Follow Your Gut
by Jonathan Oldham, MSPT
In her 70 years, Dee’s back had never bothered her, until one morning as she got out of bed she noticed a pull in her right lower spine. She tried stretching, but the pain just worsened. When it
did not stop for several days, she
made an appointment with an
orthopedist. He took X-rays, but they did not show anything wrong. He
medication. When the meds did not
help after 2 weeks, she went back to the doctor. The MRI he ordered was
also normal, so the doctor suggested Pilates. By now Dee was becoming
One of many visceral techniques
quite anxious about her situation, and the pain was getting worse. She eventually made a Pilates appointment. The first Pilates visit went well. Dee was able to perform the basic introductory movements and she felt all right after the session. But the next week when she came in, she stated that she had almost canceled the appointment because she was in so much pain and she was very worried that she might never feel normal again.
Changing the Approach
I was the Pilates teacher she came to
see. I am also a physical therapist
trained in Visceral Manipulation. I
asked Dee if she would like to try the
approach of Visceral Manipulation and
she agreed. I evaluated her and found
Treating Ligaments of the Lung
restrictions in her lower abdomen where her small and large intestine intersect – an area called the cecum. After 20 minutes of gentle soft tissue work specifically releasing those restrictions, I asked Dee to stand. For the first time in months she could rise without pain. She remembered that she had had an inflammatory digestive issue about 4 months prior. The inflammation had created adhesions in her lower abdomen, and that’s where the problem began. Addressing the restrictions in the lower abdomen allowed her to resume a normal spinal position and her pain diminished significantly. She continued basic core
exercises and remained pain-free. Her anxiety was alleviated and she was able to continue Pilates successfully.
A Better Result
What felt to Dee like a musculoskeletal problem actually stemmed from tightness and pulling in her abdominal organs. Her body was protecting her organs, causing her to hold her spine in a manner that generated lower back pain and muscle spasms. When the restrictions were released, her body was able to assume its normal position, the muscles relaxed, and she was able to move comfortably. Dee felt pain in her back, but her actual problem was abdominal adhesions. This is why treating Dee’s back did not change her symptoms. The visceral system has been notoriously ignored, but is often the primary cause of pain and dysfunction. This is why we at ALTA strive to consider every aspect of the body when we evaluate our patients.
What exactly is VM –
Visceral Manipulation (VM) is a manual
therapy developed by Jean-Pierre Barral,
an Osteopath and Physical Therapist from
France. The focus of VM is on the internal
organs and their surrounding connective
tissue and supportive structures. VM
identifies decreased motion or altered
function of the organs and through gentle,
hands-on therapy, releases restrictions
and promotes normal function. VM can
also address the impact emotions may
have on organ function and pain.
Visceral Manipulation of the abdomen
ALTA will be sponsoring the Wednesday Morning Velo Endurance Ride on July 26th and we would love to see you out there. The rides starts from Amante in North Boulder. We roll out at 6:30 am and return by 8:00 am sharp. The Wednesday Morning Velo is a weekly group ride intended to foster business networking, friendships, and cycling outreach. The weekly ride is free and open to anyone who has signed the liability waiver and is experienced riding in a peloton. The Endurance group travels at 15-18 miles per hour.