Author: Susanne Wittich
Supervisor: Frans Rompen, MSc Ost
Background: Neurophysiological links are one of the most important theoretical foundations in osteopathy, on which holistic examination, diagnosis and treatment are based. There has, however, hardly been any scientific research on this. The aim of this study was therefore to show the neurophysiological link between gastroesophageal reflux disease and a somatic dysfunction of segments 6-9 of the thoracic spine. To this end, changes in the characteristic features of a somatic dysfunction of segments 6-9 of the thoracic spine were investigated and a comparison was made between patients with a diagnosis of a gastroesophageal reflux disease and reference values and healthy participants.
Method: The features of a somatic dysfunction periosteal sensitivity, trophism, asymmetry and rigidity were measured in 30 patients and 30 healthy participants in the control group with a pressure algometer, a thermoscan, a spinal mouse and a superficial EMG. Some of the reference values were taken from the 60 participants and some were taken from the literature.
Results: There were significant differences between the patients and the control group in all four features of a somatic dysfunction and in all four thoracic spine segments 6-9, and with the reference values. The periosteal sensitivity and the tone showed a highly significant difference while trophism showed a very significant difference. The range of motion in flexion/extension only showed a significant difference in parts, mainly in extension. The comparison of the patients’ average values on the right and left side of the thoracic spine segments 6-9 did not show any significant difference. The control group did not differ from the reference values significantly.
Discussion: The clarity of the results indicates a neurophysiological link between GERD and a somatic dysfunction of the thoracic spine segments 6-9. Follow-up studies are therefore recommended to further research the topic.