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photo by mugley at flickrHemorrhoids: Causes and Cures

Here is how the Mayo Clinic (9/3/08) defines hemorrhoids:

“Hemorrhoids, which are also called piles, are swollen and inflamed veins in your anus and rectum. They may result from straining during a bowel movement or the increased pressure on these veins during pregnancy, among other causes.

A sometimes embarrassing topic of discussion, hemorrhoids are common. By age 50, about half of adults have had to deal with the itching, bleeding and pain that often signal the presence of hemorrhoids.

Fortunately, effective medications and procedures are readily available to treat hemorrhoids. In many cases hemorrhoids may require only self-care and lifestyle changes.”

Here is what the Mayo Clinic (9/3/08) thinks causes hemorrhoids:

“Hemorrhoids can develop from any increase in pressure in the veins in the lower rectum. Common sources of pressure and hemorrhoid causes include:

    * Constipation and the accompanying straining

    * Diarrhea and the continuous expulsion of loose stools

    * Sitting or standing for a long time, especially sitting on the toilet

    * Obesity

    * Pregnancy and childbirth

It's also possible to inherit a tendency to develop hemorrhoids.”

And now .... here is some of what Dr. Young thinks about the causes of hemorrhoids:

I remember with clarity, beginning chiropractic college at Palmer in Davenport, Iowa in 1979. I remember carpooling in those first days, with my new classmate, Mike. I also remember the story he told me when I asked him what had led him to study chiropractic.

Mike was in his twenties and had been an avid dirt bike rider for years. In his late teens, he began to experience low back pain that was worsened by the pounding of his rides. He also developed significant hemorrhoids. He did not relate the two conditions.

Mike began seeing a chiropractor for his low back pain. The spinal adjustments would immediately relieve the pain in his back. But his attention was really caught when he realized (could feel) each time as he left the chiropractor’s office that his hemorrhoids would draw up and become much more comfortable. As long as he didn’t beat up his back, the chiropractic adjustments cured his back pain and his hemorrhoids.

Finally, a bit embarrassed, Mike told his chiropractor of the unexpected benefits of his treatment. His chiropractor explained that this was a common effect of spinal adjustment of the low back. Mike was impressed and began his pre-med training so that he could enter chiropractic college.

I can tell you from my clinical experience since 1982, that adjusting the low back to restore joint mobility, can relieve hemorrhoids. It is important to note that hemorrhoids may be caused by stiffness in the low back, without the presence of low back pain.

Let’s consider more carefully, Mayo’s ideas of the causes of hemorrhoids.

There are direct connections between nerves that supply the colon, and nerves that supply the low back (viscerosomatic  and somatovisceral reflexes). Constipation and diarrhea can be caused by low back stiffness or low back pain, while low back stiffness and low back pain can be causes of constipation and diarrhea.

As everyone knows, sitting or standing for a long time can cause low back stiffness or pain.

Obesity and pregnancy obviously put pressure on the low back and can induce stiffness or pain.

Interesting! Every one of Mayo’s causes of hemorrhoids can be, and often are factors in causing stiffness or pain in the low back. Given that there is evidence that adjusting the low back to restore joint mobility and relieve pain, can relieve or resolve hemorrhoids in some patients, it is reasonable to conclude that low back dysfunction is a cause of hemorrhoids and that chiropractic adjustment of the low back is an appropriate treatment.


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