There are several ways chiropractic care can help support a kid’s constipation journey. As a Pediatric Chiropractor, I work with a variety of parents and families to support their journey with digestive health and constipation relief. While the strategy to help their little ones with constipation varies from kid to kid, many solutions I provide often overlap. In this article, I will be sharing the different ways parents can support their kid’s constipation naturally, along with some advice for gut health as a Chiropractor in Pediatric Care.
The Link Between Kids Constipation, Upper Cervical Spine, and the Brain-Gut Connection
First, let’s review the function of the gut so we can understand its role in relation to the rest of our body - specifically, the brain. The brain uses the digestive system as a primary signaling agent for elimination and immune function. The gut responds by protecting the body through breakdown, absorption, and detoxification processes. Therefore, the brain and gut are both key to kiddos fighting germs, eliminating toxins, and even for emotion regulation.
Communication and coordination happen primarily through the function of the Vagus Nerve and Autonomic Nervous System. Where does this originate at? The upper cervical spine. This is important because as a chiropractor, the upper cervical spine is where we primarily focus on for adjustments that will help boost digestive motility.
Gut Imbalance in Kids: Key Signs
Kiddos that struggle with constipation, more often than not, also struggle with things such as:
3 Root Causes of Chronic Constipation
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, foods like dairy, grains, gluten, and red meat are often blamed for causing constipation. This could be accompanied with a lack of probiotics, magnesium, fiber, and water. For more information regarding how magnesium affects gut health, check out our blog about the Best Types of Magnesium for a Healthy Digestion.
This is the #1 most common finding that we see as the primary cause of constipation. We find an interference with gut motility which causes it to malfunction, slow down, or stop altogether.
This is a combination of both of the above.
Key Takeaways: The brain and gut have to have free flowing communication. Dysfunction within the nervous system can create issues with not only elimination, but immune function. The #1 most common finding that I see in my chiropractic office is neurological imbalances and interference.
How to Care for Your Kid’s Constipation Symptoms Naturally
Here’s the reality, most kids we see don’t tend to eat all their leafy green vegetables, or even drink adequate amounts of water that they should. Some kiddos even struggle with the texture of certain foods. Therefore, an easy way to make sure that they are getting the proper nutrition that they need is by adding nutrition supplements into their diet.
Begin Health’s Growing Up Prebiotics is a prebiotic supplement made specifically for kids and toddlers, ages 1+ years. It is tasteless, textureless and can easily be added to their favorite drink or foods. This prebiotic formula specifically helps a kid’s gut microbiome by supporting softer and more frequent stooling. There’s only two ingredients in Begin’s Growing Up Prebiotics: chicory root fiber and human milk oligosaccharide.
Chicory root contains prebiotic fiber called inulin. Prebiotics are recognized as a promising tool in the promotion of general health and in the prevention and treatment of numerous juvenile diseases (Migdady, et al.). Prebiotics can help support constipation relief by creating softer stools. Research published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition revealed that, “volunteers in the inulin group reported increased satisfaction with digestion and reduced defecation difficulties during the supplementation...” (Marteau et al.).
Human milk oligosaccharides (2'-FL HMO) are the third most abundant component of human breast milk. HMO’s have a wide variety of health benefits, including: immunity and good bacterial flora development in the microbiome. (Wicinski, et al.).
Neurologically-Focused Chiropractic Adjustments: What to Expect
When there is stress on a kid’s nervous system, one of the first things it immediately interferes with is gut and digestive function. This can often slow down or stop GI motility and movement. This is called “Neurogenic Constipation,” and the best way to help your little ones with this kind of constipation is through Neurologically-Focused Chiropractic Adjustments.
Neurologically-Focused, Pediatric-Trained Chiropractors start with the nervous system. First, a CLA Insight Scanner is used to see where your child’s nervous system is currently standing. This will also help get to the root cause of their digestive issues. Then, the following tests are used to give additional insight to a kid’s neutral profile:
Adjustments to the upper cervical spine put ease back into the brain in order to help get it back online, which in turn will relieve stuck tension and boost digestive motility.
Key Takeaways: Using a kid’s prebiotic supplement such as Begin Growing Up Prebiotics and Neurologically-Focused Chiropractic adjustments aid in relieving constipation naturally, all while getting to the root cause of your kiddos’ digestive struggles.
Link, R. (2020, January 15). Chicory Root: The Coffee Substitute Loaded with Fiber. Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chicory-root/
Marteau P, Jacobs H, Cazaubiel M, Signoret C, Prevel JM, Housez B. Effects of chicory inulin in constipated elderly people: a double-blind controlled trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Mar;62(2):164-70. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2010.527323. Epub 2010 Nov 23. PMID: 21091293.
Miqdady M, Al Mistarihi J, Azaz A, Rawat D. Prebiotics in the Infant Microbiome: The Past, Present, and Future. Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2020 Jan;23(1):1-14. doi: 10.5223/pghn.2020.23.1.1. Epub 2020 Jan 9. PMID: 31988871; PMCID: PMC6966216.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, October 22). Concerned about constipation?. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/concerned-about-constipation
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Dysautonomia. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/dysautonomia#:~:text=Dysautono mia%20is%20a%20disorder%20of,parasympathetic%20parts%20of%20the%20ANS.
Wiciński M, Sawicka E, Gębalski J, Kubiak K, Malinowski B. Human Milk Oligosaccharides: Health Benefits, Potential Applications in Infant Formulas, and Pharmacology. Nutrients. 2020 Jan 20;12(1):266. doi: 10.3390/nu12010266. PMID: 31968617; PMCID: PMC7019891.
Dr. Lydia is a Pediatric and Prenatal Chiropractor in Clive, Iowa. She knew from the age of 12 that she wanted to be a Chiropractor after suffering a brain injury which resulted in temporary/partial paralysis, learning disabilities, and swelling within vital organs - which was diagnosed and treated by her childhood Chiropractor. Dr. Lydia's passion lies within changing the way healthcare is viewed in America. No child should feel like they cannot thrive regardless of what they are currently struggling with, and no parent should be given no answers, no hope, and no direction on where to go when in that situation.
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