Millions of people suffer from chronic pain. Some of the more common chronic pain complaints include lower back pain, severe headache or migraine pain, neck pain, and facial aches or pains.
In a previous article, I wrote about back pain and how this is a common problem that doesn’t have to be a common part of living. In the article, I discussed how safer alternative treatment options such as visceral manipulation therapy can be used to reduce or eliminate pain and inflammation while helping to improve your overall function and repair your tissue.
Visceral manipulation is an extremely gentle manual therapy and it is designed to release restrictions and unhealthy compensations that may cause physical pain and dysfunction. Gentle compression, mobilization, and elongation of the soft tissues are involved during a visceral manipulation session.
Visceral manipulation, however, doesn’t just have to be for back pain. Conditions that can benefit from visceral manipulation include:
Acute Disorders: Whiplash, concussion, chest or abdominal sports injuries, seatbelt injuries, traumatic brain injuries
Musculoskeletal Disorders: Headaches and migraines, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic spinal dysfunction, peripheral joint pain
Emotional Issues: Anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Women’s and Men’s Health Issues: Fibroids and cysts, chronic pelvic pain, bladder incontinence, endometriosis, effects of menopause
Pediatric Issues: Constipation and gastritis, infant colic, persistent vomiting, vesicoureteral reflex
Pain Related To: Post-infection scar tissue, Post-operative scar tissue, autonomic mechanisms
Another treatment option that can help with many of these issues and disorders is neural manipulation.
The originator of both visceral manipulation and neural manipulation is Jean-Pierre Barral, a French Osteopath, and Registered Physical Therapist. Where visceral manipulation focuses on manual therapy on the organs, neural manipulation focuses on the nervous system. This includes the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.
If your nervous system isn’t functioning properly, you may suffer from pain or loss of function in an area of the body – let’s say your eye or jaw. Neural manipulation works by identifying “local nerve restrictions and fixation.”
Similar to visceral manipulation, beneath the pain or complication there is a pattern that can present itself in the body. Through trauma, a nerve can become dysfunctional, which means that it can’t move freely with its surroundings like it normally should. Eventually, this can lead to wider spread areas of disharmony in your body, which can cause structural and functional problems over time.
A neural manipulation therapist will look for these areas of dysfunction and with proper treatment, he or she will help to restore your body back to optimal. This is done by focusing on re-establishing communication in the body and improving your ability to adapt and restore.
Similar to visceral manipulation, neural manipulation uses gentle techniques to treat the nerves through precise applied pressure. Neural manipulation can work great for treating:
- Headaches and migraines
- Digestive disorders
- Joint pain
- Lower back pain & sciatica
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Eye strain
- Whiplash injuries
- Post-operative scar tissue pain
- Neuralgia & Neuritis
- Sprains and traumatic lesions
- Concussion & traumatic brain injuries
- Swallowing dysfunctions
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Birth injuries
Of course, when searching for a neural manipulation provider, it’s best to seek someone who has the proper credentials, experience, and patient results using this method to treat chronic pain. If you go with someone who is not properly skilled then you run the risk of experiencing adverse side effects, which can include an increase in the symptoms you initially came in for.
Also, when seeking a neural manipulation specialist in your area, look for someone who encourages and practices a holistic approach to healthy living. This can include proper nutrition, yoga, meditation or mindfulness, core strengthening exercises, and postural retraining. With a holistic approach, combined with therapy, you can significantly improve your overall function to live and be healthier.
You don’t need to suffer from chronic pain in silence. Both visceral manipulation therapy and neural manipulation are excellent treatment options to consider due to their ability to reduce or eliminate pain and inflammation while helping you to improve your overall function and repair your tissue.
Marge Kalfon, MSPT, is the founder of PT by Marge and is a licensed physical therapist in Virginia. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in 1992. Since then, she has practiced in a wide variety of settings ranging from large hospitals to small private practices. She has extensive training and experience with a wide variety of manual therapy techniques as well as orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation.