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  • Writer's pictureEduardo Picasso

The lungs and visceral osteopathy (and the importance of physical exercise)

The lungs are located within the chest, on both sides of the heart, and are protected by the ribs and the sternum. These organs receive oxygen from inspired air and produce the elimination of carbon dioxide through expiration. They are connected to surrounding structures through a fibrous, cloth-like membrane that envelops them (the pleura). The presence of adhesions in the pleura ("a part of the fabric is wrinkled", generating a loss of mobility) is very frequent. In 1852, Cruveilhier (famous anatomist) wrote: “Let us say that it is very rare to find lungs without some adhesion on their surface. The old masters (anatomists) consider fibrosis or other adhesions as natural.” We will give an example of how a tension in the pleura can affect the cervical spine and generate symptoms in the upper limbs: A person who spends several hours painting his ceiling, with his arms in the air and his head back (extended), produces a significant stretch on the pleura and the vertebro-pleural ligaments. These ligaments connect the apex of the lung (the highest part of the lung) to the lower cervical vertebrae. The following day, this individual began to experience pain in his arms, reaching the tips of his fingers, due to the traction generated by the pleura and its relationship with the ligaments that connect it to the cervical vertebrae. IMPORTANCE OF MOVEMENT AND EXERCISE Physical activity is important in preventing adhesions, or at least in reducing their effects on the mechanical balance of the body. A person with a sedentary job, who does not exercise regularly, is more likely to have adhesions. This is because physical activity generates a much broader respiratory movement, mobilizing the lungs, pleurae and ribs.


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