Millions of Americans deal with digestive issues like constipation or uncomfortable bowel movements every year. It also tends to become more common as you get older, so if you’ve been noticing that constipation problems have started to become more frequent, it’s time to speak to a professional. You could go to your primary care provider for advice, but you can oftentimes find quicker relief by connecting with a physical therapist. In today’s blog, we explain how a physical therapist can help you manage your constipation.
Constipation And Physical Therapy
Constipation develops when waste products move too slowly through your digestive tract, which allows more water to get absorbed back into the body. This makes the stool harder, which can be harder to remove from your body. Drinking more water and staying hydrated can help to soften your bowel movements and ensure they are easier to pass, but a number of other factors also contribute to constipation that should also be monitored and adjusted as needed. Other factors that increase your constipation risk include:
- Eating a low fiber diet
- Not getting regular exercise
- Taking certain medications
Fortunately these factors are modifiable, and your physical therapist can help show you how to make some small changes that will allow for more comfortable bowel movements. Here’s a look at all the ways that a physical therapist can reduce your constipation risk.
- Pelvic Floor Exercises – Pelvic floor exercises can help to strengthen key structures and improve the function of areas that assist in the digestive process. Targeted exercises can also help to relieve muscle tension that could be slowing down digestion or making waste hard to pass. Your PT may have you perform some specific exercises or may use manual therapy to help improve your pelvic floor health.
- Posture Improvements – How you’re positioned when you’re in the bathroom and throughout the day can also affect how waste passes through your body. We can help show you how your posture can contribute to healthy bowel movements instead of making waste harder to pass.
- Dietary Improvements – We can take a closer look at your regular diet and suggest improvements or adjustments so that you’re getting enough fiber to help keep your bowel movements regular and healthy. Oftentimes this is paired with a bowel journal that helps you track what you eat each day and compare it to the health of the next few bowel movements to better see what’s working and what may be causing digestive distress.
- Destressing – Finally, stress can be a major underlying factor when it comes to constipation. Your physical therapist can help walk you through some stress management techniques to help keep stress at bay or appropriately manage it when it develops, and they can explain how breathing and relaxation techniques can also be helpful when it comes time for a bowel movement.
Although constipation risk becomes more common as you get older, that doesn’t mean you need to get used to the prospect of uncomfortable bowel movements. If you or someone you know is dealing with constipation or another bowel movement issue, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists. We’ll be happy to help get your digestive issues back on track so you can live a more comfortable life. For more information, contact our team today at (612) 339-2041.