Safe Harbour Therapy Podcast – Episode 8: Not Tonight, I have a Headache with Elizabeth Karchut
written by Elizabeth Karchut (Craniosacral Practitioner) on 10/10/19
Do you suffer with Chronic Headaches?
How do you treat your Headaches? Do you take the “Band-Aid” approach and pop a pain pill? The yearly sales of Ibuprofen in North America is a 1.1 billion dollar business. In other words there are many people who are treating a symptom as opposed to looking at the root cause. While taking a pain medication might give you temporary relief, these medications can have significant negative side effects long term.
Wouldn’t it be great to say goodbye to these energy suckers? So let’s talk about the Root Cause of your headache. An individual can experience headaches for any number of reasons, including stress, stationary positioning in front of a computer, and muscle tightness causing decreased range of motion in the neck and head. Other contributing factors could include improper alignment of the jaw (including grinding, clenching and TMJ issues), lower back problems, hormonal factors, a car accident, a change in vision, dehydration, nutritional deficiencies or some other disease process.
Craniosacral therapy – is a very effective option for headaches & the contributing factors. It is a gentle light-touch therapy that supports the body’s own healing resources. The craniosacral system, which extends from the cranium to the sacrum and coccyx(tail bone), houses the central nervous system (CNS). Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is formed in the brain and flows within the dural membrane (one of the 3 protective layers of the CNS), covering our bones, joints, and the sutures that interconnect those bones, in a rhythmic rise-and-fall of fluid volume and pressure. Acting as a “shock absorber,” the CSF delivers nutrients and washes away waste products from the metabolic processes.
Our bodies have many different rhythms and are constantly in motion. In the same way that we refer to a “resting heart rate” or our “resting respiratory rate,” our cranial rhythmic impulse (flow of the cerebrospinal fluid) usually manifests between 6-12 cycles per minute. Through gentle palpation, a trained craniosacral therapist can use this rhythm as both an evaluative and therapeutic tool.
Tension in the membranes can disrupt the cranial rhythm. Therapists are trained to feel and monitor changes in the body by placing their hands in the areas that are the source of dysfunction, and following the body’s cues as it works to release the tensions that are causing pain. Nerve endings in our skin send messages to the brain that stimulate a response either to pain or pleasure. A therapist’s gentle, non-invasive touch in a painful area allows the body to respond and relax, whereas firm touch activates neuromuscular tension and stress patterns, preventing the ability to affect this very deep core system. Using the gentle method, therapists are therefore able to feel changes in different anatomical structures in the body, bones, soft tissue, membranes, and fluids.
If you suffer from recurring headaches or migraine, craniosacral therapy can be a safe and effective alternative to prescription medication. Its gentle touch can help release the emotional and physical imbalances that have been stored in the body’s membranes and connective tissue, enabling the central nervous system to perform optimally.
The Picture below is a great representation to demonstrate that a headache’s starting point is not necessarily initiated in the head/neck but can be coming from a dysfunction in the Sacral/Pelvic area. The cranium and the pelvis are ‘bowls’ in the body that reflect distortions in one another and down the spine, affecting the whole system. In CST we can affect the whole body by working with the bones in the skull. Even misalignments in the jaw discovered during dental work can be reflected in the pelvis and vice versa.