Our subscriber Cheryl sent in a great question about IBS and diverticulosis spasm relief. Here’s what she says:

I have been diagnosed with Divitulosis and around this mass are muscles that go into spasms. As well as IBS. Is there any remedy for the muscle spasms?

Sadly I cant eat green veg, fruits or onion family. I now choose not to as I cant digest them fast [enough]. I really want to be normal :-)

The spasms are the worst, as I am a motorcycle rider...

Cheryl, we feel for you, girl. Thanks for sending in your question. This is quite a complex question and the answer probably applies to people with IBS-C (IBS with constipation) as well, so if this is you, read on…

But first, I just want to remind everyone that we are NOT doctors. So, PLEASE, if you’re having a serious problem, see your doc and don’t try to self-diagnose or self-treat using our website!

Having said that, there is quite a range of things you can do for IBS and diverticulosis spasm relief. One of the problems with spasms is figuring out what might be causing them. So, let’s look at some of the possibilities and some of the ways you might be able to prevent spasms. Then later in this post, we’ll look at some remedies for when you are having spasms.

Preventing spasms:

In the case of diverticulosis and/or constipation, when you have impacted fecal matter in the bowel, it makes it very difficult for the bowel muscles to move things along, so they could go into spasm as a result.

It’s important to stay well hydrated to soften things up down there. That means drinking H2O – that’s right – WATER. Not coffee, tea, soft drinks, alcohol, or other types of drinks that act as diuretics. (In other words, they make you pee a lot so you lose many of your nutrients.)

Now I know there are people who don’t like to drink water. If you’re one of them, it may be that you’re drinking chlorinated tap water and 1) it doesn’t taste very good, and 2) you don’t feel good after you drink it. What to do? Get a water filter, or buy some good water, or pour a pitcher of tap water and let it sit for an hour so the chlorine can evaporate.

That nasty chlorine can be very hard on your tender digestive system, so it’s best to avoid it. (Would you drink swimming pool water? No way!)

Personally, I drink filtered water and I always add mineral drops to my water for an added nutrient boost, but that’s just me.

So drinking good water is at the top of the To Do list for IBS and diverticulosis spasm relief, to help prevent spasms.

Next is to eat soluble fiber at the beginning of every meal. You can either eat some root vegetables like parsnips or carrots, or some potatoes (white or sweet), squash or pumpkin, or mushrooms. If you tolerate fruit, try banana, mango, papaya, or applesauce. Or there are various soluble fiber supplements that are great if you are out on the road on your motorcycle. (Take with water before eating.)

Soluble fiber creates a water-based gel in your intestines that helps to soften fecal matter and move it along.

Another reason your intestines might be spasming is because of food or chemical sensitivities. Chemically-based products and scents are surprisingly hard on your poor digestive system – just like chlorine – so the more you can free yourself from scented and chemical products, the easier life will be for your bowel.

In your daily life, you already have to deal with environmental toxins like exhaust fumes, so it’s wise to keep your personal care products, your laundry products, and your household cleaning products as natural as possible. (And please tell me you’re not using fabric softener – it’s one of the hardest things for your body to deal with.)

Everything you put on or near your skin gets absorbed and then your body has to work really hard to clear out anything that is a toxin.

Where does it go when it’s cleared out? Well, one of the places is the bowel which then excretes the toxin from the body, hopefully. So you don’t want to be wearing products that are going to end up down there for processing when you’re already having digestive trouble.

Along these same lines, Dr. Balch points out that you would want to avoid smoking.

If you have constipation or diverticulosis, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that these conditions are linked to stress. If you have the No IBS Program, you can use the tapping process you learned in it to address any physical or emotional stresses you’re feeling. If you don’t already have the Program, we have a low-priced ebook that will teach you the skills you need to reduce your stress levels. (Sorry if this sounds like a bit of an advertisement but, come on guys, teaching people about tapping is what we do for a living!)

