Everyone experiences pain now and then—whether from smacking your shin on the coffee table, lifting a heavy object, returning a tennis shot with too much enthusiasm or having surgery. For most of us, the pain hurts, but it’s over in a short while, sometimes with the help of medication.
However, not so if you’re among the estimated 50 million people in the U.S. who live with chronic, or on-going, pain. Chronic pain arises from a wide range of sources, including accidents, how you stand or sit conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, or disease. Another overlooked source of chronic pain may come not from joints or muscles but from organs. Every woman experiences the back pain associated with menstruation (see Fig. 4). Those who have over-indulged in alcoholic beverages may have experiences the hangover headache from the distressed liver (See Fig. 3).
A referred pain is one that’s felt in a place other than the injured or diseased part of the body. Sensory nerves carrying inflammation messages from organs converge in the spinal cord before they enter the brain, causing confusion about the source of those pain signals. Why because the brain knows organs have very few pain sensing nerves but muscles and joints do.
Unlike short-lived acute pain, chronic pain persists beyond the normal three months’ healing time for most bodily tissue. For some people, that means buying those gargantuan-sized bottles of pain relievers at the warehouse club and risking the side effects of prolonged use in order to get through daily activities. Distressed organ can refer chronic pain to various areas throughout the body. Usually there is no traumatic event to cause the pain and discomfort. But the pain and discomfort may be severe enough to make you favor an area that will predispose you to injury during activity. But what do you do, when it hurts too much to walk, lift objects, turn your head or bend your body. There’s a different approach for chronic pain.
By combining the assessment tools of Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT) and the metabolic assessments and lab testing of Functional Medicine, it is possible to determine what actual root cause of your pain is. This blending is truly a holistic form of healthcare.
Let us explore the referred pain from the liver as an example.
Physical Triggers:Physical Triggers irritate liver and neurology connecting to the spine
- Bacteria, viral, fungus/mold, parasitic
- Internal (Endogenous)
- External (Exogenous)
- Food Sensitivities
- Auto antigens
- Irritated nerves controlling blood vessels to the Liver dilate allowing blood to pool in and around the liver
- Central Nervous system is overcome by excess stimulation of irritated liver neurology
- Irritated liver neurology from a Physical triggers overrides spinal inhibition
- Pain is referred to a part of the body embryologically linked to the irritated liver
- Patient recognizes pain in one or more of the highlighted areas
Each organ in your body has its own unique set of feelings and pain referral areas throughout the body. The Metabolic Assessment Form (MAF) is a useful tool in narrowing down the cause. When you fill out this form, each Category related to a different organ system. The liver is Category V: Hepatic/Biliary Insufficiency and/or Stasis. You may be experiencing some of the following:
- Greasy or high-fat foods cause distress
- Lower bowel gas and or bloating several hours after eating
- Bitter metallic taste in mouth, especially in the morning
- Unexplained itchy skin
- Yellowish cast to eyes
- Stool color alternates from clay colored to normal brown
- Reddened skin, especially palms
- Dry or flaky skin and/or hair
- History of gallbladder attacks or stones
Referred pains can only be understood when the organ is carefully studied in association with its embryologic development, in which case it will be seen that the usual organ-related pain follows the development of the fetus. Sacro Occipital Technique addresses organ issues through a visceral reflex treatment known as Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technique (CMRT). These additional Signs/Symptoms are associated with a distressed liver.
- Hepatic Portal Stagnation
- Vestibular disorientation causing vertigo (patient needs sight for balance)
- Hypochromatic anemia
- Scanty urine
- Slow growth
- Low BMR
- Irregularity, much diarrhea
- Painful urination, incontinence
- Sour erucations (also known as burping, ructus, or eructation)
- Hurts all over
- Stomach problems
- Hypoglycemia symptoms
- Difficult swallowing
- Ghostly pallor
- Extreme nervousness
- Right neck muscle causing difficulty swallowing
- Right scapula pulled medial and restricted
We are not conscious of possessing organs. The pressure of food in the stomach and the beat of the heart make no impression on our consciousness. The organs are areas of low sensation, not low irritability. They are richly supplied with sensory nerves, upon the stimulation, which the organ function depends upon. The response to stimuli in organs is rapid, but normally this response takes place entirely outside of our consciousness. The feeling is not recognized as coming from the organ, but from an area with a close connection with the organ (See the graphics below for pain patterns related to uterus and prostate).
