The digestive system in the body helps with the process of digesting food that the host consumes. The food being digested goes through a bio-transformation where it turns into nutrients and is stored in the intestinesliver, and gallbladder, where it turns into bile to be excreted out of the system to ensure a healthy functional gut system and body. But when disruptive factors like poor eating habits or gut issues start to affect the body and gallbladder, this causes many problems that can make an individual miserable. This affects their quality of life since they are dealing with painful issues in their bodies that overlap the primary source risk profiles. Today’s article looks at the gallbladder, how it functions with the body and parasympathetic nervous system, and how referred shoulder pain and gallbladder dysfunction are connected. We refer patients to certified providers specializing in gastroenterology and chiropractic treatments that help those with issues that affect their shoulders and gallbladder. We also guide our patients by referring to our associated medical providers based on their examination when it’s appropriate. We find that education is the solution to asking our providers insightful questions. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer

What Is The Gallbladder?

The digestive system comprises the mouth, the internal organs from the GI tract, the liver, the gallbladder, and the anus, where food is consumed, digested, and excreted out of the body to keep it healthy. The gallbladder is a small organ that store and releases bile at the appropriate time into the intestines to be mixed with the digested foods to be excreted out of the body. This pear-shaped organ inflates and deflates like a balloon when it stores and releases bile while having a casual relationship with the nerves and hormones that help regulate the gallbladder functioning properly. Studies reveal that the ganglia become the target of causing the hormone cholecystokinin and the parasympathetic nerve to up or downregulate the neurotransmission to the gallbladder. This causes the gallbladder to be functional in the body.


What Are Its Functions In The Parasympathetic Nervous System?

So what are the functions that the gallbladder provides to the body? For starters, the parasympathetic nervous system allows the body to rest and digest the consumed food to be turned into nutrients. The parasympathetic nervous system also provides gallbladder stimulation as studies reveal that the gallbladder receives innervation from the parasympathetic nervous system connected to the vagus nerve that transmits information to the spine and the brain. Keeping and releasing bile from this pear-shaped organ helps regulate the gastrointestinal tract. This causal relationship between the gallbladder and the parasympathetic nerve is essential because the body needs to know when to store and release bile from the gallbladder, or it might trigger some issues that can do more harm to the body and even affect the gallbladder itself.

Do You Have Shoulder Pain?- Video

Have you been experiencing gut issues causing a sharp or dull ache in your back or sides? How about questionable shoulder pain that seems to come out of nowhere? Or are your experiencing inflammation in your digestive system? Many of these symptoms are signs of visceral-somatic pain affecting the gallbladder. Visceral-somatic pain is defined when there is damage to the organ, and it starts to affect the muscles in a different location in the body. The video above gives an excellent example of visceral-somatic pain in the gallbladder and the shoulder. Now many people wonder how shoulder pain is the mediator of the gallbladder? Well, inflammation in the liver and gallbladder causes the nerve roots to be hypersensitive and compressed. This leads to overlapping profiles, triggering pain in the shoulder muscles and associated with upper mid-back pain.

Referred Shoulder Pain & Gallbladder Dysfunction


Now say the individual is experiencing shoulder pain; however, when they rotate their shoulder, there is no pain? Where is the source of shoulder pain localized, and what is causing the issue? And why is it correlating to the gallbladder? This is known as referred pain, where the source of pain is poorly localized when it is located elsewhere. Studies reveal that gallbladder dysfunctions like cholecystitis might be associated with acute thoracolumbar shoulder pain. So what does this mean? It means that any referred pain that is the causation of shoulder pain gives the impression that something is wrong with the gallbladder. This would provide much-needed information when individuals are being examined by their physicians.



The body needs the digestive system to help process food the host consumes and excretes for a healthy functioning system. The gallbladder stores and releases bile to the digested food. This ensures that the nutrients and bile are transported and passed out of the body. When disruptive factors cause gut issues and affect the gallbladder, it can correlate to different problems impacting the body. An example would be gallbladder issues associated with shoulder pain. This is referred to as pain, which is from an affected organ and associated with the muscle in a different location. This can make the individual feel miserable and wonder what is going on with their shoulders when it might be something associated with their gallbladder. Available treatments can provide better knowledge to determine the problem and how to alleviate the issues.



Carter, Chris T. “Acute Thoracolumbar Pain Due to Cholecystitis: A Case Study.” Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, BioMed Central, 18 Dec. 2015,

Jones, Mark W, et al. “Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Gallbladder.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 8 Nov. 2021,

Mawe, Gary M., et al. “Nerves and Hormones Interact to Control Gallbladder Function.” Physiology, 1 Apr. 1998,

Medical Professional, Cleveland Clinic. “Gallbladder: What Is It, Function, Location & Anatomy.” Cleveland Clinic, 28 July 2021,



Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "The Gallbladder & The Parasympathetic Nervous System Function" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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