Transitional Healing

Facilitating Life’s Transitions

Archive for the ‘Craniosacral’ Category

Scar Tissue and Cesarean Birth ( C-Section )

Posted by Angela on March 30, 2007

Over my years of private practice I have treated countless women who experience low back pain.  Their pain has all been similar by a description of pain in the buttocks, sacrum and along the crest of the hips in the back.  A good portion of these women have had children delivered via cesarean (c-section), with resulting prominent scar tissue just above the pubic bone.  Through palpation I have found their lower abdominal region armoured, with very little fascial and tissue glide. 

Through further assessment I found that by stretching or pulling the scar tissue it will typically refer pain into either one or both hip flexors.  The hip flexors or psoas musscles originate at the lumbar vertabrae T12-L5 (your lower back).  The insertion point (or other end) of this muscle is at the lessor trochanter of the femur or in your groin.  When one hip flexor is hypertonic it will typically cause the lower lumbar spine to laterally flex.   As a result pain is manifested, typically either sciatic pain or lower back pain. 

Another symptom I have seen with these clients who have had c-sections is that they may have issues with lower digestion such as irritable bowel syndrome or elimination difficulties.  Again, the tightening created by the scar tissue pulls within the abdominal cavity and thus affects the organs.

Bottom line, typically the scar tissue that formed after the c-section has tightened and pulled their bodies our of balance and the symptoms of pain in the back really originates  in the abdomen.  Fortunately there is a solution that works for most women.  Myofascial and craniosacral help unwind or release the pulling from the scar tissue in the pelvic floor.  The hip flexor(s) can then return to balance or homeostasis.  This relaxation of the tight lower abdominal tissue relieves pressure off of the low back, increases leg movement, and typically relieves pain. 

— Michael

 

Posted in Bodywork Modalities, Chronic Pain, Craniosacral, Healing, Health, Scar Tissue | 236 Comments »

Carpal Tunnel and treatment with Craniosacral Therapy

Posted by Michael on March 26, 2007

Carpal tunnel syndrome manifests many symptoms, including fatigue, pain, and weakness of grip, loss of dexterity, stiffness, cramping, numbness, cold, and burning.  Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)  may take years to develop and often progresses rapidly if ignored.  This syndrome is often brought on through repetitive use, improper ergonomics, and bad body mechanics.  If CTS goes untreated, loss of work and income often follow.  It has been estimated that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects approximately 1% of the U.S. population.  It is estimated that 1 million surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrome are performed each and every year.  Often overwhelming demands and stress at work contribute to the syndrome.   Reducing or managing stress, proper ergonomics, frequent stretching and positional changes can all help to reduce or prevent repetitive injuries. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome usually affects the median nerve between the carpal bones of the hand or hands.  Other factors that can cause or contributre to carpal tunnel syndrome are edema or water retention in the hands or wrist area, subluxsation or misalignment of the carpal bones in the hand, and Myofascial hyper tonicity (tightness in the fascia of the wrist and arm)

There are other injuries that can cause or mimic carpal tunnel pain. Other potential causes or contributors include neck injuries, such as a bulging or herniated discs, shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff problems, and arthritis and tendonitis.  Thoracic outlet syndrome, which is caused by nerve impingement or a lack of or blood supply due to tight muscles in the neck or chest region can also mimic or contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.

The most common first aid treatment is drug therapy.  The use of anti-inflammatory and rest reduces swelling and pressure on the median nerve, resulting in the return of proper wrist function.  In very advanced cases surgery is an option. It does seem that with the dramatic increase in surgeries that the possibility exists that surgery options are promoted too often and too soon in the course of treatment. 

Even with the dramatic numbers of surgeries, there are many – both clients and physicians – who explore alternative health solutions prior to surgery.  Massage therapy is probably the most often recommended alternative therapy for many types of repetitive strain injuries, and can help in many cases with carpal tunnel syndrom.   Massage has the ability to reduce swelling, remove toxins from the injured site, stretch and release traumatized tissue.  All this is done safely and without drug or surgery side effects. 

