Tools of the Trade: Visceral/Organ Treatment

I’ve mentioned in earlier writings that there are areas of the body quite far away from the symptom area that could be the cause of the symptoms.  One of the most common findings is that there is an organ such as the intestines or liver that is out of proper position causing joint pain.  Let me explain.

Everyone knows that each joint in the body has a specific range of motion.  The knee joint moves forward and back, the ankle makes circles, the jaw moves up and down, etc.  Each of these joints can only move so far though.  This is the “range” of motion.

What needs to be understood is that each organ, just like each joint, has a range of motion.  For example, the pancreas rolls forward and back, the lungs rotate outwards like cylinders, and the small intestines rotate left and right like the face of a clock.   Every single organ has a very specific movement because of the way it is attached to the body.  The ligaments that hold the organ in place also create the axis at which the organ can move.  Picture the handle of a pail.  Because of the way the handle attaches at both sides of the pail, it allows a swinging motion of the pail forward and back, similar to the knee joint.  Using that example, the liver has two ligament attachments on either side of it connecting it to the diaphragm called the “triangular ligaments”, so guess how the liver moves?  Exactly, just like the pail.  But, because there are also attachments from the liver to the stomach beside it, it also does a little side bending motion at the same time.  You can picture that, can’t you.

Now imagine if someone were playing a sport like hockey and were checked into the boards on their right side.  That liver would be taking a huge impact since it sits just inside the lower right rib cage.  The ligaments that hold the liver in place can be sprained and strained, just like any other ligaments.  The ligaments get very tight, and begin to hold the liver in the wrong position.  You can see where this is going.  This is where visceral/organ techniques come into play, and are literally life changing.  Correcting the position and movement of the organs dramatically effects how well the person is living.

Picture a car accident.  You don’t feel it at first, but the next few days are very painful, and sometimes you just never feel quite the same.  Picture the seat belt.  Picture the way it crosses your chest and across your abdomen.  Now, imagine the force on the lungs, heart, stomach, liver, intestines when you are in an accident.  Literally every organ receives some impact in a car accident.  Now, this is much better than no seat belt at all obviously.  But the seat belt can cause organs to be shifted out of place and visceral ligament to be sprained and strained.

Another example is a case of “hiatus hernia”.  This is when a piece of the upper stomach is caught in the diaphragm.  I can’t tell you how many successful cases of hiatus hernia I have treated using visceral techniques.  No more heart burn, no more indigestion, and best of all, no surgery!

The last example I will leave you with is one that still astounds even me.  You see, through my studies professors would tell us that by correcting the position of the organs, you will help the body to balance itself hormonally.  Many of the organs produce or synthesize hormones, so sure, this made sense, but I didn’t understand the amount of influence I could make until I stated using these techniques in my practice.  I have helped women with menopause by dramatically cutting down their hot flashes from 8-10 a day to 1-2 a day, I have helped extreme migraine cases where hormonal imbalance was the cause, and I have even helped women become pregnant who never thought they could by correcting the position and motion of the uterus and reproductive system.  This is by far the greatest gift Osteopathy has given me, and it has turned into a passion.

Simply put, Visceral Techniques are extremely safe and gentle, yet yield powerful results in every patient.  It is often the cause of joint pain, internal dis-ease, and hormonal imbalance.

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Jason Brandow, BSc TR, CST
Osteopathy Current Study & Thesis Writer