Craniosacral Therapy for Neck and Back Pain
Craniosacral Therapy for Neck and Back Pain
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on manual therapy that releases tensions and restrictions in the tissues and around the central nervous system in order to relieve pain, dysfunction and improve overall health. Although its name relates to the cranium and sacrum of the body, the craniosacral system also consists of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, as well as the fluid that nourishes and protects these structures.
Everyone has a craniosacral system that is rhythmically moving all the time. Craniosacral therapists have learned to monitor this craniosacral rhythm with their hands and make certain inferences about the condition and function of the human body, just as heart rate and breathing activity provide information on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
When craniosacral rhythm is compromised, this suggests there are areas of tension or dysfunction. CST practitioners can be thought of as facilitators of the body’s self-correcting mechanisms that release restrictions and re-establish normal movement.
CST works directly with the central nervous system, and in turn, the central nervous system has influences over many systems of the body, including the endocrine, immune, lymphatic, vascular, and digestive systems. When disease or dysfunction occurs in one part of the body, it can affect the body as a whole.
For example, after an injury such as falling on the sacrum (tailbone), damage or scar tissue can occur in the membranes surrounding this area, which would likely present as feeling sore from the injury. However, since this membrane system is continuous to the spinal cord and all the way up to the cranium, additional issues such as neck pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction often accompany injuries and surgeries that are seemingly unrelated to the initial issue. When the damage to the membranes is addressed, the craniosacral rhythm is addressed as well, and the body is in a much better state to correct these restrictions and rebalance itself.
In cases of neck and back pain, CST has been shown to be a useful treatment. In a 2016 study from The Clinical Journal of Pain, titled “Craniosacral Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain,” researched compared two groups with chronic neck pain. The group receiving CST reported significant and clinically relevant effects on pain intensity in just a few weeks, compared to the other group receiving a light-touch ‘sham treatment’ meant to mimic CST. Another study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2016 titled “Benefits of Craniosacral Therapy in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” found that patients receiving CST experienced greater improvement in pain intensity than those receiving classic massage.
During a CST session, a client is fully clothed and lying on a massage table. Light touch, usually about the weight of a nickel, is used to evaluate the whole body for tension patterns and imbalances. This light touch is essential for working with the body tissues and not against it.
The craniosacral system is accessed and treated using the bones and connective tissues surrounding it. Many clients report craniosacral therapy treatments as a deeply relaxing and restorative experience, even though it is very subtle work. A typical treatment session lasts anywhere from 60-90 minutes, depending on individual needs and preferences.
Craniosacral Therapy is a wonderful modality to add to other body work and holistic health services for the treatment of neck and back pain, as well as many other issues, such as headaches, migraines, TMJ dysfunction, and fibromyalgia. Contact the office for more information or to schedule an appointment or contact Lauren directly: 303-587-9361 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haller, H., Lauche, R., Cramer, H., Rampp, T., Saha, F.J., Ostermann, T., & Dobos, G. (2016). Craniosacral Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized, Sham-controlled Trial. Clinical Journal of Pain, 32(5), 441-9.
Castro-Sánchez Adelaida María, Lara-Palomo Inmaculada Carmen, Matarán-Peñarrocha Guillermo A., Saavedra-Hernández Manuel, Pérez-Mármol José Manuel, and Aguilar-Ferrándiz María Encarnación. (2016). Benefits of Craniosacral Therapy in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 22(8), 650-657.