Why does my chiropractor care about my bladder?
“Why does my chiropractor care about my bladder? ” Recently while taking a history from a new patient, which included a review of various body functions, including bowel and bladder movements, the patient wondered aloud, “ I’m here for my back why do you care about my bowel and bladder movements”?
On the surface it may seem like an odd question from one who’s known for dealing with back, neck and other musculoskeletal conditions, but there’s a very good explanation , I swear.
Most lower back pain is what’s termed Non-specific Mechanical back pain. This type of back pain is very common and most of us will experience it at some point throughout our lifetime. This type of back pain is typically an injury to any one or more of lower back muscles, joints or ligaments. Here there is no involvement of the spinal discs or nerve involvement.
In some cases as I’ve described in previous blogs, the injury is to one of the spinal discs, or intervertebral discs. Infrequently one of these disc injuries causes compression to nerves that control sphincter muscles (muscles that open/close) of the bladder and bowel. This complication called “ Cauda Equina Syndrome” occurs in only 1-3% of disc injuries, mostly to men in their 40s or 50s who have had a history of chronic low back pain or who were born with a narrow spinal canal.
Thus this syndrome if present with lower back pain may produce symptoms related to bowel and bladder function and numbness in the saddle area ( the area of your body that would touch a saddle if you were riding a horse). Bladder symptoms could be things like, inability to stop or start a urine stream, the feeling of urgency for urination or incomplete bladder emptying. Bowel symptoms might include constipation, loss of bowel control or inability to feel when you need to move the bowel or that you have already moved your bowel.
This syndrome is a medical emergency and requires immediate surgery and even if a surgical intervention is performed some of the damage to the nerves may be permanent.
So there you have it, a pretty good reason for a chiropractor to be concerned about your bowel and bladder habits.
For more educational blogs not necessarily about bowel function go to www.drkevinfinn.ca