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Relieve constipation through chewing
Keeping the gut “moving” can be challenging, for ANYONE.
Bung ups, lead to bloating, gas and pain aka. CONSTIPATION.
For someone with a spinal injury, it’s EVEN more challenging to get the gut “moving”, since the nether regions don’t do much movement period. So expecting the colon to jiggle along nicely, is somewhat optimistic.
42 – 81 % of people with a spinal cord injury are constipated.
And getting relief, using traditional approaches, more often than not, doesn’t work.
You may be asking, so what ?
That’s not me.
Helping the tough nuts
Maybe not, but something that works for this group of people, “the tough nuts”, could help, EVERYONE. This was the thinking of a team of researchers, based at the Isfahan University of Medical Science.
They reached out to patients attending a rehabilitation centre, in the city of “Shahr-e Kord”, in central Iran. All of the patients had a spinal cord injury, they had been injured at least 2 years earlier, the site of their injuries, varied, across the length of their spine’s.
Pretty much all of them had pooping problems.
Some more than others.
Mindful of the fact that moving the nether regions was a problem, the team contemplated the biology behind the wiring of the digestive tract.
Now the big player in moving the gut, is the parasympathetic nervous system, nicknamed THE FEED AND BREED arm, of the autonomic nervous system.
More vagus = better digestion
So at the end of the day, getting the gut moving, hinges on firing up, the vagus nerve (this is the main branch of the parasympathetic nervous system).
Now, this can be achieved in multiple ways.
But for the stressed out and chronic sitters, it is NOT so easy.
That said, this is biology and there is always, more than one way, to skin a cat.
The face and mouth are packed with nerves.
The big player here, is the trigeminal sensory nerve, also known as cranial nerve 5.
It is distributed under the skin of the face and in the mouth and nose. It is responsible for conscious sensation in the head and neck area, helping you sense, among other things pain and temperature.
It’s NOT connected to the vagus nerve, but could the wires cross ?
The team hypothesized that
Jjiggling the nerve endings in your mouth, would jiggle the nerves in the nether regions.
Potentially popping a poop out.
So they prescribed regular mouth jiggling, to the patients attending the rehab clinic. Mouth jiggling was achieved, through the use of a traditional wooden tooth brush.
This was a culturally appropriate approach.…
The toothbrush of Mecca
Before the invention of the modern plastic toothbrush, people kept their teeth in tip top shape, by chewing on pieces of wood. It is an approach still used in the Middle East today.
The way that it works, the tannins buried inside the soft woody parts of the stick, are released into the mouth, when the stick is chewed.
These tannins, have
- anti-mouth odour and
- anti-inflammatory properties,
facilitating good oral health.
Around the world different shrubs have served the purpose. In this neck of the woods, the brushes come from Salvadora persica.
Chewing away constipation
The volunteers were issued with a Salvadora wooden tooth brush, and received instruction on how to use their brush correctly and they were encouraged to use it, twice a day, for 5 minutes, immediately after breakfast and dinner.
6 weeks later, the team checked up in on their levels of constipation….
And with no exceptions, things had improved.
Here are the results…
Chewing MOVES the colon
Thanks to the wire cross, which is believed to happens at the MLF (Medial Longitudinal Fasciculus), a bout of serious chewing, can, give a colon a kick in the pants,
Helping to get the poop out and relieve constipation.
So the secret is overcoming constipation is chewing…………
Chew away your constipation
Now, don’t panic, chewing more, does not require you to chew a piece of wood….
Although if you’re up to it, it might be quite a hoot. You will need to shop around, to get your hands on a wooden toothbrush or two, but they are available in the West. And they are able to clean your teeth. Several scientific studies have validated their utility as toothbrushes.
But, if you’re not the wooden toothbrush kind of person, you could chew any number of things
- a raw carrot,
- a handful of nuts
- a piece of jerky (biltong) or
- a stick of chewing gum.
The point is to CHEW on something…..
The forgotten art of chewing
The overall requirement, you need to give your jaw a work out, particularly around breakfast time.
Unfortunately, most modern breakfasts (and many lunches & dinners), can be consumed with little to no chewing. It’s one of the side effects of food processing – foods are good to go, so they can slip down, with little to no chewing. Eish !
And if goes without saying, if all breakfast is, is “a cup of Joe”, clearly zero chewing is expected !
Why early morning ?
Early mornings are made for pooping
When you wake up, so should your colon…..
Now since your colon doesn’t actually get to see the sun, it’s signal for waking come from you.
A good chew, acts as an alarm clock for your colon, signalling the dawn of a new day and the need to clear out yesterday’s waste, with a good poop.
It’s not a misprint – a high fibre diet makes constipation worse, not better, because the fibre bulk up the stool and more stool can’t slip out, it’s TOO BIG
After surgery, your gut can take a while to wake up delaying your discharge from the hospital. To solve postoperative ileus you need to chew on it.
Make an effort to grind, gnaw, chomp and squash that mouthful before swallowing, doing so ensures the brain gets the “I am full” message loud and clear.