Can physical therapy help constipation?

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With time we have learned that constipation is not always due to poor diet or gastro-intestinal diseases. Like muscles and joints, our intestines can become restricted limiting normal mobility along the spine and extremities. Simple movements like bending down, reaching overhead or even taking deep breaths can be burdened by these restrictions.

Additionally, if there is a restriction throughout the gastro-intestinal tract, this may result in decreased bowel motility despite attempts at changing diet and/or lifestyle.
A thorough evaluation by a skilled manual physical therapist (CFMT) can help identify
these restrictions and treat them accordingly. For example if there is an adherence of the descending colon or rectum, skillful release of these tissues with functional mobilizations of the trunk and/or extremities would not only allow proper localization of the restriction but would restore mobility. This would likely result in bowel movements with
decreased strain and increased transit time. Your PT would educate you on performing self-mobilizations to further help with maintaining your motility. It is important to stress that adequate water, proper diet and overall stress management will play a major role in obtaining optimal results with physical therapy.
-Flora I. Cohen, DPT, CMFT

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