Cranial Therapy & Holistic PT for Concussions & Sports Injuries

IMT and holistic PT for concussion

 

Is Rest Enough?

Have you ever felt completely helpless after one of your children incurs a sports injury? Or after you have injured yourself? We have all heard the phrase, “time heals all wounds”. Sometimes, this is actually true. But often, time is not enough. In the case of concussion head injuries, the most common recommendation is to stop all media and rest until symptoms disappear. But for so many people suffering from acute and chronic concussion injuries, this is not enough.

Fortunately, there are gentle therapies that you can use to support the head and central nervous system that may speed up healing of these tissues and help the person feel better faster.

Cranial Therapy

Cranial Therapy, commonly practiced by Holistic Physical Therapists, is a gentle hands-on therapy that can augment the health and regeneration of the nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord. It corrects tension patterns in the head and strengthens the cranial rhythm, which can reduce many different symptoms, including headaches and learning challenges as well as behavioral disorders. It can be an important component of a treatment program for individuals suffering from concussion head injuries. It can be used for a variety of related issues, including headaches, hypersensitivity to light and sound, attention deficit, tinnitus, aggressive behaviors, and so much more.

The cranial system houses our brain. Within the cranium, there is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which nourishes the brain and provides immune support, and layers of tissue, called meninges, that surround the brain and protect it from trauma and infection.

For many years, the traditional medical community believed that the sutures (joints) of the cranium solidified at a young age and no longer moved. We’ve since learned that, using very gentle Cranial Therapy techniques, movement can be felt on the head. This movement is called a motility. Motilities or biologic rhythms are movements that represent the physiologic health of specific tissues and systems. One example of a motility is our pulse, which reflects the health of our arterial system. Feeling the pulse on different parts of the body provides us with information about the circulatory health of that part of our body. There are many different motilities that can be felt on the body. Holistic Physical Therapists practicing Cranial Therapy will monitor a patient’s cranial rhythm as part of the therapy.

Cranial Therapy can be used to treat many issues related to a head injury. For example, one commonly found pattern is ringing in the ears. Within the inner ear, there are multiple important structures for hearing, including the cochlea, ear drum, vestibular nerve, and more. When combined into the vestibular mechanism, these structures are not much larger than a peanut. They reside inside the ear, bordering the temporal bone. When there is severe compression which is common with a head injury, this peanut sized vestibular mechanism within the inner ear pushes up against the temporal bone. This can contribute to significant hypersensitivity to sound as well. Using cranial therapy, a therapist can decompress the inner ear which can lead to reduced symptoms at the ear.

Dealing with severe cranial/head symptoms adds a lot of stress to the body. Cranial Therapy specifically addresses the central nervous system and can reduce overall stress. Cranial Therapy does not need to replace another part of the treatment program but can be a wonderful addition to promote brain health.

Becoming a Cranial Therapy practitioner requires extensive training. Cranial Therapy can be practiced by Holistic Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists as well as some other types of body workers.

Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) for Concussion-related Headaches

Headaches and migraines are common symptoms following concussion injuries. These types of injuries, typically cause the spine to be out of alignment. Often, when someone experiences regular headaches, including severe migraine headaches, it is largely because of poor alignment of the spine following one or multiple injuries. One successful way of improving the health and posture of our body is with Integrative Manual Therapy or IMT. IMT is a type of gentle hands-on bodywork performed by some Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Chiropractors that are specially trained in this type of therapy.

When the spine is out of alignment, one thought would be to mobilize it back into a normal neutral position by using traditional Chiropractic or Physical Therapy. But this does not always work. Sometimes, there are underlying factors for why the spine is out of alignment. Consider the concept of a protective mode. When there is something in the body that is injured or weak, the body will commonly limit movement or mobility around that area ‘on purpose’ so that we don’t make the injured area worse by moving. Following a concussion head injury, the body will often ‘lock-up’ and limit spinal movement because the brain is in a weakened state and there is injury to the internal tissues of the head and neck. This is often the cause of why we feel ‘locked up’ in our low back. But when the body locks up to protect an area, this can cause a lot pain. Though the low back will often go into a protective mode, this can cause considerable neck and head symptoms. Most of our body’s movement stems from the low back. When the low back locks up, movement in our entire body is limited. This limitation of movement can contribute to headaches as well as neck and upper back stiffness and pain.

