Pain in the spinal column that leads a patient to consult an osteopath can be related to an issue involving an internal organ. This type of pain, which can be localized in the lower back, between the shoulder blades, in the neck or in the head, is referred to as viscerosomatic.
Let’s take the liver as an example. Given that this organ is attached to the diaphragm, it moves in relation to the breath. On the inhalation, it curves forward, tilts to the right and rotates to the left. On the exhalation, it does the opposite. If the liver is damaged, these movements may be disrupted and the organ’s various connections are no longer used in the same way, which in turn leads to injuries to other structures.
The diaphragm is, in fact, attached to the last six ribs and the corresponding thoracic vertebrae. Given that the liver is located to the right of the thorax, the ribs on that side can be limited in their movement. Breathing becomes asymmetrical and functional movements (bending forward, picking up an object, getting dressed) become disrupted, which increases the risk of injury.
Even though the patient will present with pain in his or her ribs and thoracic vertebrae, the best approach for the osteopath would be to first normalize the position and mobility of the liver. The osteopath can then improve the mobility of the vertebrae and the ribs in order to alleviate the symptoms and avoid a relapse.
In our practice, we regularly notice the importance of issues involving internal organs and the treatment options are becoming more effective and more efficient.