A viscerosomatic response or VSR is when the internal organs are going through some distress, illness, or injury, causing pain symptoms. An example is the right shoulder presenting with pain when the gall bladder is inflamed. The pain signals are transmitted through the spinal cord, and the muscles in the area could spasm, creating sensitivity or pain when touched. However, viscerosomatic pain is often not worsened or changed by bending, reaching, or twisting in different directions causing musculoskeletal/MSK pain. Without a thorough exam, it’s easy to confuse a VSR with an MSK or basic back ache. Individuals may sometimes feel visceral pain more through emotional symptoms like anger, anguish, or sadness than physical discomfort. Causation varies for everybody and can overlap with underlying conditions.

Visceral Pain Causation


The visceral organs’ pain receptors are not as tightly packed or evenly spread out, which makes finding the pain’s source challenging to pinpoint.‌ The most common causes include:


A process of the body’s white blood cells protecting the body from infections, bacteria, and viruses. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system reacts as if normal tissues are infected or have changed and attacks them causing damage. But in some conditions, like arthritis, the body’s immune system triggers inflammation despite no infections, bacteria, or viruses. When inflammation activates, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells enter the blood or tissues to protect the body raising the blood flow to the injured or infected area. Symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Heat
  • Irritation
  • Chemicals can cause fluid to leak into the tissues.
  • Swelling
  • Pain

The symptoms depend on which organs are affected. Examples include:

  • Inflammation of the heart/myocarditis can cause shortness of breath and/or fluid buildup.
  • Inflammation of the tiny tubes in the respiratory system can cause shortness of breath.
  • Inflammation of the kidneys/nephritis can cause high blood pressure and/or kidney failure.

Circulatory Issues

Decreased blood circulation can strain areas of the body. The body pulls oxygen into the lungs that enter the blood. It travels throughout the body through blood vessels, veins, and arteries. If circulation becomes obstructed or gets stopped, a severe problem called ischemia can develop. This means areas of the body are not getting enough blood and enough oxygen. Ischemia usually originates from a buildup, blockage in the arteries, or a blood clot. Atherosclerosis is plaque, a hard, sticky substance made mostly of fat that collects in the arteries. It builds up slowly over time and can harden and narrow the arteries slowing down blood flow because the blood has less space to circulate.

Swelling/Stretching Organs

Swelling occurs when excess fluids are trapped in the body’s tissues, which can cause the affected organs to enlarge and stretch. Swelling can be internal or external. Internal swelling is usually caused by:

Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps are throbbing, aching cramps experienced in the lower stomach just before and during a woman’s monthly period. They can range from mild to severe but are common and can strike right before and/or during the menstrual cycle. Some women can experience dysmenorrhea. Symptoms include:

  • Aching in the stomach
  • Pressure in the stomach
  • Constipation
  • Pain in the hips, low back, and inner thighs.

Severe cramp symptoms can include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Loose stools
  • Vomiting

Cysts and Tumors

  • Cysts and/or tumors in the pelvic or abdomen region can cause distress, irritation, inflammation, swelling, and pain viscerosomatic and musculoskeletal.

Chiropractic Causation Diagnosis

There is a connection between the spinal nerves and internal organ function. Internal organs connect to the brain through the spinal cord and nerve ganglia plexuses. The organs cannot function properly if the transmitted signals are interrupted or blocked. A chiropractor uses manual and mechanized manipulation to realign the spine. Chiropractic treatment diagnoses causation, restores joint function, eliminates pain, and prevents further injury, preventing degeneration and slowing disease processes in bone, muscle, and organs.

Spinal Decompression


Bath M, Owens J. Physiology, Viscerosomatic Reflexes. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559218/

Berrueta, Lisbeth, et al. “Stretching Impacts Inflammation Resolution in Connective Tissue.” Journal of cellular physiology vol. 231,7 (2016): 1621-7. doi:10.1002/jcp.25263

Carver AC, Foley KM. Types of Pain. In: Kufe DW, Pollock RE, Weichselbaum RR, et al., editors. Holland-Frei Cancer Medicine. 6th edition. Hamilton (ON): BC Decker; 2003. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK12991/

Sikandar, Shafaq, and Anthony H Dickenson. “Visceral pain: the ins and outs, the ups and downs.” Current opinion in supportive and palliative care vol. 6,1 (2012): 17-26. doi:10.1097/SPC.0b013e32834f6ec9

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Causation of Visceral Pain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*

Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card

Previous articleThe Origin Between Gastrointestinal Issues & Visceral Hypersensitivity
Next articleHow Gut Disorders Affect The Sympathetic Nervous System
Dr. Alex Jimenez
Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries. We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities' premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities. We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs. Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living. With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age, ability or disability.