IMT can be very successful in identifying underlying reasons for why we are locked up in our spine. The IMT therapist is trained to find these areas and implement gentle, hands-on techniques to improve the health of these areas by promoting circulation to the area and drainage from the region, reducing tissue tension at the region and health of the injured tissues. By creating greater health in the protected area, the body requires less protection and the locked up area of the spine begins to loosen. At this point, as the spine is gentle mobilized, there are more long-lasting results in movement and pain, including a reduction in headaches.

The idea of treating the low back to reduce headaches may seem odd. We can consider the old children’s song, which has passed through the ages: “the neck bone’s connected to the head bone…” The body is complex and remarkable in the way that it ‘works’. In this case, the concept of a protective mode makes a lot of sense. Our bodies have a great capacity for healing. Equally, when our body is injured and we need to ‘function’, we have a great ability to compensate and protect ourselves. By improving the health of our body through body work we can feel better and return to a lifestyle that is unencumbered by headaches and other head injury related issues.

Similar to Cranial Therapy, Integrative Manual Therapy Practitioners require a lot of training and can be certified in IMT. IMT is practiced by many Holistic Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists and other body workers.

Check out this article recently published in Natural Nutmeg Magazine!

Are you ready to kiss your headaches goodbye?

holistic treatment for headaches

 

Headaches are a real challenge for so many of us. For some, we may choose to use over the counter medication to lessen the pain, but often, the headaches are regular… which means we are popping pills on a regular basis. Check out the following article link to learn about a more holistic approach to treating headaches with long lasting effects!

Article Link: Are You Ready to Kiss Your Headaches Goodbye?

 

An Alternative Approach to Neurologic Disease

 

Word association games can be tricky. An easy one relates to our American population. When we think of aging, for most of us, we generally imagine someone that is ill. Old age = degeneration. But the fact of the matter is, most of our elderly population is ill. It is amazing how many people in our country suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s and other neuro-degenerative disorders.

What if there was an approach and a lifestyle that could support improved health to the nervous system– to our brain and the rest of our body… a way to live and eat that would promote health and reduce overall inflammation and inflammation of our central nervous system?

Click on the link below to learn about an alternative approach to neurodegenerative disorders.

An Alternative Approach to Neurologic Disease and Neurotoxins

 

 

Cranial Therapy: A Manual Approach for Improved Health

Carol Gordon, PT, IMT,C

 

Cranial Therapy is a gentle hands-on therapy that can augment the health and regeneration of the nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord. It corrects tension patterns in the head and strengthens the cranial rhythm, which can reduce many different symptoms, including headaches and learning challenges as well as behavioral disorders. It can be an important component of a treatment program for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis. It can be used for a variety of other issues, including aggressive behaviors, hypersensitivity to sound, attention deficit, tinnitus, and so much more.

The cranial system houses our brain. Within the cranium, there is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which nourishes the brain and provides immune support, and layers of tissue, called meninges, that surround the brain and protect it from trauma and infection.

Motilities Provide Information on Health
For many years, the allopathic community believed that the sutures (joints) of the cranium solidified at a young age and no longer moved. We’ve since learned that, using very gentle cranial therapy techniques, movement can be felt on the head. This movement is called a motility. Motilities or biologic rhythms are movements that represent the physiologic health of specific tissues and systems. One example of a motility is our pulse, which reflects the health of our arterial system. Feeling the pulse on different parts of the body provides us with information about the circulatory health of that part of our body. There are many different motilities that can be felt on the body. Manual therapists practicing Cranial Therapy will monitor a patient’s cranial rhythm as part of the therapy.

Founded in the Late 1800s
The history of Cranial Therapy is derived from Cranial Osteopathy, which was founded by osteopath William Sutherland in the late 1800s. Dr. Sutherland recognized that the ends of a cranial bone located on each side of the head, called the temporal bone, were beveled. He hypothesized that the joint surfaces were beveled for a reason, “…beveled, like the gills of a fish, indicating articular mobility for a respiratory mechanism.” Dr. Sutherland identified an inhalation and exhalation movement (motility) in the cranium with a correlated movement at the sacrum.

Since his discoveries, the field of cranial osteopathy and cranial therapy has been furthered by many practitioners, including osteopathic
physician, John Upledger, who published a book on his version of cranial therapy, which he called Craniosacral Therapy – a discipline widely practiced today.

