Can physical pain be related to the history of gut symptoms?
A male patient with a complaint of right shoulder pain from playing competitive baseball. He is a 35 years old pitcher. On his full body assessment with Manual therapy I found that he was very limited in his hips and trunk range of motion in rotation and those restrictions lead him to compensate and borrow movement from R shoulder and elbow while throwing instead of rotating from his hips and the trunk.
He was also unstable in his abdominal muscles and shoulder girdle muscles. On further evaluation, he reported that he has had a history of stomach pain and cramps since he was 10. He has been to multiple different doctors to get scans and has not been able to find any cause for pain. He also reports that he was under a lot of stress when he was younger and living in Japan and thinks that the pain was worse with stress. The abdominal symptoms are better after he has moved to the USA but with baseball he has had pain in the R shoulder and elbow for the last two years and occasionally still feels some abdominal symptoms. When I did motion testing for his shoulder as in the picture below I was able to see the problem originated from the restrictions in his gut. In the picture he is unable to keep his lower back flat on the table when he raises his arm which shows a compensatory pattern from spine to borrow movement for shoulder range of motion.
Each organ in our body has its connection with the spine via fascia. Fascia is a sheath of connective tissue that covers the muscles, nerves, organs, arteries and veins from the head to toe. With his history of stress, chronic gut symptoms (pain and cramps) and motion testing, I was able to find an interconnecting link to his present symptoms. Old and unresolved restrictions in the gut are now affecting shoulder function – moving the arm up overhead and his trunk and hip mobility.
The above picture shows hands on therapy being done on the stomach and liver to improve the shoulder pain the patient came in with. After treating the organs, he showed improved mobility in the hips and trunk. As the range of motion increased in his hip and trunk he was able to use his shoulder better with more stability through his trunk and reported he had no symptoms in his shoulder or elbow.
Our brain has an ability to keep us moving after any injury or trauma. The body, though as the time progresses has to compensate for the lack of movements in the injured area by borrowing those movements from other parts subconsciously. The purpose of Manual therapy is to dig in deeper to find the root cause of the issue so we can reset and realign the entire system to stop the compensations and further injuries.