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Papers of the Week

2020 May 06

Med Hypotheses


Is cervical region tightness related to vagal function and stomach symptoms?


Ozel Asliyuce Y, Berberoglu U, Ulger O
Med Hypotheses. 2020 May 06; 142:109819.
PMID: 32408072.


The vagal nerve is a cranial nerve that carries mainly parasympathetic fibers (average 75%) with both sensory and motor functions. The vagal nerve contains a complex neuro-endocrine-immune network. The majority, at least 66%, of the gastric myenteric neurons receive direct cholinergic excitatory stimulation from the pre-enteric vagal nerve. Changes in vagal function may cause stomach problems, although the mechanisms that change the vagal function have not yet been fully illuminated. Considering the course of the vagal nerve in the cervical region, it is thought that conditions such as stiffness, tightness and decreased elasticity in this region may compress the vagal nerve andmay affect vagal function. According to this hypothesis, neuroinflammation and hyperalgesia may occur in the vagal nerve under mechanical pressure, resulting in increased complaints of pain and burning in the stomach increases. However, as the vagal nerve has various effects on the motility of the stomach and vagal dysfunction affects the motor function of the stomach, relaxation techniques applied to the soft tissues of the cervical region will provide mechanical relief in the nerve. Thus, the vagal nerve will be decompressed and be able to function optimally. According to our clinical observations, in patients whose soft tissues in the cervical region are relaxed, gastric symptoms are decreased. Based on research results and clinical experience, cervical region tightness can be considered to cause stomach problems through the vagal nerve, and soft tissue relaxation of the cervical region can be a promising treatment method for stomach symptoms.