Craniosacral and Myofascial Therapies are also indicated for carpal tunnel syndrome.  The therapeutic light pressure of these treatments allows the body to unwind congested fascia around the injured area.  Fascia wraps muscle unit and fiber, muscle fibril and fascicle, and each muscle cell.  This ensheathing layer also wraps the nerves that accompany muscle movement.  So it makes sense that safely unwinding this tissue thorough fascial therapy will result in decreased pain and improved range of motion.

Posted in Craniosacral, Healing, Health, Injury Prevention | 2 Comments »

Common Back Pain and Craniosacral

Posted by Michael on March 20, 2007

Low back pain is a very common condition in our society.  There are literally countless ways that our bodies manifest back pain. The low back conditions I see most in my private practice are usually manifested from a few main causes.

The first is occupational posture syndrome, caused by sitting for long periods of time, improper body mechanics, and occupational stress (both emotional and physical).  Sometimes it’s the way we sit at our computers, such as sitting on our wallets, sitting with one leg under our buttocks,  or an setup that  leads us to often sit with the weight of our body to one side or the other.   Any emotionally stressful situations that may occur while we are already in a compromised physical position work like synergy and exponentially increase the physiological impact.   All of these scenarios may cause and/or contribute to hip rotation and low back discomfort.

The second important cause of low back pain is bad exercise habits. No argument that exercising is a good thing for mind, body, and spirit, but improper exercise can be harmful. Bad exercise habits may cause back pain by pushing our bodies beyond tolerable levels, faulty loading, (exercising only one side of the body or one part of the body while ignoring the rest), poor body mechanics during exercise routines, and exercising when pain is present. 

A third common cause of back pain can result from car accidents, often resulting in whiplash injuries. Whiplash is a traumatic event that causes the head to move swiftly in one direction and then back into an opposing direction. Whiplash injuries are not to be taken lightly. They can cause significant damage to the ligaments of the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid back), and the lumbar region (lower back). Along with ligament damage, the vertebral discs of the spinal column and joints can be compromised. One of the main reasons why whiplash is so devastating to the body is that often you are in a somewhat relaxed state prior to the injury and you are not prepared for sudden impact or trauma. The muscle tissue of the body is somewhat relaxed or supple, which allows more force to internal structures of the body such as ligaments, tendons, discs, joints, and bones. 

Craniosacral Therapy can have a positive effect on relieving low, mid, and upper back discomfort. This profound therapy intimately works with the fight or flight syndrome of the central nervous system to help release the negative holding patterns that our body has created in response to the traumas of work, play, personal injury. Many of my clients have experienced relief after as little as one session. 

Posted in Bodywork Modalities, Chronic Pain, Craniosacral, Exercise, Healing, Health, Injury Prevention, Life, Stress | Leave a Comment »

The Limbic System – Part 1

Posted by Michael on March 16, 2007

I would like to present a series of articles on the limbic system of the body, which I believe has a direct influence on our body’s tissue integrity and overall homeostasis of the human body.  The limbic system is located between the cerebrum and the diencephalon of the interbrain.  The limbic system is involved in our body’s ability to process emotions and behavioral patterns.  The Limbic system is comprised of several different  nuclei.  The first of these that we will examine is the hippocampus.

The hippocampus which is shaped like a sea horse and located under the lateral ventricles.  The hippocampus nuclei are contribute to functions in learning and the formation of long term memory.  The hippocampus also includes regions that stimulate the reticular formation, which is a network that extends along the brain stem and helps govern our sleep-wake cycle. 

The stresses of life can cause the hippocampus to become too active (hyper) or not active enough (hypo).  Hyper or hypo functions of the hippocampus can disrupt normal functionality including monitoring the sleep-wake cycle.  If our sleep-wake cycle is disrupted we typically do not get the rest we need and chemicals in our brain may become out of balance.  As a result we may reduce our capacity to fully repair and revitalize connective tissue, muscle tissue, and  even our ability to focus and retain memory.  We may not realize all of the areas impacted by a hypo or hyper hippocampus, in fact we may just be left feeing depleted and out of sorts – with no idea of the root cause.

There are specific techniques for balancing the hippocampus and other nuclei of the brain.  This advanced level brain release work combined with craniosacral therapy can help restore proper balance within the brain, the cranium, and the spinal column which affects our overall health and well-being.

