conventional treatment can put patients who find medications are not fully working into complete remission.

It is important for Crohn’s patients to remember that speaking with their primary doctor to come up with a proper solution to treat their symptoms is critical. Working with their doctor and a chiropractor or naturopath is best for finding success with this combination of solutions.

Remember that Crohn’s Disease is difficult to treat and not all solutions that work for some people will also work for you. Trial and error will likely be a part of your journey while searching for a remedy that puts your Crohn’s symptoms into remission. Chiropractic adjustments may or may not work for your specific condition and symptoms, but with such positive research conclusions, working with a great chiropractor—such as Better Health Chiropractor Wasilla AK—may just be the solution you have been searching for.

About Dr. Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998 and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using various services designed to help give you long-lasting relief.

Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.