Symptoms of Visceral Disease


Author: Francis Marion Pottenger
Pages: 393
ISBN: 978–1–909052–54–2
Language: English


A study of the Vegetative Nervous System
in it’s Relationship to Clinical Medicine

“There is a Patient who has the Disease,
as well as the Disease which has the Patient”

Editors Note

Symptoms of Visceral Disease was considered by John Wernham to be an essential textbook for students of Classical Osteopathy. It was always his desire to make available those text books which were no longer in print but which remained an invaluable source of knowledge for the osteopath.  He published several of these books in his life-time from his printing department at the College.

This present volume is no exception.

The John Wernham College of Classical Osteopathy is, therefore, proud to present this reprint of the Sixth Edition.  The text has been reproduced as it appeared in the original, and the American spelling has been retained.

Maidstone (UK)
December 2013

Preface to the Sixth Edition

The fact that a sixth edition of Symptoms of Visceral Disease should be called for is an indication of an ever-growing interest in visceral neurology.

Clinicians are always dealing with symptoms.  Some, they can readily interpret;  others, they are forced to admit are beyond their understanding. Many of the most difficult symptoms to explain are of a reflex nature.  The clinician’s failure to understand is often not because the cause is not known to physiology but because physiology and the clinic are too widely separated.

The practice of medicine is a continuous attempt on the part of physicians to understand the manner in which the patient expresses disease through his physiologic systems.

This book attempts to bring an important phase of physiology to the physician.  It is pre-eminently a discussion of man as a segmented organism. On the one hand, it describes visceral and somatic relationships to neurons which take origin in the various segments of the cord;  and, on the other hand, it describes the reflexes which result from this association.

Reflex spasms, pains (referred pain), and degenerations are described and assigned to the various neurons which mediate impulses from inflamed or irritated viscera.  Physiologic reflexes do not shift, so if the clinician knows his segmental relationships, he can reason from organ to the zone of the reflex or from the zone of the reflex back to the organ.

While the importance of reflexes is emphasized throughout the book, an attempt has been made to show that man is a unit, acted upon by many forces – some physical, some psychical, some physiologic, some pathologic – which determine and alter nerve reaction, thus making for variability of symptoms.

Francis Marion Pottenger
Monrovia, Calif.


