Visceral Osteopathy

Visceral osteopathy is the least known and used form of osteopathy in New Zealand. This form of osteopathy aims to address the mechanical movements between your internal organs. The connective tissue between your muscles continues to run around and between your organs too. All of your organs have a need to move and slide over each other. Your lungs move with breathing, the heart moves when it beats, your digestive system moves when it digests food and so on. If these movements are restricted, first the organs do not function to the best of their ability, second these restrictions can also produce a non-specific ache in your musculoskeletal system. Most often patients with visceral issues come to see us because they have seen several other practitioners for their back, neck or other pain which none of them seem able to relieve.

For example within your digestive system you have a set of little valves which control the movement of food from one part of the digestive system to the next. This helps to create a well organised digestive process. If one of these valves is unable to open fully or to close fully - you get an upset in the 'scheduling' of food movement through it. The stomach is the only part of your digestive system which digests protein. So if the food moves on too fast the protein will be undigested, if it moves on too slowly, the carbohydrate content of your food will go rancid in your stomach because it is the next stage of digestion which handles carbohydrates. At times this is a mechanical restriction, other times it can be an inflammatory problem. The valves can actually swell shut if your digestive system is inflamed.

In addition to the mechanical movements of organs it may be important to consider their internal function too. For example, a patient who has a poor diet and develops irritable bowel syndrome will subsequently develop inflammation around the bowel which will restrict its movement within your abdomen. While visceral work can fix the mechanical restrictions, we would need to discuss other aspects of your lifestyle to fix the cause of your dysfunction.

Not all organ function can be assessed via visceral osteopathy. In cases where we are concerned that more complex dysfunction may be present we will co-operate with other medical professionals in order to get you additional imaging, testing or procedures as necessary.

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