Community Health Training, Inc.
A Federal Non-Profit Corporation dedicated to bringing no and
low cost health care information to both professionals and the public

Pain Control Without Drugs
Click Here
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

aka "Spastic Colon"

For years this conditions has been called "Spastic Colon" for good reasons. In the vast majority of cases this is exactly what it is.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is actually a collection of symptoms which are grouped together to describe a condition which may be caused by different pathologies. Foremost in most cases is abdominal stress or pain along with alternating constipation and diarrhea. Bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, and even headaches can be part of the symptoms for some patients.

When a patient is suspected of having IBS the first course of action is to treat the symptoms for relief of pain, diarrhea and/or constipation and see if it goes away. If not then other tests including a view with x-rays or an actual miniature camera inserted through the rectum and into the colon are done to see if there is any blockage of the colon itself. Often an x-ray will show a part of the colon which seems to be blocked. Then the camera is necessary to see what is causing the blockage.

In the large majority of cases there are no internal growths, polyps, cancers or impacted blockages. Most cases end up being due to actual spasms. In other words, for IBS the proper term ends up being "Spastic Colon". Most often it is caused by stress in you life leading to that "gut twisting" anxiety or worry.

How Can You Treat Irritable Bowel Symdrome?

The colon is actual a tube which food remnants, fluids and fecal material pass through before exiting the body. The way it's moved along is called peristalsis. The colon tube is surrounded by three different layers of muscle which contract in wavelike motion to squeeze things through just like you squeeze a toothpaste tube to get things out the end. Since they are muscles they can go into spasm like any other muscle. When they do you have the symptoms and if it continues they can become chronic. These chronic spasms are called trigger points.

Trigger points will not go away on their own. They will not go away with a change in diet, or with stool softeners, or with muscle relaxants. The most effective treatment is to eliminate the trigger points or muscle spasms themselves with direct physical therapy.

The colon is the orange tube running up the right side, across the top and down the left side of the abdomen. It is surrounded by three circular tubes of muscle which often develop TPs. The last part into the rectum is only accessible with a tool. Laying on you back and relaxing your stomach as much as possible will allow you to use the four fingertips of one hand as an edged tool to press down onto the areas of the colon. Cup the hand so that the four fingertips are flat as if you had them resting on a table top. Use the other hand on the back of the first to help pull the fingertips down onto the colon. Move from the beginning of the colon to it's end by moving about ½ inch between spots you test and/or apply pressure to.
(Return to top)