How I Healed my Gut from Inside-Out
This may be surprising to some of my friends and family, but what many people don’t know about me is that I used to suffer with some terrible recurrent gut problems when I was a teenager and my early 20’s. It didn’t affect me often; maybe once every few months, but it was definitely something that caused a tremendous amount of distress when it was present. Some of my friends from college might even remember taking me to an ER or urgent care center because the pain was so bad. They would diagnose me with gastritis (stomach pain), give me medicine to get rid of the pain, a little more medicine to treat the nausea, and they sent me on my way.
It never really occurred to me to treat the problem or get it looked at further. After all, it only happened 4-6 times per year. No big deal. Plus, I had no desire to see a specialist and have my stomach scoped, drink barium, or perform any other invasive tests. I could live with it.
An Accidental Solution
While I was in college at the University of Central Florida, I started getting routine chiropractic check-ups to maintain the health of my spine. While I didn’t have any major symptoms to speak of, I decided that if I were going to go to chiropractic school, I should experience the benefits of care. Some common benefits came pretty quickly like increased range of motion, less headaches, and less over all tension in my body. But I also started to notice that I wasn’t really having stomach aches with the same level of frequency.I’m a pretty analytical guy, so I didn’t pay that much thought.
I just figured I was just growing out of this particular problem in my life. If it weren’t for one of the days that the abdominal pain came back with a vengeance and sent me to an urgent care center. The nausea medication and stomach medication weren’t touching the symptoms, a chiropractic friend of mine drove me to my chiropractor’s office and set my Atlas in the right direction. Almost instantly, the nausea lifted while I rested after my adjustment.
How Did it Work?
The top of the neck is unique because it is a gateway to some very special nerves called the cranial nerves. The cranial nerves include the nerves that move your eyes, allow for hearing, control the jaw and face muscles, and one particular nerve called the Vagus Nerve controls the muscles for almost all of your organs.
A structural shift in the top of the neck affects a bundle of cells in your brain stem called the vagal nucleus. When everything fires properly, there are usually no problems. When it fires abnormally, then you can have Secondary Conditions related to blood pressure, heart rhythm, and digestive problems. Maybe there was a legitimate connection with this wacky chiropractic stuff.
But I had to finish the race…
After spending the first 2 years of college exploring the luxuries of unlimited mac & cheese and daily cheese pizza slices for lunch, I decided I wanted to start changing the way that I ate. I was in great shape and had no weight that I needed to lose, so it certainly wasn’t a weight control issue. It was a health issue.
Though my gut was feeling better than ever, there would still be moments of acid reflux and upset stomach that came on after eating those harsh “foods”. It was time to start learning how to be the doctor that practices what he preaches.
I slowly started getting milk out of my diet by replacing my breakfast cereal for some fresh fruit and eggs. I started to make some hearty salads for lunch to make sure I got living whole foods and vegetables in a critical part of my day. I also started to pass on desserts at our weekly fraternity trips to Fridays, much to the dismay of some of my Fraternity brothers.
Soon, the occasional stomach aches became a quick thing of the past.
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that our saving graces can be found by accident. My story is similar to the ones I see in my patients on a daily basis. People who come in with complaints of back pain or neck pain start noticing that their digestion is better and their energy is improved when their nervous system functions better.
Secondly, there comes a time in everyone’s life when we have to take responsibility for our own health. While doctors or health professionals can help you in a time of need, they’re not watching you every instant of your life. In fact, most of the best doctors want you OUT of their office and living your life normally again. Stop being a passive rider in your road to health. You can do better, and sometimes you just have to get in the front seat and drive the car yourself!
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