The solar plexus: definition, problems and solutions

The solar plexus: definition, problems and solutions

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in collaboration with

Youri Bertucchi (osteopath)

Related to the digestive function, the solar plexus, or celiac, can be the seat of tension, even localized pain. Where is the solar plexus located? How to take care of it on a daily basis? The point with Youri Bertucchi, osteopath in Toulouse.

The plexus: definition

Consisting of a group of nerve fibers, the plexuses, which in Latin mean “intertwining”, are by definition networks of nerves found both in the peripheral system and in the autonomic nervous system. “In anatomyddifferent plexuses participate in the formation of the nervous network that runs through the body from head to toe”, emphasizes Youri Bertucchi, osteopath in Toulouse. The sacral plexus forms the sciatic nerve for the legs. A little higher in the body, the lumbar plexus starts from the lower back for the thighs and knees. The celiac (or solar) plexus corresponds to the area between the navel and the sternum in the abdomen, it is in the center of the body. At the level of the upper limbs, the brachial plexus corresponds to the meeting of the anterior branches of the last four cervical nerves and the first thoracic nerve, which corresponds to the shoulders, arms, forearms and hands. Finally, the cervical plexus is linked to the shoulders, head and neck.

The solar plexus, a network of nerves

The solar plexus is made up of several ganglia, nerves coming from the brain which pass mainly through the column and which are the starting point for the organs of the belly: the diaphragm (the breathing muscle), the stomach, the liver , the small intestine. They then travel through the kidneys and even the gonads (ovaries and testicles). Each nerve includes interoceptors whose role is to transmit information, such as the feeling of satiety or bloating for example, to the viscera. The solar plexus includes several pairs of ganglia: the celiac ganglia, sometimes called semilunar because of their shape reminiscent of a crescent moon, the superior mesenteric and aortico-renal ganglia. “This plexus is part of the autonomic nervous system, in its sympathetic subdivision. It intervenes in the function of digestion by sending information to all the digestive organs”, adds the osteopath.

From an energetic point of view, the solar plexus is also an intertwining, which allows the different energy flows to circulate and radiate throughout the body. In Hinduism, the solar plexus is one of the 7 chakras, located at the level of the sternum. Named simply in French “chakras of the solar plexus” (its original name being manipura), it is the third chakra starting from the Root chakra, and the center of energy and serenity.

Problems related to the solar plexus

The celiac plexus is an area particularly sensitive to stress. It is therefore not uncommon for disorders such as tension, a feeling of oppression, heaviness, or even pain related to stress to lodge in this area. “This is not a problem that will arise overnight. Rather, it reflects a situation of chronic stress, emotional problems that persist and which literally end up weighing on this area. explains Youri Bertucchi.

In addition, the long-term intake of certain medications (such as anti-inflammatories, for example), can also cause gastric pain in this area. As this plexus is related to digestion, gastric problems can cause various problems at this level, such as pain, burns or gastroesophageal reflux. “People who drink a lot of coffee, soft drinks, or those who eat too quickly often feel localized pain in the celiac plexus”adds the specialist.

Referred pain in the shoulder blades is also possible. More rarely, pain is observed at the base of the neck, shoulders, or even arms. It is sometimes difficult to relieve and understand the exact origin of this pain since stress often intervenes, thus promoting a vicious circle of pain and fatigue. “The therapeutic solution then consists in breaking this loop by working in a personalized way with each patient according to their symptomatology, their lifestyle and their personal history to relieve the pain.advises the osteopath.

Personalized support

Intervening directly on this area, especially if it is tense or painful, is however not always advisable. “It is possible to act directly on the plexus but this is not always the most effective approach to relieve tension. It is sometimes more useful to work on other areas first, such as the pelvis, the diaphragm, or even the head or the neck., explains the therapist. If the area is sensitive, the approach should be gentle and delicate. Indeed, the treatment can temporarily generate an excitation of the sympathetic system or, conversely, a vagal reflex which can result in a state of nausea, a feeling of chilliness, fatigue… Which goes against the desired role. . In all cases, both the practitioner and the patient must remain attentive to their feelings in order to best orient the therapeutic approach to pain.

Take care of the solar plexus on a daily basis

Pampering your solar plexus goes through a daily routine:

  • On a daily basis, taking care of your celiac plexus involves adopting a healthy lifestyle: chewing food slowly, reducing your consumption of stimulants, acidic and sweet foods, avoiding snacking and staying well hydrated. ;
  • It is also very important to take the time to walk and ensure that sleep is restorative;
  • In case of tension or pain in this area, self-massage can help, provided that the touch is soft and appropriate. “It is best to avoid pressing with the fingertips directly on the plexus”advises Youri Bertucchi;
  • Finally, as this plexus is close to the diaphragm, appropriate breathing exercises can help relax this area. Do not hesitate to consult a health professional.

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