In late November, early December I had the opportunity to spend four days at a course here in Toronto, which looked at our organs and the correlation they can have with patient’s pain.

In this course there was a heavy focus on the Liver, Gall bladder, Stomach, Oesophagus, Small and Large Intestines. The techniques in which were taught, were mostly very gentle and should not feel invasive or make the patient too uncomfortable.

Some of you may ask, why would you treat a person’s organ? Well sometimes a person can be experiencing pain which is coming from the organ. Let’s take the Gallbladder for example. The Gallbladder is supplied by our Vagus nerve and our Celiac ganglia. The Vagus nerve is our 10th cranial nerve which controls our heart, lungs, and digestive tract and It is the longest nerve of our autonomic nervous system. It runs from our head down through our neck, chest, and into the abdomen. As the pathway is so long any compression along this pathway could result in pain.

The close proximity of the gallbladder to the liver and diaphragm can suggest that our right shoulder could also be a place in which pain can be produced. Our diaphragm is innovated by our phrenic nerve which consist of nerves C3-5 from our neck. As this particular nerve also supply muscles in our shoulder and neck, if there is a problem with our gallbladder there is a chance that it could be producing some kind of shoulder pain in a patient.

It is important to remember that as Osteopaths we are always trying to locate the source of pain and whether it is coming directly from the area that you are experiencing pain or whether it is coming from somewhere else. So, if we start asking questions about different areas of the body or asking if there is any relationship with your pain and food, it is because we might be looking for a specific link to point us in the direction of the source of pain.

Hope you all had a great break and happy new years to you all!


Brendan Ashman

Manual Osteopathic practitioner