Adhesions and Daily Life #3 – Bowel Obstructions and Pain Flares

Transcript of Video:

We are continuing our series on abdominal adhesions in daily life.  This is for those who are prone to bowel obstructions or flares of pain or discomfort in their belly.  We’re looking closely at when to use this technique, as well as what, exactly, the technique is.

The simple technique I show in the video is not recommended during an active inflammation flare with conditions such as Crohn’s or IBS.

But if you’re prone to obstructions/flares and you’re wondering how to get ahead of them so they don’t take such a toll on you, so that you can start to get a hold on them before they get a hold on you, then this is a really great, very simple technique to help you do that.

Very quickly, when bowel obstructions start it can be for various reasons.  Some people are sensitive to certain foods.  The gut inflammation caused by eating that food can slow down the digestive process resulting in a bowel obstruction – that’s one way that happens.  Another way that bowel obstructions can happen is through that spider-webby type of adhesion that’s pulling on an intestinal loop and maybe kinking it a little bit or disallowing the food or material to pass through as easily as it could otherwise.

So, what I show you at the 6:30 mark in the video works no matter what is causing the potential bowel obstruction or flare.

Now, one of the things that I need to say about this very simple technique is that you do want to be able to use this before you ramp into the full pain or debilitation of a bowel obstruction or flare.  So, once you’re in that extreme pain or deep discomfort state, this technique probably won’t help.  I haven’t necessarily ever seen it make things worse, but usually by the time you’re well into the obstruction or pain, it simply won’t work.

Also, in order for this to work as well as possible, it helps to be very aware of what is happening in your body.  Pay attention to those first, very initial signs that something is not quite right.  If you are somebody who has been to the ER, often multiple times, for a bowel obstruction or if you’ve experienced the symptoms of a flare often enough (even if they haven’t taken you to the ER) . . . you generally have some sort of indication of when it’s all starting.

Now, that indication might not be a clear “Bowel Obstruction Starting!” type of thing.  Often times it’s a question, a wondering, “Is this an obstruction or flare starting?” And then the fear or dread can kick in, naturally.  (You don’t have to fight that off.)  But in that moment when you start to wonder about it, THAT is the moment to start using this technique.

So, what is the technique?

If you’ve been following my work or this blog long enough you know that I am a huge proponent of regular work (self-massage) on your belly.  That is because doing regular work on yourself gives you information about how your belly feels throughout the day, week, or month.

So, hopefully you’re already addressing your belly with your hands at least occasionally.  Having that information, that experience with your belly is going to help you with this technique.

Many people who come and talk to me about bowel obstructions already have a sense of where their obstructions or flares tend to show up in their belly . . . whether that’s below their left ribcage, or low on the right side of their belly.  Most of us have a sense of where it tends to start.

But sometimes it’s really random and the pain or discomfort will start in an entirely new area.  It’s ok if that triggers some fear or new questions. But this is where it can really help to already know your body’s patterns – so that if you have this random pain crop up in a new area, you also know that once things start to build it tends to show up in possibly a different area.  That’s important information to have.

So we’re going to address this in two ways:

  1. Wherever you feel the pain, start there
  2. In spite of where the potentially new pain is, start where you know the problem usually is.

And of course, you can move back and forth between the two and/or work around the rest of your belly.

Please see the video starting at 6:30 for the demonstration of the technique.

And, as always, please let me know how this goes for you!


Author Profile

Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin
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.

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