  • Chapter I – Introductory
    • The Evolution of Modern Medicine
    • Necessity of a New Viewpoint in Clinical Medicine
    • Pathology and Modern Medicine
    • Inaccuracy of Clinical Observations
    • Modern Clinical Teaching at Fault
    • Normal Control of Body Activities
    • Physical Condition Changes Body Control
    • Psychic Activity Changes Body Control
    • Disease Expresses itself both Physically and Psychically
    • A Rational Basis for Study of Disease
    • Organic Versus Functional Disease
  • Part I – The Vegetative Nervous System
    • Chapter II–The Vegetative Nervous System:  General Considerations
    • Chemical Transmission of Nerve Impulses
  • PLATE  I
  • Chapter III – The Vegetative Nervous System Anatomically Considered  39
    • Sympathetic Nervous System
  • Chapter IV – Location and Functions of Vegetative Centers in the Central Nervous System
  • Chapter V – The Vegetative Nervous System: General Physiologic Consideration
    • The Role of the Vegetative Nervous System in Adjusting Man’s Physiologic Equilibrium to meet Varying External & Internal Environmental Forces
    • Relationship Between the Vegetative and the Central Nervous System
    • Response in Voluntary and in Vegetative Systems Compared
    • Distribution of the Neurons of the Thoracicolumbar and Craniosacral Outflows
    • Activity in Vegetative Structures
    • Tonus
    • Rhythm
    • Activation and Inhibition in Vegetative Structures
    • Antagonism of the Sympathetics and Parasympathetics
    • Methods and Results of Studying Thoracicolumbar Control of Body Structures
    • Sensory, Sympathetic and Craniosacral Nerves
    • Function of the Sympathetic Ganglia
  • Chapter VI – Pharmacologic Differentiation Between Neurons of the Thoracicolumbar and Craniosacral Outflow
    • Tests for Sympathicotonia
    • Tests for Parasympathicotonia.
  • Chapter VII – The Relation of the Ionic Content and Physical State of the Cell to Cell Activity and Nerve Stimulation
    • Neurogenic Versus Myogenic Theory of Muscle Activity
    • Colloid Structure of Cell and Action of Electrolytes upon It
    • Nature of Cell and Cellular Activity
    • What Causes Cellular Activity
    • What Part in Body Control is Carried out by Nerves?
    • The Interdependence of the Vegetative Nerves and the Ionic Content of the Cell
    • Some Facts about Potassium in the Cell
    • Vagotonia and Sympathicotonia
    • What is the Cause of Disturbed Equilibrium in the Vegetative Nervous System?
    • Clinical Confirmation of Interdependence of Vegetative Nerves and Ionic Content of Cell 100
    • Discussion
  • Part II – The Relationship Between the Vegetative Nervous System and the Symptoms of Visceral Disease
  • Chapter VIII – Basis of Classification of Symptoms of Disease
    • Tonsillitis
    • Whooping Cough
    • Cause Of The Variability Of Symptoms
  • Chapter IX – Symptons Due To Toxemia
  • Chapter X – Segmentation of the Body
  • Chapter XI – Viscerogenic Reflex
    • Definition of Terms
    • Two Distinct Groups of Visceral Reflexes.
    • Conditions Underlying Visceral Reflexes
    • Simple and Complex Reflexes.
    • Segmental Relationship between the Sensory and Motor Neurons in the Central Nervous System
    • The Relation Between the Viscerogenic Reflex and Visceral Inflammation
  • Chapter XII – Visceral Pain
  • Chapter XIII – Reflexes Whose Afferent Impulses Course in the Sympathetic System
    • Distribution of Sympathetic Nerves
    • Distribution of Sympathetic Reflexes
    • Reciprocal Reflexes in Dermal Structures and Splanchnic Viscera which course over Sympathetic Neurons
    • Nature of Sympathetic Reflexes
  • Chapter XIV – Reflexes whose Afferent Impulses Course in the Parasympathetic Nerves
    • Distribution of Parasympathetic Reflexes
    • Relationship of Trigeminus Nerve to Parasympathetic Reflexes
    • PLATE VI
    • Examples of Parasympathetic Reflexes
    • Functional Disturbances and the Parasympathetic Reflex
    • Nature of Parasympathetic Reflexes
    • Importance of the Parasympathetic Trophic Reflex
    • Common Parasympathetic Symptoms and Syndromes
  • Chapter XV – Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Syndromes
    • Syndrome of Sympathetic Stimulation
    • Syndrome of Parasympathetic Stimulation