Or you can look at our blog posts on anxiety and use the information in them to help reduce your stress levels. (That info is how I reduced my own stress and anxiety.)

Another way to get things moving in your intestines is to bounce gently on a rebounder or mini-trampoline. This gives you a slight anti-gravity effect that helps to shift what’s stuck.

Okay, so quick review of ways to help prevent spasms:

  • Drink good water
  • Eat soluble fiber – especially at the beginning of a meal
  • Get checked for food sensitivities
  • Avoid chemically-scented products (look for the word ‘fragrance’ on the label)
  • Don’t smoke
  • Tap away your stress and anxiety; tap on pain
  • Bounce gently on a rebounder.

 

Now, what if you already have spasms? Is there anything you can do?

Here are some remedies for IBS and diverticulosis spasm relief…

1. Strong peppermint tea. This would also help to loosen up hardened fecal matter.

2. Enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules will pass through the stomach to the intestines where they are needed. They are supposed to help relax muscles and kill pain.

3. Dr. Balch says clay tablets are helpful. I have heard anecdotally that they can help clear up bowel problems. If you have any experience with this, I would like to hear about it.

4. When you are having an attack, Balch suggests 4 tablets or capsules of charcoal to absorb trapped gas. Drink a large glass of water with them. He cautions that you should not take charcoal on a regular basis as it will absorb nutrients you need as well as the gas.

5. I wrote a whole blog post on stomach cramps a.k.a. spasms. You could try the techniques in that post: How to Stop Stomach Cramps from Stress, because even though the cramps are in your intestines not your stomach, the principle of relaxing the body is the same.

6. I would also try the Spine Rub – or ask someone to do it on me. You can find the video showing how to do it in this blog post. This is an all-around energy technique that you can apply to many types of discomfort (not just nausea and abdominal pain.)

Speaking of energy techniques, I would tap on having a spasm attack using the tapping technique in our videos, ebook and audio program.

7. Try some light and gentle abdominal massage. Massage or tap with cupped fingers lightly up the ascending colon (on the right side of the lower abdomen), across the transverse colon (across under your navel) and down the descending colon (down the left side of your lower abdomen.) Remember – be gentle. This can help gas to exit and relieve gas pains, so you might want to do it in your bedroom with the door closed.

8. Finally, here’s a suggestion that’s a bit out there in left field, but it comes from Dr. Christiane Northrup, who is a scientist and an internationally-known health author, so it’s worth a shot.

First of all, you need to realize that when you experience muscle or intestinal spasms, your nervous system is likely to be going haywire. So for IBS and diverticulosis spasm relief, getting your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems back into balance can only be helpful. But how do you do that?

Well, Dr. Northrup says (get this) that all you need to do is feel unconditional love for 30 seconds. So choose something that gives you that feeling, whether it’s your pet, your children, your new motorcycle, or whatever works for you. Feel it in your heart for 30 seconds. Put your hand over your heart, if that helps.

Dr N says if you do this five times a day (a whole 2 ½ minutes total…) you will: balance all your hormone levels, balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic functions (which is what we’re aiming for), and even out your heart rate (in a good way.) When all those parts of you are in balance, it’s a safe guess that your muscles and intestines will be a lot less likely to go into spasm. Try it and see.

That’s all for now. So, Cheryl and everyone else, please leave a comment and let us know what helped you in this blog post.

Albert Schweitzer said, “All healing is self-healing,” so whatever you can do to assist your body in healing itself is a step in the right direction.

And let’s keep the unconditional love flowing!

Karen and Kathy

P.S. If you like this content and you want more of it, sign up on the right (up near the top of this page) for updates. We’ll also send you a copy of our special report on the Top 5 Triggers of IBS, and what to do about them. It’s free!

