The Digestion Connection

The following situation is a very common occurrence in our office: A woman comes in for an initial consultation, and we discover that she has been dealing with chronic digestive issues (like IBS, heartburn, or GERD) for years as well as stress, anxiety, and depression. She is fed up with taking all kinds of medications to cover up the symptoms and is looking for an answer to the cause of her problems. After a detailed examination, we find that there is an issue with how her nervous system is functioning – particularly in the upper neck area. After a series of adjustments to correct this misalignment, she starts to see improvement in her digestive issues along with the anxiety and depression she has been suffering from. She begins to start enjoying life again instead of constantly suffering.

Now, you may be asking – what’s the connection here? What does the nervous system have to do with digestion? Great question!

The gastrointestinal tract is highly innervated (meaning it has a large nerve supply) and it is under the control of two parts of the nervous system – the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions. The sympathetic division is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response and causes digestion to slow. If your body is in a chronic stress state, constipation is a common issue. On the other hand, if your parasympathetic nervous system is over active, that can lead to an excessive stimulation of digestion (diarrhea). A delicate balance is needed between these two divisions to ensure proper digestive system function.

The brain stem and Vagus nerve are the main areas responsible for this delicate balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the nervous system. Misalignments in the upper neck can cause dysfunction in the brain stem and Vagus nerve, leading to many problems including digestive issues. There have also been many studies showing a correlation between digestive issues and emotional disorders like depression and anxiety.

So if this is the case for you, or someone you know, please have your nervous system tested to see if this is the missing link to the answers you have been searching for!


“Before starting chiropractic care, I was taking several different medications for stomach issues. I have been under care for 7 months and I am almost completely off all the medications. I also have more energy than I used to. Thanks to Dr. Niki and Dr. Bethany for the excellent care.” – Marcia C. 

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