    • Special Service Rendered to the Organism by the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Systems
    • General Sympathetic Responses
    • General Parasympathetic Responses
    • Local Parasympathetic Syndromes
    • Antagonism of Sympathetics and Parasympathetics
    • Effect of Stimulation of Sympathetics and Parasympathetics on important Viscera
    • Degenerations
  • PART III – Innervation of Important Viscera with a Clinical Study of the more Important Viscerogenic Reflexes
  • Chapter XVI – Introductory
    • Grouping of Structures Supplied by the Vegetative Nerves
    • The Enteral System
    • PLATE IX
    • The Distribution of the Connector Fibers (Black) and Excitor Neurons (Red) of the Bulbo-Sacral or Enteral System
    • PLATE X
    • The Connector Fibers and Excitor Neurons of the Sphincter System of Involuntary Muscles
    • Tissues Activated by the Sympathetics
    • The Eye
    • The Lacrimal Glands and Vegetative Fibers in the Nose, Accessory Sinuses, Pharynx And Larynx
    • I.  Innervation of the Esophagus
    • II. The Esophagus:  Clinical Consideration
  • Chapter XVIII – The Stomach
    • I.  Innervation of the Stomach
    • II.  The Stomach:  Clinical Consideration
  • Chapter XIX – The Intestinal Tract
    • I.  Innervation of the Intestinal Tract
    • II.  The Intestinal Tract – Clinical Consideration
    • Sympathetic Reflexes
    • Parasympathetic Reflexes
  • Chapter XX – The Liver and Gall Bladder
    • I.  The Innervation of the Liver and Gall Bladder
    • II.  Liver and Gallbladder:  Clinical Consideration
  • Chapter XXI – The Pancreas
    • I.  The Innervation of the Pancreas
    • II.  Pancreas: Clinical Consideration
  • Chapter XXII – The Diaphragm
    • I.  Innervation Of The Diaphragm
    • II.  The Diaphragm:  Clinical Consideration
    • Sympathetic Reflexes
    • Parasympathetic Reflexes
    • Reflexes through the Spinal Nerves
    • Reflexes Shown in the Diaphragm, the Afferent Impulse coming from other Organs
  • Chapter XXIII – The Bronchi and Lungs
    • I.  Innervation of the Bronchi and Lungs
    • II.  The Lungs:  Clinical Consideration
    • Sympathetic Reflexes
    • Parasympathetic Reflexes
    • Parasympathetic Reflexes Shown on the Part of other Viscera, the Impulses Originating in the Lung
    • Parasympathetic Reflexes Shown on the Part of the Lung, the Impulses Originating either in the Lung or in other Viscera
  • Chapter XXIV – The Pleura
    • I.  Innervation of the Pleura
    • II.  The Pleura:  Clinical Consideration
    • Sympathetic Reflexes
    • Spinal Nerve Reflexes
    • Parasympathetic Reflexes
  • Chapter XXV – The Heart
    • I.  Innervation Of The Heart
    • II.  Heart:  Clinical Consideration
  • Chapter XXVI – The Aorta
    • I.  Innervation of the Aorta
    • II.  The Aorta:  Clinical Consideration
  • Chapter XXVII – The Blood Vessels
    • Arteries
    • The Vasomotor Nerves
    • The Splanchnic Nerves
    • Vasodilator Nerves
    • Vessel Tone
    • The Blood Vessels:  Clinical Considerations
  • Chapter XXVIII – The Salivary Glands
    • I.  Innervation of Salivary Glands
    • II.  Salivary Glands:  Clinical Consideration
  • Chapter XXIX – The Nasal and Pharyngeal Mucous Membranes and Accessory Sinuses
    • I.  Innervation of Nasal and Pharyngeal Mucous Membranes and Accessory Sinuses
    • II.  Nasal and Pharyngeal Mucous Membranes and Accessory Sinuses: Clinical Consideration
    • Disturbance in Secretion
    • Motor, Sensory and Secretory Disturbances
  • Chapter XXX – The Larynx
    • I.  Innervation of the Larynx
    • II.  The Larynx:  Clinical Consideration
  • Chapter XXXI – The Eye
    • I.  Innervation of the Eye
    • II.  The Eye:  Clinical Considerations
  • Chapter XXXII – The Lacrimal Glands
    • I.  Innervation of the Lacrimal Glands
    • II.  The Lacrimal Glands:  Clinical Consideration
  • Chapter XXXIII – The Urogenital Tract
    • I.  Innervation of the Urogenital Tract
    • II.  The Urogenital Tract:  Clinical Consideration
  • Chapter XXXIV – The Subdermal Structures
    • I.  Innervation of the Skin
    • II.  The Skin:  Clinical Consideration
    • III.  The Pilomotor Muscles
    • IV. The Sweat Glands
  • Chapter XXXV – Endocrine Glands
    • The Thyroid
    • The Adrenals
    • Pituitary
    • The Pancreas
    • Thymus
    • Testes
    • Ovary

Additional information

Weight1400 g
Dimensions210 × 148 × 400 mm