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, fascia and skeletal structures 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 some 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 no obvious restriction in the joint. For example a person may present with knee pain and still have good knee movement. Consideration of visceral relationships may prove useful in this case as restriction in the descending colon, or the kidney can affect neurovascular structures to the lower leg, that irritate the large hip flexor muscles causing pain in the knee capsule. Gentle articulation of the organ and fascial attachments can bring relief from pain.
As part of this approach Osteopaths use precise listening with the hands to locate specific areas of primary tension in the viscera and fascial system.
Visceral manipulation may improve mobility between organs and inherent motility of the organs, and may improve digestive function and help conditions such as reflux, pelvic pain and headaches.