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How Does Craniosacral Therapy (CST) Help with Chronic and Acute Pain?


August 24, 2017

You might be asking, what is Craniosacral Therapy and how can it help with pain management? The practice of Craniosacral therapy was established by John Upledger in the 1970’s as an offshoot of cranial osteopathy. The term craniosacral refers to the cranium (skull) and the sacrum, a pelvic bone that connected to the spine. Craniosacral therapy (CST) is an alternative therapy that employs a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological system called the craniosacral system. This system is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. These work together to play a central role in the overall controlling functions of the body. As a result, when something goes wrong with this system, it can cause issues throughout the entire body.

Using a soft touch, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. Re-balancing of these structures  is oftentimes necessary even decades after injuries have occurred throughout the body. Many injuries hang on for years just because this system was never rebalanced following trauma.

How does Craniosacral Therapy help with chronics and acute pain? Let’s take an indepth look at what is chronic pain and acute pain?

What is Chronic Pain?

Pain that is considered chronic lasts more than three months. This type of pain is different than cutting your finger or injuring your knee while running. Chronic pain is usually more of a constant dull pain that never seems to heal, but can also commonly be experienced as pain that is throbbing, burning, shooting or stiffness.

Many people experience chronic pain after an injury that hasn’t been taken care of properly. When an injury is suffered, surrounding pain sensors send a signal from nerves to your brain. As an injury heals, the strenght and existence of these pain signals dissipate until they are no longer felt. However, in the case of chronic pain, the nerves do not stop transmitting these signals to the brain after the body has recovered.

Unfortunately, it is often to difficult to pinpoint the exact source of one’s chronic pain, which results in making effective treatment often a process of trial and error. When left untreated or ineffectively treated, this ongoing discomfort can make it difficult for a person to function on a daily basis. This interference with the performance of routine activities can often lead to mental health issues as pain is intertwined with emotions such as anger, depression, fear, etc.

While finding the right treatment might be difficult to find, it is not possible. The following are regularly causes of chronic pain, though there are many others. If you have any of these consider using CST to manage and eventually eliminate pain:
  • Back problems
  • Neck problems
  • Past, untreated injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines
  • Infections
  • Nerve Damage

Acute Pain

Acute pain is classified differently than chronic pain because of the duration. Acute pain typically lasts less than three to six months and is related to soft tissue damage such as scrape or a sprain. Unlike chronic pain, acute pain goes through the typical process of subsiding as an injury heals. It is usually experienced as a sharp, more severe discomfort. The pain can easily be assigned to an existing trauma and more easily addressed.

How Craniosacral Therapy Helps

The membranes and fluids that surround the central nervous system are subjected to strains throughout daily activities. Overtime, this can cause the craniosacral system to develop tensions that restrict the body’s ability to function naturally. Craniosacral therapy attempts to restore the area around the brain and spinal cord to its optimal and balanced state easing discomfort and pain.

By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, such as:  
  • Migraines/Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Concussions
  • Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Stress/ Tension-Related Issues
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
  • Neurovascular Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Pelvic Pain
Craniosacral therapists use the rhythm of your body to create a healing blood flow. Often times their work releases trapped traumas from physical injuries, emotional and psychological stresses throughout the individual's life. There are many individuals who have been told that there condition is genetic or caused by stress, and if no effective treatment has been found for them, they may have to learn to live with it. There may still be hope and opportunity in the form craniosacral work even if the issue seems to be circulatory based. Seemingly unrelated issues may continue to return with after other treatments because the root of the problem in the central nervous system has not been addressed.                                                                                                                                                                                   
This is a specialized type of treatment, and Body Image Physical Therapy has several practitioners who have used this as part of their normal physical therapy practice for over 25 years. Many patients have had great results after adding craniosacral therapy to their treatment plan. A craniosacral session is generally 45-60 minutes in length, and is considered a normal part of physical therapy services/sessions, and is therefore covered by insurance.  

Contact Body Image Physical Therapy today at 720-870-8900 or fill out our contact form on the website to get help living the life you love, pain free. We are the experts in physical therapy and Craniosacral therapy in Aurora. We offer a wide range of both traditional and alternative treatments aimed serving the community with the highest standards of care. No matter what you are experiencing, we are here to help you recover. We look forward to working with you soon!
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