Chronic inflammation of any organ or in this example, the liver may cause no consciousness of pain in that organ, but may cause intense aching in the right shoulder or other highlighted areas seen in Figure 2.6. If the irritation or inflammation reaches a certain level the organs are capable of sensing pain, pressure, heat, or cold in a nonspecific manner, without being able to localize where it is occurring.
While you are experiencing the referred pain, the blood vessels supplying the organ loose their tone and dilate. In this example blood pools and stagnates around the liver. The pooling of the blood supply around an organ causes engorgement and displacement of the organ upon the neighboring organ tissues. Also know as Splanchnoptosis, any or all of the organs may be displaced downward (gravity wins) resulting in congestion, stagnation and poor function of multiple organs. This often results in conditions such as uterine fibroids for women.
At any given point during their lifetime, up to 50% of all women will experience fibroids in uterus. Troublesome symptoms can arise from fibroids such as excessive menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, pressure in the lower abdomen, frequent urination urges, constipation, and reduced fertility.
Uterine fibroids often appear during your childbearing years. As many as 3 out of 4 women have uterine fibroids sometime during their lives, but most are unaware of them because they often cause no uterine symptoms until it produces enough annoyance to justify a healthcare provider’s attention. Long before this occurs a woman will be experiencing referred pain as seen in Figure 4. Men will experience pain in different areas associated with the prostate seen in Figure 5.
- Those women in menopause may show marks in MAF Category XVII: Menopausal Females while experiencing referred pain in Fig. 3.Alternating menstrual cycle lengths
- Extended menstrual cycle, greater than 32 days
- Shortened menses, less than every 24 days
- Pain and cramping during periods
- Scanty blood flow
- Heavy blood flow
- Breast pain and swelling during menses
- Pelvic pain during menses
- Irritable and depressed during menses
- Acne breakouts
- Facial hair growth
- Hair loss/thinning
- Uterine bleeding since menopause
- Hot flashes
- Mental fogginess
- Disinterest in sex
- Mood swings
- Painful intercourse
- Shrinking breasts
- Facial hair growth
- Increased vaginal pain, dryness or itching
Sacro Occipital Technique addresses organ issues through a visceral reflex treatment known as Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technique (CMRT). Developed and researched since the 1930’s careful observation has noted these additional Signs/Symptoms in both women and men.
- Lumbar “C” curve to the left
- Rotary Scoliosis
- Forward displacement of L5
- Predisposes to Intervertebral Disc rupture (IVD)
- Right TMJ Weakness
- Atrophy of body cells
- Weakness in all body’s ligaments
- Difficulty sitting for any length of time (Sit bone pain when sitting).
- Pain in left hip crease possible early sign of cancer
- Muscle tone diseases (spastic paralysis, muscle cramps, “Charley” horses, ligamentous splints, etc.)
- Muscle abnormalities
- Soft bones (too much protein)
- Difficulty speaking guttural sounds
- Abnormal left TMJ
- Psychosis and disintegration of personalities
- Staggering gait
- Right elbow subluxation
- Skin itching
- Nerve sheath destruction in skin
- Right carpal tunnel
- Vagina/Penis susceptible to infection
- Mesenteric Apron Lymphatic problems
- Breast soreness (both sexes)
- Malfunction of the covering of the heart and right Lung
- Failure of lubricating glands for the Pericardial sac (chest discomfort)
- Distention of abdominal contents while sitting
Tests and Diagnosis
Examinations using Sacro Occipital Technique will be beneficial in determine what is causing your physical signs and symptoms. The Metabolic Assessment form you filled out shows your metabolic symptoms and helps to back up the SOT exam findings. The information provided by the examination and the assessments will allow the Doctor to recommend the appropriate laboratory testing. We will then be able to discuss your concerns and relate the physical symptoms with the metabolic symptoms you are experiencing developing a treatment plan specific to your needs.
Preparing for your appointment
During your appointment a lot of information will be presented and it can be difficult to remember everything you want to discuss, it’s a good idea to prepare in advance of your appointment.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance.
- Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of any medications and vitamin supplements you take. Write down doses and how often you take them.
- Have a family member or close friend accompany you, if possible. You may be given a lot of information at your visit, and it can be difficult to remember everything.
- Take a notebook or notepad with you. Use it to write down important information during your visit.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor. List your most important questions first, in case time runs out.
What to expect from your Doctor
Some potential questions your doctor might ask include:
- How often do you experience these symptoms?
- How long have you been experiencing symptoms?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Do your symptoms seem to be related to your menstrual cycle?
- Does anything improve your symptoms?
- Does anything make your symptoms worse?
- Do you have a family history of your symptoms?