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Getting to the Root Cause of Gastroparesis (Stomach + GI Issues)

Updated Apr 23, 2024

Table Of Content

While ‘Gastroparesis’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue as a commonly known pediatric health condition, it’s one that is an absolute nightmare for kids who’ve been diagnosed with it… and for parents looking for hope, answers, and help to get it resolved!

Chances are, a parent with a child that is struggling with Gastroparesis has most likely scoured the internet, seen multiple doctors, and tried all sorts of natural treatments on their own to try and get this better because it is a heck of a challenge. 

Gastroparesis – the medical word for it – is underdiagnosed. A lot more kids have this challenge by technical name than most parents and doctors even know. So we’re going to dig into the science and neurology behind Gastroparesis. It’s a neurological, neuromuscular condition. We’ll get to the cause and what you can do to help your child if you think they are struggling with this.  


Gastroparesis, by definition, is slowed or delayed emptying of the stomach. Peristalsis is the word for the movement of the digestive system. The way God designed us is that our gut, including our esophagus, stomach, intestines, and colon if put all together, every single bit of those tissues are muscles. They’re what’s called smooth muscles by anatomical definition and smooth muscles are muscles we cannot control. They are muscles your kiddo cannot control. Everything with Gastroparesis is supposed to run on autopilot via the autonomic or central nervous system. 

Once food hits the stomach, a nerve called the vagus nerve runs the show. The vagus nerve is a sensory nerve and has all kinds of satellites and sensory receptors in the gut. The vagus nerve goes all the way down into the intestine, but it definitely runs the show with the stomach. When food hits the stomach, the vagus nerve is supposed to be able to receive those signals and send the message to the brain to stimulate the muscles. 

The delayed emptying is really a vagus nerve disorder or dysfunction. The vagus nerve is a sensory nerve that then controls motor function because these autonomic muscles don’t know to trigger or move unless there’s a sensory to then trigger the motor for that. The vagus nerve is supposed to go through the neuro-spinal sensory system, which is actually done through our spine, spinal cord, and central nervous system. The hub of the central and autonomic nervous system is running through the neuro-spinal sensory system. That’s what makes this conversation so amenable to neurologically focused, pediatric chiropractors.

That neuro-spinal system is our area of expertise. Now we love other practitioners – we work with pediatricians, holistic doctors, nutritionists, OTs, and PTs, and they each have their specialty based on education and focus. Ours is this. No one holds a candle to us in understanding the central autonomic and neuro-spinal systems.

A subluxation, which is an interference in the neuromuscular system, can cause incoordination if it disrupts neurological communication. Now the peristalsis or movement is not happening in a coordinated fashion – instead, it’s slowed or stopped altogether due to the subluxation, which is interfering with the neurological, neuromuscular communication that is supposed to run on autopilot. 

Subluxation is a catchall word for stuck and it shifts the nervous system into fight or flight, sympathetic dominance. And it can also come from sympathetic fight or flight dominance. 


What may have caused this subluxation in the first place? The two top triggers that we see are birth intervention or birth trauma to the neck via forceps, vacuum extraction, or C-section. Any sort of birth intervention can really wreak havoc on the brain stem, and neuro-spinal system, and interfere with the vagus nerve. Early on, birth trauma can look like colic, reflux, indigestion, constipation, or fussiness, and then they grow into a neuromuscular gut disorder. Then when a child receives the scopes and testing, they may get diagnosed with Gastroparesis. 

Now, the nervous system doesn’t work via chemistry, the nervous system works via sensory-motor communication, and if subluxation is there, then your child is going to have that delayed emptying, uncoordinated neurological function. So it may fit the medical criteria of Gastroparesis, but medicine doesn’t have a lot of helpful treatments because medicine is not in the business of neurology. They’re in the business of chemistry, pharmacology, and so forth. 

Because this isn’t a chemical problem, it’s a neuromuscular problem, those in the physical, neuro-spinal realm, like pediatric chiropractors, can make all the difference. 


The first thing you want to do is make an appointment with a neurological-focused pediatric chiropractor who will run neuromuscular and dysautonomia scans. We can find where that subluxation and vagus nerve interference has set up shop. What that allows us to do is find it, quantify it, see how bad it is, and then target and locate it with our adjustments. These are so safe, gentle, and effective at getting stress off the nervous system and getting the autonomic and vagus nerve function back online.

The incredible thing about our INSiGHT scans is not only can we find the problem, but we can also track it. We run them every two to four weeks as kiddos go through their drug-free, neurologically focused chiropractic care plan and we can see we’re making real, actual neurophysiological changes and improvements to the child’s nervous system so that the change we provide with chiropractic is long-lasting. This is unlike short-term relief, which is the case with so many indigestion medications or medical moves.


I want to finish with a very important point of clarification – we don’t treat or cure anything.  We don’t really have anything to do with the condition – but everything to do with the cause of the condition. We don’t chase symptoms or treat conditions, we dig deep with families into their case histories. What are genetics like? Was there a birth trauma? Was there colic? Were there signs that we know can lead to a Perfect Storm that can cause Gastroparesis and all sorts of other challenges from that? We get to the actual cause, we work through the nervous system to change and improve its coordination and communication.

When God designed us, he made the nervous system the boss of the body. The nervous system is the mom of the entire neurophysiological system. It runs the gut, immune system, our emotions, and sleep, it runs everything. So we are doctors of the nervous system in a functional way.

I only bring the diagnosis into this video so that those of you who are looking for hope, answers, and help for your child’s Gastroparesis can find it.

Give a neurologically focused chiropractor that shot to find the answers, cause, and most importantly, action steps to get your child’s nervous system to relax and improve its function. We have all the healing we need on the inside, we just need to make sure there’s no interference to its function.

Visit our directory to find a PX Doc local to you that has all the technology, training, and ability to get to the root cause of what is going on. Help your child with that missing link to Gastroparesis and chronic gut issues. God bless and be well.

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