Digestive Wellness with Visceral Manipulation

Tummy Trouble

Feeling nauseous?  Experience heartburn after eating?  Struggling with bloating or gas? 

You would probably reach for medication or talk to your doctor after experiencing some of these symptoms, but did you know that seeing a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) can help you with digestive issues like this as well?

This may sound strange; however, some DPT’s have specialized training in Visceral Manipulation, a gentle manual technique that promotes normal mobility, tone, and motion of your internal organs. It may seem silly to think of your internal organs as having movement, but they do!  Organs also have ligaments and fascia connecting them to our skeleton. A variety of factors can cause the ligaments and fascia to become tight, inflamed, or congested leading to many of the symptoms we mentioned above. Since DPT’s are the experts in tight, inflamed ligaments & fascia, they naturally are a great fit to treat digestive issues.

Heartburn and Stomach Tightness Relief

Nausea and heartburn occur with dysfunction primarily affecting the stomach. There can be several different causes, but commonly ligaments securing the stomach in place can become tight and make it difficult for the stomach to expand to accept the mass of food and pass into the intestines. This creates a high-pressure area in the stomach that forces the chewed-up food backward into the esophagus creating inflammation that we commonly feel as heartburn.

Seeing a DPT is a natural way to relax the ligaments and fascia around the stomach to allow for expansion and digestion to take place. Once the stomach can move freely to break down the food, it can then pass to the intestines for absorption.

Physical Therapy for Digestive Disorders

Issues of gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea are all disorders of the intestines.  The intestines are digestive organs consisting of highly absorptive cells lining miles of tubular tissue folds in our abdomen.  There are two types of intestines, the smaller diameter (known as the small intestines) is more specialized to absorb nutrients from our food while the larger diameter (large intestine or colon) is more specialized to absorb water from our food. Similarly, to the stomach, the hollow, tubular nature of the intestines lends itself to areas of restriction, tightness and inflammation that lead to digestive issues listed above.

Seeing a DPT is a great way to get a complete treatment including behavioral changes to include water, a healthy diet, and regular exercise along with visceral manipulation techniques to be sure the ligaments and fascia are relaxed enough to allow for enough water to keep our stools regular and minimize the build-up of gas. When there is the right amount of water absorbed, we can pass a formed but soft stool easily and our body functions optimally.

Visceral Manipulation is a Safe Remedy

While Visceral Manipulation is generally safe for everyone, it is still a good idea to keep your Medical Doctor informed.

Persistent tummy troubles can be relieved with Visceral Manipulation, but they can also be a sign that your body is trying to tell you something is wrong.

Apex Physical Therapy & Wellness Center has many DPT’s specially trained in Visceral Manipulation ready to help your tummy…or even your kidneys, liver, lungs, bladder, pancreas, or spleen.

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Written by:

Brooke Erstad, PT, DPT, WCS, CAPPBROOKE ERSTAD
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy, Women’s Health Certified Specialist

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