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People in this conversation

  • Love the bit about unconditional love. I do alot of papercrafting and that can sure help. However, when a sudden pain comes on I get a "hotty" (one of those pads you heat in a microwave) and that usually does the trick. Oh and the Buscopan if the whole system goes into spasm causing nausea along with the pain. Have to say I'd rather pain to nausea anyday but I am an emetophobic too. Thanks BJ

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  • Hi BJ,

    Thanks for the tip about the hot pad - that's a great idea! I have to agree with you about pain vs nausea - I'd take pain over nausea, too. But you can do the following when you feel nauseated: have your husband - or son, if he's tall enough - do the Spine Rub on you (see #5 above.) Many people find it helps.

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  • MIriam

    My first aid for what I call 'gut cramps' is fennel seed. I always carry a small amount with me in a toothpick holder or other small pill box.

    As soon as I'm aware of the cramps, I chew on four of five fennel seeds. With a bit of water, I make 'tea' in my mouth. Relief takes about one to two minutes.

    If the cramps don't completely resolve, I take another pinch of fennel. Fennel is easy, portable and sweetens the breath too. It does help with nausea as well although I have used clove caps as an anti-emetic with great success.

    BTW make sure you have good quality fennel. If it's stale or off it tastes awful.

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  • Nancy

    So much good info, but it does get a bit overwhelming at times! A heating pad works for me. My kitten likes sleeping on it right after I turn it off! I've started taking Citrucel but haven't noticed a difference yet. I must say that I feel better when I don't eat fruit. Well, I do eat the small individual cups, but that's it. Also, quick oatmeal is easier on me than the original. Of course, with IBS all of these statements could not be true tomorrow! Thank you for trying to help us!

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  • Hi Nancy,

    You're welcome!

    Quick oatmeal lacks the extra fiber of the original and/or the fibre is already more broken down so would be easier to digest.

    I totally hear your statement "with IBS all of these statements could not be true tomorrow." That's why Kathy and I suggest using EFT tapping to release stresses and old negative experiences that your nervous system has stored (sometimes for many years!) since these are what can trigger chronic, unexplained IBS symptoms.

    Clients report that once they have cleared some of these triggers, they have a reduction in symptoms (very exciting!) You can find more info, along with the steps to take, in our ebook or in the No IBS Program, both available on the Products page.

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  • Stacey

    I have been having attacks of diverticulitis and IBS for over a year now and they seem to be getting worse. I am on Augmentin right now and having bad cramping. I have tried the peppermint drops and adjusted my diet but nothing is working. It is really affecting my life and my ability to go out. Any ideas to help me?

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  • Hi Stacey,
    Here are some thoughts from Kathy and me.

    Use EFT tapping directly on symptoms. You can learn how to tap from the videos on our site (in different blog posts) or go to our Youtube channel: NoIBSVideos. So you would tap on "Even though I have this bad cramping..." "Even though I have these attacks of diverticulitis and IBS..." "Even though I can't go out because of the cramping and spasms..."

    Also, if you have a concern or fear that eating might cause trouble for your digestion, then tapping before meals can help.

    Are you eating soluble fiber foods or supplements at the beginning of meals? You say you've adjusted your diet - have you eliminated all grains and dairy? This often helps.

    We have a blog post called "Running Back to the Bathroom when Leaving the House." I don't know if this info fits for you but it might.

    If your diet is good and you're still having trouble, I would suspect some underlying trauma.

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  • annie morgan

    As the comments seem to be about a year old, I gather this article is a re-run - and a jolly good one, too. I have terrible cramps this year - probably because I may have polyps up to my eyeballs - but was interested in the charcoal tablet advice. I use Ovol occasionally when the cramps are really bad, but recently the company seems to be making only 8-hour type gel pills. That takes away any control. The chewable types could be broken up, so I've avoided the new. I'll try and find some charcoal somewhere. Good ideas in that blog, really. Thanks.

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  • Hi Annie,
    Thanks for your comments. You could probably find the charcoal tablets in a health food store, or even online.

    BTW, I would call this article permanent information, rather than a re-run. :)

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