A clinical investigation into the effect of spinal manipulative therapy on chronic idiopathic constipation in adults
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Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC) is a common patient complaint (Browning 1999) and as such is defined as : “Constipation” being the infrequent or difficult evacuation of faeces, “idiopathic”, denoting the condition occurs in the absence of any known cause and “chronic”, implying a problem that has persisted for a long time (Anderson 1989). It has been suggested that the bony subluxation or motion segment dysfunction in the spine, could produce these symptoms (e.g. altered visceral function) in the segmentally related visceral structures (Korr 1976, Nansel and Slazak 1995, Budgell 2000). In support of this three case reports in the literature suggest that spinal manipulative therapy to effect removal of these bony subluxations or motion segment dysfunctions, may relieve chronic idiopathic constipation (Hewitt 1993, Marko 1994, Redly 2000). However all three cases involved a single patient case analysis, where patients received spinal manipulation and a vast improvement in bowel function within three weeks of the initiation of the intervention was noted. Only one case report measured global wellbeing outcomes and was able to document a steady increase in the patient’s sense of wellbeing (Redly 2000). As a result of the above evidence in the literature, the researcher was led to the following hypotheses regarding spinal manipulation and chronic idiopathic constipation: • That spinal manipulation would affect a decrease in the subject’s abdominal pain intensity and level of constipation and an increase in the subject’s sense of wellbeing and spinal range of motion. • That placebo would affect an increase in the subject’s abdominal pain intensity and level of constipation and a decrease in the subject’s sense of wellbeing and spinal range of motion. • That spinal manipulation would be more effective than placebo in bringing about a decrease in the subject’s abdominal pain intensity and level of constipation and an increase in the subject’s sense of wellbeing and spinal range of motion.