Today we’re diving a bit deeper into the stomach, intestines, and the ileocecal valve. So often “random” symptoms of nausea, weakness or pain are really the result of very common and very “fixable” malfunctions in the gut.
In short, our digestive tracts have numerous valves that keep intestinal material moving in the correct direction. That way, you don’t have partially digested food moving up from your stomach back into your esophagus, or from your large intestine back into your small intestine, or from your colon back into your intestine.
When the valves malfunction and get stuck open or closed, a lot of really uncomfortable symptoms can show up (such as nausea, weakness, and pain, among others). And most of the time, the valves can be brought back into normal function with manual therapy/massage coupled with a healthy diet.
Let’s look at one valve in particular that can cause a lot of distress for people, the Ileocecal Valve. This is the valve between your small and large intestine and it is often called the “great mimicker” because it’s malfunction can cause so many diverse symptoms.
Illustration thanks to dream designs at freedigitalphotos.net.
For example, when the valve gets stuck CLOSED you can have symptoms like slow bowels or outright constipation, bad breath, as well as a hard time getting going in the morning.
When the Ileocecal Valve gets stuck OPEN, there are a huge number of symptoms that can show up from fatigue once you’re up and going in the morning, loose stool, dehydration, right shoulder pain, and joint swelling to fibromyalgia, tinnitus, and flu-like symptoms including nausea and body aches. And these are just some of the possible symptoms!
So how do we get this little valve working properly again?
If you’re working with the Recover Program, you have likely already brought your IC valve back into health. The technique is very simple – but it can take some maintenance work if it has been malfunctioning for a while.
Also, please remember that it will continue to malfunction if it is a part of a larger pattern of misaligned or painful tissue – so sometimes only working the valve will not be enough to bring it back into full function. Your whole belly really needs to be on board for full resolution.
That said, here are three awesome, and short, videos that will help you know whether your Ileocecal Valve (ICV) is stuck and a very simple and direct way to release it back into function.
This first video shows the simple diagnostic technique as well as the simple treatment:
This second video is great because she really brings the simple treatment of it into everyday life. Plus, she just seems so sweet:
This video is an alternative way of working with the valve that I like quite a lot because I think it is overall more effective, especially if you’re just starting out – though I work with my own valve standing up a lot, too.
Good luck with your ICV work and let me know how it goes. And if you’re ready to really take the next step into excellent belly health, head on over to the Recover Program!
- Isabel Spradlin is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and abdominal adhesion specialist in Portland, OR. She specializes in educating people about manual treatment (massage) for abdominal pain and dysfunction, especially when it is adhesion related. Please see the "Programs" page to see her offerings.