Managing and Resolving Period Pain by Visceral Manipulation

Period Pain does not have to rule your life! Many women suffer needlessly each month, being told that, “Pain is normal; here, take these pills!” Simple uterine misalignments often place physical pressure on the cervix and uterus. When under mechanical stress, the cervix is less able to allow menstrual flow; the uterus now has to contract harder to eject blood and tissue by the cervix. This is a period cramp.

If the uterus itself is being ‘stretched’ because of distension in the ligaments supporting its place in the pelvis, it’s natural contractions will become painful. The uterus wall is muscular and is active in keeping itself ready for the next reproductive cycle, the whole reason for the monthly period. If the muscle is not able to contract easily, it just has to push harder as its function during menses is ‘not negotiable’ to the body.

Visceral Manipulation is a gentle and respectful technique to help women resolve anatomical mal-placement and dysfunction of their otherwise ‘normal’ pelvis. When good physical placement is restored, the reason for much of the pain and cramping is similarly resolved. The ideal is that every woman only feels her period coming on closest before commencement of flow; completing a painless period a few days later. A period should almost come as a surprise in ideal circumstances.

In the Author’s clinical observations, the most shared uterine/cervix misalignments are a retroverted uterus (the cervix and uterus have fallen rearwards, towards the rectum), followed by a lateral deflection where the uterus and/or cervix are being forced to one side or the other, twisting the cervix/vagina junction. A less shared misalignment is an antegrade deflection (where the uterus & cervix are drawn forward, towards the front of the inner bladder).

In each case, the strong ligaments that keep up the uterus and cervix in anatomical alignment have some level of dysfunction, causing mechanical pressure on the cervix. This restricts the ability of the cervix to allow menstrual flow to pass by easily. When this happens, the uterus nevertheless has to eject the unused placental tissue and so contracts far more forcefully. These forceful contractions are the mechanism of the all-too-familiar period cramp.

Visceral Manipulation, extensively pioneered by JP Barrall, is a treatment modality where the practitioner uses gentle, direct pressure over the various structures and ligaments in an effort to rebalance the anatomical relationships within the pelvis (and body, of course). The experience varies from practitioners to practitioner with two dominant groups of techniques, ‘short lever’ and ‘long lever’.

Short lever technique is where most practitioners start. This is where pressure is placed directly on each problematic point, using movement of the practitioner’s fingers and the client’s body to ease direct manipulation of each ligament in turn. This is the most ‘teachable’ method and is incredibly effective independent.

The author uses long lever techniques resulting in quite a different clinical experience. The client is fully clothed and is moved by a series of flexes and stretches whilst a very gentle pressure is held over the problematic structures. The aim of long lever techniques is to influence the body to find, recognise and resolve its own restrictions using its own mechanisms.

Change does not come from the practitioner, but rather, from the client’s own being. Results ‘originating’ from the client’s own body are effective and immediate. No releases or changes are ever forced upon the body; that is trauma and bullying. All effective body work is about helping the [woman’s] body find its own healthful balance.

Whilst not all period pain can be resolved so easily, I see excellent results in three to five visits in many situations. The first two or three visits are typically a fortnight apart and then monthly (for obvious reasons) from there. Caesarean deliveries, accidents, falls, lifting injuries and poor postural habits can all contribute to period pain. In most situations, causes of this character are quite resolvable with gentle and painless visceral manipulation.

Painful intercourse, post-orgasm spasms and pain, in addition as anorgasmia (inability to unprotected to orgasm) can also originate for the same reasons of organ and ligament imbalances. These will be detailed in upcoming articles, but for now, most situations in this group will respond well to visceral manipulation too.

Practitioners of Visceral Manipulation can be sourced by the Barrall Institute [This is an independent teaching organisation which has a practitioner sourcing facility]. For those on the Gold Coast of Australia, Craig’s clinic, Ashmore Health Centre [link below], has limited places to see women seeking help for their painful periods. The author’s specific interests lie in functional sexual and reproductive issues following physical and psycho-physical trauma, but all people seeking answers to their pain are welcomed.

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