The Ileo-cecal valve syndrome

Natural relief of mild abdominal pain. Natural relief of mild abdominal bloating. Possible causes of unexplained musculo-skeletal pain. Pain of unknown origin may be referred pain. Food that may cause muscular aches and pain of unknown origin. Referred pain from organs. Ileo-cecal valve irritation. Possible cause of pain in right side of abdomen. Elbow pain. Shoulder pain. Foot pain. Mid back pain. Lower back pain.

The Ileo-cecal valve syndrome

Explains what the ileo-cecal valve syndrome is and how this problem can cause referred pain to other areas of the body, especially muscles or joints. A must read for people who have unexplained pain that does not respond to treatment.

This knowledge and understanding could be very revealing to you. One lady called three months after speaking to Dr Read and her comments were:”I don’t know if it is because I stopped eating the foods you told me to avoid or not, but the fact is that my shoulder pain has gone and I feel heaps better!”

The ileo-cecal valve syndrome

A syndrome is a collection of symptoms associated to a common cause. The ileo-cecal valve syndrome is the one I encounter most frequently. It occurs very often in people who think they are eating healthy diets, full of fibre, raw vegetables and fruit, nuts, oats including porridge, whole grain foods.

Location of the referred pain

Diagram showing areas of referred pain:

Referred pain from irritated Ileo cecal valve

The more of these symptoms you are experiencing, the more severe the ileo-cecal valve problem and the longer it will take to clear it from your system.

Lower back ache: at the very bottom of your spine, often radiating across the whole lower back, sometimes reaching the top of your hips.

It feels like a dragging pain, almost like a dull toothache It is not relieved by a change in position such as leaning forward, leaning back, lying flat or increased movement as in walking or exercising.

It seems to come and go in no set pattern, although the more you understand the cause of it, the more you will be able to associate it with the intake of certain foods.

Bloating: in particular after a meal. Although this is not exactly a referred pain, it is the next most common symptom of ileo-cecal valve syndrome.The bloating can go from a slight discomfort – an uncomfortable full feeling after eating – to bloating so severe as to remain a permanent feature mimicking fat. You may find it difficult to lose weight until you address your ileo-cecal valve problems.  Many people have to loosen the waistband on their clothes after meals.

Neck ache: in my practice and personally, I have found that unless there has been obvious trauma to the neck (whiplash, fall, injury during exercise or sporting activities) most neck pain is caused by digestive problems. This neck pain is often explained as ‘sleeping the wrong way’ or ‘my pillow just isn’t right for me’.

Shoulder and elbow pain: this is more often found on the right side but can also be on either side. Tennis elbow in people who don’t play tennis is a typical case of ileo-cecal valve referred pain.

Headaches: especially those associated with neck ache. The headache is often a dull ache around the forehead; other times it is of unspecific i.e. it can feel like the whole head is involved or the pain moves around. It resembles the headache you have when very constipated, a sort of toxic feeling. It doesn’t incapacitate you like a migraine does, but you do feel awful and it makes you irritable and impatient. Sometimes it feels like a heavy feeling. It comes and goes depending on how upset your ileo-cecal valve is at the time.

Tummy aches: malfunction of the ileo-cecal valve causes a back up of food in the small intestine. This can result in a tummy ache, usually in the lower part of the abdomen. A light massage over the area clockwise, i.e. from the left side of the abdomen to the right side, can help. There is sometimes pain at the ileo-cecal valve location

False diagnoses

Ileo-cecal valve irritation may be mistaken for a grumbling appendix or an ovarian cyst.


Ileo-cecal valve pain may be mistaken for a ‘grumbling appendix’. Pain in the appendix may be part of the problem so please have a doctor check you thoroughly. Do not self diagnose!

Ovarian cyst

The location of the right ovary is quite close to the ileo-cecal valve. An ovarian cyst often gives sharp pains at ovulation time in the area of the ovary. So please have your doctor check this out thoroughly too.

Foods that may irritate the ileo-cecal valve

Nuts, vegetables that cause intestinal gas such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onions; raw vegetables such as carrots, onions, red and green peppers; spices such as curry or chili; porridge; oats including in muesli, whole grain bread; raw fruit of any kind. Avoid all of these in your recovery time.

Recommended diet

Cooked and mashed vegetables such as pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, silver beet, spinach; cooked semolina; cooked fruit. Nothing raw. Follow food combining principles of eating carbohydrates and protein at different meals, eat fruit away from main meals, and never eat melon with any other food.

Other treatments

Gentle chiropractic or osteopathic treatment and massage may help the muscles and joints return to a state of health. Use Simply Flower Power Pain Relief & Moisturising Cream for temporary relief of severe pain.

The most important step is to change your diet!

NB: This article is written following personal and clinical observations. No self-diagnosis should be made after reading it. Always consult your health care practitioner for proper investigation, diagnosis and recommended treatment.

© Jessica Read 2011