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Notes from the Practice of Harold Goodman, D.O.

How a head injury can lead to abdominal problems  Thursday, March 22, 2007

Did you ever see a spider web? They are actually quite intricate in design. Starting from one point the spider creates an enormous mosaic of crafted spittle. Sit and contemplate the web. It is really a work of art. These insects build them to catch other insects.

The web must be of a certain size. Some are quite large. It must have a great degree of bounce. If a fly crashes into it the web must not break. It must absorb the kinetic energy generated by the impact and deftly imprison the hapless fly. The fly must be trapped, unable to escape. The web is designed with all of this in mind. For what it does it functions perfectly.

Consider the human body as a vast spider web. If you pull on a part of the web the entire web responds. It will conform to the impact and absorb it. The web, if pulled at one point, will change shape to accommodate itself to the deformation. Say you grab one piece and gently shift it around in space. The entire web rearranges itself. Every single piece of the web shifts. It works as a single unit.

This is exactly how the human body functions. The body is actually a vast web. The various pieces of the web have many shapes and different tissues. However, they are all part of the same web. If one piece is shifted, every part is shifted no matter how far away from the point of impact or seemingly unrelated.

A blow to the head effects the membranes which make up the skull. Originally, the skull is membranous. The outer layer of membrane becomes bone. The inner layers remain membrane. They have the consistency of shoe leather. They can be bent, twisted, and moved about. They cannot be stretched without tearing which really takes an enormous amount of force. So, in the normal course of life, the membranes get twisted and strained a lot. We call this cranial membranous strain or sprain. It is like a sprained ankle ( which remains vulnerable to reinjury even after the swelling, pain, and other acute symptoms are gone) . You can have these membranous or tissue strains anywhere in the body. They always are accompanied by body dysfunction.

So, again, imagine the spider web. If one piece is twisted upon itself or pulled asymmetrically the entire web mirrors and compensates for this. It's health in action, always finding a perfectly balanced response to the stressor.

The cranium is struck. The membranes in the gut follow suit. The person, sooner or later, experiences gastrointestinal and pelvic problems. No one but a trained-osteopath realizes the connection. No one but a classical osteopath is trained to think, diagnose and treat in this way.

I have seen hundreds of such cases over the last seventeen years. It just reaffirms the intrinsic somatic - visceral connection for me. The body works like a big spider web. Tweak one part, everything else responds.

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