This treatment approach recognises that internal organs and surrounding tissues are very connected to the rest of your body, mechanically through ligaments and connective tissue, chemically (blood and nutrients) and through the nervous system.
The visceral approach considers the quality of movements between internal organs in order to treat back, neck and other joint problems. Treatment aims to improve the movement of internal organs between each other. and to the muscles and skeletal to which they relate.
Osteopaths work predominantly with the musculo- skeletal system to find and treat the source of pain.
As well as looking at the mechanical aspects of a physical problem osteopaths may consider relationships with the viscera as a cause.
Connection between the viscera and musculo-skeletal system can be through proximity, fascial connection, common nerve supply, drainage of blood or lymph or due to pathology of the organ.
Visceral manipulation may be used by osteopaths to treat musculo- skeletal problems where there is not obvious restriction in the joint.
An example is a patient who has knee pain with normal range of motion of the joint. Restriction in the descending colon, or the kidney can affect neurovascular structures to the lower leg, and irritate the large hip flexor muscle causing pain in the knee capsule. Gentle articulation of the organ and fascial attachments can bring relief from pain.
Osteopaths use gentle listening skills with the hand to locate areas of tension in the viscera and fascial system.
Visceral manipulation may improve motility of the organs, and secretion of fluids improving functions such as digestion and may help conditions such as reflux, pelvic pain and headaches.