What does Craniosacral Therapy do to help with concussions?

This is the 4th in a series of blog posts where Certified Athletic Therapist - Alex Barton and Certified Craniosacral Therapist - Liw Bringelson discuss concussions, and explain what we can do to help before and after your concussion.

Why Craniosacral Therapy?

Healing from a concussion is an important and complex process.  Craniosacral therapy (CST) can help in both general and localized ways.  

As mentioned in the previous blog post, at the general level CST allows the body and nervous system, which has been shaken up by the impact and trauma of the injury, to “re-set”.  This reset allows the body to heal, from a more balanced place.  For example, if you’ve had a significant injury such as a broken bone, the first thing to do is to set the bone, so that it can heal in the correct position.  In the case of a concussion, there isn’t a broken bone, but the principle of restoring the body and nervous system to “balance” still applies.  It is important to allow all systems in the body to get back into pre-injury position to allow the healing to take place.

At the localized level, Craniosacral Therapy can support your body to release tension in the soft tissues which can then allow the bones in your skull (aka cranium) to realign.   For example, if you’ve fallen backwards and hit your head on the ice -- not only has your brain experienced a collision inside your skull, but your parietal bones may have jammed into the frontal bone.

Jamming the bones into each other creates a restriction in the frontal suture, which means the bones are not able to move in a healthy manner with relationship to each other.  CST can release this restriction, and allow the bones to move better.  When the bones of the skull are able to articulate, the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid can happen more efficiently, thereby facilitating the healing process of your brain within the skull.  

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For more information about CST, how we can help you or to book an appointment please email Liw (findingquiet@gmail.com) or call (705) 446-5828.

Concussion Blog Series: What can WE, your therapy team, do to help with concussions?

This is the 3rd in a series of blog posts where Certified Athletic Therapist - Alex Barton and Certified Craniosacral Therapist - Liw Bringelson discuss concussions, and explain what we can do to help before and after your concussion.

If you have experienced a significant blow to the head, take it seriously!  Our bodies are complex systems, and while we may be able to “shake off” an injury, there can be long-term, significant effects.  If you have “bumped your head”, “had your bell rung”, “are seeing stars” then you may have experienced a head injury.  As we discussed in the first post of this series, there are many types of symptoms that may happen with a concussion.The first thing to do after experiencing a head injury is to seek out a professional opinion.  

As a Certified Athletic Therapist (Alex Barton), one of the most important parts of my job is in assisting players to identify concussion symptoms.  Based on what I see, from the sidelines, I can help the athlete and others around them to make informed decisions about continued playing and treatment.

The first thing to do after experiencing a head injury is to see your doctor for a full diagnosis.  Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may suggest changing your daily routine to support brain healing and recovery from your injury.  For example, one challenge in today’s world is to avoid screens (phones, computers, TVs).  There are therapies and protocols which may assist in supporting you and your brain to heal.

After receiving the diagnosis, you can work with the Synergy Health and Wellness team to determine appropriate treatment and rehabilitation plan to return to regular daily activities and get back to competition.  

As discussed in the last blog (click here), Alex Barton, Athletic Therapist has completed specialized training through the The Shift Concussion Management Program (SCMP) which allows her to properly assess concussions, interpret results and rehabilitate. This testing protocol  helps to better diagnose the concussion so we can understand what the problem is. If we can better understand the problem, we are able to recommend more specific treatment.

For example, if you were diagnosed with a knee injury, a generic knee strengthening program would allow you to get better, but it would probably take longer. Alternatively, if we are able to more specifically identify the injury, such as a 2nd degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL), then we would be able to give you a more specific rehabilitation program.  That is what ImPACT and SCMP allows Alex to do!

In addition to a more specific rehabilitation program, we can support your brain and central nervous system to rebalance and repair itself through Craniosacral Therapy.  Liw Bringelson provides this form of light-touch bodywork, which supports your central nervous system to “re-set” and then the healing can progress from a state of balance.

The combination of Craniosacral Therapy and Athletic Therapy provides the best environment for you and your brain to heal from a concussion or traumatic brain injury.   

For more information about how we can help you or to book an appointment please email (alexbarton@synergywellnesscentre.com or findingquiet@gmail.com) or call (705) 446-5828.

Managing Pain from a Yogic Perspective Written by Joanne Pineau, Certified Yoga Therapist

 

Even after the body has healed itself or when there is nothing seemingly wrong with the body, we can still be in pain. Why is that?

Not too long ago an older man came to see me in my studio for the first time. His shoulders were slumped forward, his breathing shallow and his skin pale. Not what you’d expect from the president of a property management firm. “This year has been rough” he said. He goes on to tell me that he’s never done yoga but his wife has and she thought I could help him.

Many years of 80 hour work weeks finally took its toll on his body. Diagnosed with fibromyalgia and put on pain medication when his back gave out left him fragile and weak.  After a series of tests on his heart and his spine the Specialists told him there was nothing physically wrong with him.

He was in pain but they couldn’t find any evidence of it in his body. The pain was affecting how he was breathing, his self-confidence and affecting his ability to focus and work.

If you are experiencing chronic pain your nervous system is wound up; it is acting as if you need more and more protection. It has become hypersensitive. Sometimes it’s the result of an injury where you continue to protect the area even after it’s healed (fear).  

Sometimes, like my client, it’s many years of stress where the nervous system has been on high alert, and like an electrical panel where the demand has exceeded its capacity, it has short circuited (energy drain).

From a yogic perspective our body, mind and spirit are interconnected. One affects the other so that everything we do matters including what we think, feel, eat and how we act. The good news is that we can change these things and when we do our health will improve. Following are some tips to help you handle pain:

Slow down.

Yoga can teach you to slow down, to be more conscious in your body and in your life. When you slow down you start to see how your thought and behavior patterns may have contributed to the situation you are now in.

Become more aware.

Regulate your thought patterns and emotions.  Note whether they are helpful or impeding to you. Challenge your thoughts. Ask yourself: “Do I really believe this?”

Reset your nervous system.

Pain is not an accurate indication of tissue health or tissue healing. A paper cut can be painful. With patience and compassion you can reset your nervous system to the way it was before the injury and increase your pain threshold gradually.

Ask yourself: “How dangerous is this REALLY?” Moving just a little further than your pain threshold will help to de-sensitize the nervous system. Move mindfully and breathe into the pain deeply and slowly. Make sure that you proceed slowly, gradually and mindfully and ask yourself if you will you will regret this tomorrow; if so don’t do it.

Learn to relax the body.

Deep belly breathing is the quickest way to start relaxing and unwinding the body. It sends a signal to the nervous system through the vagus nerve in the digestive tract, that everything is alright and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (the relaxation response). Make the exhale longer than the inhale. Progressively tighten and relax the different muscle groups in your body. Do it slowly and breathe while you are holding the contraction.

Set some goals for yourself. 

I once asked a young nursing student with brain cancer what she’d like to do after the chemotherapy treatments. She was thrilled with the question. It changed her mind set. Other than being free of pain, ask yourself “What will I do when I’m feeling better?”

Practice compassion.

Appreciate your body and practice compassion for yourself and others.