International Research and Philosphy Symposium Sherman College of Chiropractic, Spartanburg, SC | Oct 9-19, 2004: 10-11
Introduction: Patient presented two weeks post surgery with severe pain, which was described as a “very extreme, constant pain that started a week after surgery.” She was taking medication for the pain and had assumed that her discomfort was related to having surgery to have her gallbladder removed. Prior to the surgery she had a deep, dull throbbing ache from her gastric area to the area superior to her umbilicus. The constant dull pain was relieved following surgery but a week later this pain was replaced by an acute pain located in an area inferior to the xiphoid to just superior to the umbilicus.
Methods: A specific chiropractic care was rendered, sacro occipital technique (SOT), which addressed the somatovisceral/viscerosomatic aspects of the gallbladder spinal nerve reflex arc affecting a T4 vertebral subluxation complex. SOT has a method called bloodless surgery or chiropractic manipulative reflex technique (CMRT) which involves adjustment of a specific vertebral complex related to suboccipital muscle swellings and associated soft tissue reflexes which purportedly affect afferent and efferent somatovisceral/viscerosomatic reflex arcs between the vertebra and viscera. The vertebral subluxation complex relating to CMRT and T4 vertebral level involves coexistence of occipital fiber 3, line two, sensitivity at one or both T4 transverse processes, and sensitivity at various gall bladder referred pain or reflex points.
Discussion: The patient noted following one treatment that the severe pain in the region from the xiphoid to the umbilicus immediately subsided and 15 years later the pain has not returned. Following treatment her need for anti-inflammatory and pain medication ceased. Since the vertebra adjusted was T4 it is unclear whether her condition improved due to direct reduction of somatic nocicepter input from the vertebra level segmentally or was associated with autonomic affects to the region of her pain. It is also unclear whether the pain was similar to a “phantom limb pain” or secondary to the trauma related to the surgical intervention.
Conclusion: A patient presented with severe gastric pain secondary to surgical removal of her gallbladder. The pain was different than the dull ache she had prior to surgery, however the pain was severe and necessitated medication, which controlled her discomfort to a small degree. Following specific chiropractic care for the gallbladder which involved neutralizing the suboccipital reflex, adjusting T4, and stimulating the related somatovisceral/viscerosomatic reflexes for the gallbladder per SOT protocol, the patients symptoms immediately resolved and have not returned. Further study is indicated into chiropractic’s possible effect on the post-surgery viscera related pain syndromes to determine whether this case was an anomaly or other patients with similar conditions might benefit from chiropractic care.