"A woman in her early thirties came to me with complaints of low back pain, digestive problems and painful menstruation. During the evaluation, I became very interested in the soft tissues of her pelvic bowl. It turns out that at the age of 12, she had surgery to repair a hernia. Scar tissue had formed which impacted the mobility of the intestines and right ovary. This restriction created abnormal fascial and muscular tensions within the abdomen and pelvic bowl causing misalignment of the spine and hip. All her symptoms were linked back to this scar tissue from surgery at age 12. By releasing the scar tissue and enabling the viscera to move properly, her symptoms abated."
The viscera relates to the internal organs of the body, such as the liver, kidneys and intestines. Visceral Manipulation (VM) is a gentle manual therapy that aids our body's ability to release restrictions and unhealthy compensations that cause pain and dysfunction. VM does not focus solely on the site of pain or dysfunction, but evaluates the entire body to find the source of the problem. We feel for the altered or decreased motion within the viscera, as well as restrictive problems throughout the body and then apply VM techniques. VM therapy reestablishes the body's ability to adapt and restore itself to health.
The organs are in perpetual motion. When we breathe, walk and stretch our organs move in the chest and abdomen. For example, when we take a breath, the kidneys more one inch; and with deep inhalation, they move 4 inches. In a day, they move over 1/2 mile. That's around 19,000 miles in a lifetime!
This movement of our organs is transmitted through fascia to other structures of the body. When we are healthy, all the structures move with fluidity. This movement is important as it influences activities throughout the body, from the tiniest cellular pulsations to the rhythmic contractions of the heart and blood flow. Optimum health relies on this harmonious relationship.
However, organs can lose mobility due to physical trauma, surgery, lifestyle, infection, pollution, diet, posture, pregnancy and such. When an organ is restricted and fixed to another structure, the body is forced to compensate. This creates abnormal points of tension and chronic irritation, giving way to functional and structural problems throughout the body.
Imagine scar tissue around the lungs. Every breath requires movement, but the scar tissues alters the normal pattern. This could shift rib movement creating pulls on the spine resulting in mid back pain and neck pain and limit shoulder movement. This scenario highlights just one of hundreds of possible ramifications of a small dysfunction - magnified by thousands of repetitions each day. This also explains how pain can often be far removed from the actual cause.