Chronic pain can be very disabling and causes many to feel hopeless. Those suffering from chronic pain must deal with a range of symptoms from constant mild irritation to relentless suffering. It can affect the entire body or be localized. Often people with chronic pain have trouble getting the relief and care they need. Sometimes the healthcare providers are unable to find a cause and end up chasing the symptoms.
In chronic pain, the body has become hypersensitive to any stimulus, the pain receptors and pathways overreact at the site of injury. Sometimes areas within the central nervous system and spinal cord also become hyperactive adapt to the influx of communique from the pain receptors.
The body tissues add layer upon layer of compensation to pain stimulates. These compensations are
The fascia in the area becomes thick and tight, adding pressure on nerve receptors, the vascular system and the muscles in that area.
Any organs along the nerve pathway may also become over stimulated or decrease function.
The effects of chronic pain can snowball, truly making life more and more challenging. Eventually stress responses increase and the person becomes stuck in hypervigilant, fight and flight mode. The sympathetic nervous system starts to overpower the parasympathetic aspect of the nervous system. So more and more time is spent in the sympathetic and less time spent in the parasympathetic state.
Multiple avenues of healing need to be used and should include some of the following. Diet therapy to give the body the nutrients it needs to self-heal. Physical therapy to help with exercise, strength, and alignment. Tai Chi or qigong are very effective for strengthening the body and also easing pain and stress. Mindfulness practices or psychotherapy to help with stress and emotional challenges. And the most important avenue of healing, craniosacral therapy.
Craniosacral therapy is such an important aspect of healing from chronic pain because it address multiple aspects of the physiology behind the over-sensitized feedback loop involved in chronic pain. A craniosacral therapist is able to relieve the pressure on the nerves, calm the pain receptors, increase blood flow, calm down the stress response. And importantly the therapy decreases the time spent in flight and flight and increases the time spend in rest and digest mode. The therapist is able to identify the pain pathway and treats the original trauma and tissues involved to empower the body to heal.
What makes Craniosacral Therapy so unique is that it is a very gentle manual therapy that uses light touch and specialized techniques to pinpoint origins of trauma in the body and release the patterns of dysfunctions in such a way that they melt away dysfunctions rather than using invasive pressure that can cause more injury or illicit a defensive reaction from the tissue. The soft touch of the therapy engages the parasympathetic nervous system and the body starts to self correct. It is important to release the effects of trauma in the body with gentle techniques so the body is able to naturally let go of the trauma in an efficient way. This is why craniosacral treatments are lasting and effective.
The path out of the pain is possible, but it requires the commitment to lifestyle changes and manual therapies. The key manual therapy for recovery is craniosacral therapy and it is the best first approach. The more manual therapy the greater pain relief and ease of body use, which will help to make the nutritional and lifestyle changes to help the body recover. Often regular treatments are needed for the first few weeks, then treatments farther apart for continued relief and maintenance.
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Twin Cities CranioSacral
Janet Crow MS, CMT, CST-T
557 West 7th Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102