Integrative Manual Therapy: Increased Mobility, Decreased Pain, Better Health
Another developer who has contributed to the field of Cranial Therapy is Sharon Weiselfish-Giammatteo, PhD, PT, IMT,C. Her brand of cranial therapy is part of a larger field of study called Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT). Integrative Manual Therapy is a field of manual medicine that follows an integrated systems approach. This system takes into account that the body is comprised of many different systems, such as the circulatory system, the connective tissue system, bone, muscle, organs, and so on.

Any one of these systems can be compromised and lead to problems that can affect multiple systems. Practitioners who practice IMT, such as physical therapists, massage therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractic physicians, and others, use hands-on diagnostics to determine which areas in the body are restricted, and which systems are involved in those regions. Implementing specific IMT techniques, which are chosen based on the manual diagnostics, can lead to improved mobility, decreased pain, and a greater level of health.

Dr. Giammatteo’s doctoral studies focused on the adult neurologically impaired person as well as individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. During her research she discovered how to influence deeper neurologic tissues using manual therapy and specifically, cranial therapy. Cranial therapy as presented in the field of IMT is very comprehensive. Dr. Giammatteo’s contributions to the larger field of Cranial Therapy include discovery of multiple different motilities or rhythms that relate to the cranial system, beyond the general cranial rhythm. In addition, she developed many reflexogenic techniques to address neurologic dysfunction. This form of cranial therapy addresses superficial structures, such as the cranial bones and the meninges, as well as deeper structures, including the cortical lobes of the brain and even deeper subcortical tissues such as the thalamus, the pituitary gland, and the limbic system.

Improvements in Walking, Mental Clarity, Speech, Swallowing, Tremors and Much More
Cranial therapy can augment the health of our nervous system, which is a core component of all neurodegenerative disorders, including
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis. With these diseases there is a degeneration or breakdown of the nervous system in a part of the body or systemically. Cranial therapy can be an important component of a treatment program. Practitioners practicing cranial therapy on an individual with a neurodegenerative disorder can improve the health of the nervous system, which can lead to improvements in walking, mental clarity, speech, swallowing, tremors, and much more.

Alignment, Fatigue and Chronic Pain
People who suffer from neurodegenerative disorders generally have breakdowns in other systems as well, such as the circulatory system and the immune system. Often, there is biomechanical dysfunction, which means that the sacrum, pelvis, and spine are out of alignment. When the spine is out of alignment, this can contribute to problems with walking as well as fatigue syndromes and chronic pain. Using Integrative Manual Therapy to target other systems of the body can improve walking and reduce other symptoms as well as improve overall health.

Sound Sensitivity, ADHD, Tinnitus, Etc.
Cranial therapy can be used for a variety of other issues including aggressive behaviors, hypersensitivity to sound, attention deficit, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and so much more. For example, one commonly found pattern in adults with ringing in the ears, as well as in children with autism, is compression of the inner ear. Within the inner ear, there are multiple important structures for hearing, including the cochlea, ear drum, vestibular nerve, and more. When combined into the vestibular mechanism, these structures are not much larger then a peanut. They reside inside the ear, bordering the temporal bone. When there is severe compression, this peanut sized vestibular mechanism within the inner ear pushes up against the temporal bone. This can contribute to significant hypersensitivity to sound as well. Using cranial therapy, a therapist can decompress the inner ear which can lead to reduced signs and symptoms at the ear.

Aggressive Behavior
Another example is alleviation of aggressive behaviors, such as those commonly found in children on the autism spectrum or adults who have incurred traumatic brain injuries. Aggressive behaviors stem from a very specific part of the brain, the limbic system. The limbic system is the core part of our brain—the part that we share with animals—the reptilian brain. It’s the part of our brain associated with survival mode and rage response. When the limbic system is in a state of dysfunction a range of behaviors may surface, including self-injurious behavior, aggression, and obsessive compulsive behaviors. IMT and cranial therapy are wonderful tools to treat the limbic system when it is in a state of dysfunction.

Dealing with disease or severe cranial/head symptoms adds a lot of stress to the body. Cranial therapy specifically addresses the central nervous system and can reduce overall stress. Cranial therapy does not need to replace another part of the treatment program but can be a wonderful addition to promote neurologic health.