Posted in Advanced Brain Work, Bodywork Modalities, Craniosacral, Healing, Health, Stress | 3 Comments »

Craniosacral Therapy for reducing Scar Tissue Pain

Posted by Michael on March 13, 2007

The body has the ability to heal itself after surgery.  The body produces connective tissue, adhesions and collagen, to replace the damaged compromised tissue from the result of an incision to the skin. This natural phenomenon causes the formation of scar tissue.  Scar tissue replaces damaged cells at the site of the incision or injury.  Skin scar tissue is different than deep fascial scar tissue.  Skin scar tissue lacks in pigmentation and hair follicles.  Deep scar tissue in the fascial layers of the body develops adhesions or spider like web threads to help the body heal and recover.

There can be a potential problem in the development of scar tissue. The problem lies when scar tissue and adhesions go unchecked over the years.  The scar tissue and adhesions start attaching themselves to bones, arteries, veins, nerves, and organs.  This phenomenon alone can cause dysfunction in the homeostasis of the body and possibly manifest into further complications in our body’s internal health as we age.  In addition I have witnessed in my practice patient’s scar tissue developing over periods of time causing spinal curvature (scoliosis), rotated hips manifesting in sciatic pain and lower extremity discomfort, shoulder displacement causing rotator cuff problems, and cervical or neck problems manifesting in a variety of neck and headache pain.  Scar tissue can and will cause loss of range of motion making simple job and home activities difficult to perform.   In addition there have been preliminary studies showing that manual therapies such as Craniosacral therapy can relive the discomforts and problematic symptoms in the Ureogential region after “C” section deliveries.  One of the most profound areas of relief from scar tissue is a patient who has had open-heart surgery.  I myself have recovered from open-heart surgery.  I receive scar and adhesion therapy once a month for the last 10 years.  My primary care doctor concurs that the manual therapy I receive keeps my body anatomically correct, allows my body full range of motion without pain and discomfort in the soft tissue.

Over many years in my practice I have found that Craniosacral therapy has had a profound positive effect on relieving the discomfort of scar tissue formed in the body. In addition Craniosacral therapy has afforded my patients/clients increased range of motion, the reduction of adhesions and pain in the sub acute stage after a surgical procedure.

Posted in Chronic Pain, Craniosacral, Healing, Health, Scar Tissue | 83 Comments »

Dreaming to Wellness

Posted by Angela on March 9, 2007

Scientists are learning more and more about our dream life and utilization of dream interpretation in achieving health and balance in our lives.  Dreams have many layers of interpretation – that is part of the wonder of symbolic language.  For example dreaming of a suitcase could literally mean travel, or it could be that you are preparing to embark upon a spiritual journey of personal growth; along with many other layers.

Dr. Jeremy Taylor works with the thesis that all dreams come in the service of health and wholeness. By exploring dreams we can often unearth early warning signs of potential or developing health issues.  What are your dreams telling you?  Exploring your dreams with others often mirrors back to you a deeper or different meaning to your dream.  You as the dreamer are the only one who will know if a suggested meaning is true – often you will have an ‘aha’ or deep sense of Yes, that’s it.  Most often the dream is reminding you of something that you already know on some level – the ‘aha’ is often recognition and brings light and attention to the topic.

I was led to explore dreamwork more deeply as I found clients wanting to discuss dreams during craniosacral or sacred massage sessions.  Perhaps the relaxed state allows someone to be willing to gently explore the possibilities, perhaps my training with symbolic language attracts them to want to discuss dream symbology – for whatever reason clients who choose to open up and discuss their dreams typically report back at the next session the incredibly difference dream exploration makes in their lives. 

So what have you been dreaming?

Posted in Archetypes, Craniosacral, Healing, Health, Life, Transitions | Leave a Comment »

Winter Stress Relievers

Posted by Angela on January 15, 2007

We are now well into Winter – and what an interesting and unusual and  sadly in some cases tragic winter it has been so far!   I have a feeling that we better hold on because there is likely more to come. 

If Winter blahs or stress is getting to you here are some of our favorite ways to beat them:

  • Get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the  winter wonderland (of course dress warmly and make sure you have a good emergency survival pack in your car)
  • Get together with friends and enjoy a movie
  • Michael says his favorite three options are  1. Chardonney 2. Merlot 3. Cabernet (all of which would lead to one of my options, which is to take a nap).  Of course we all know to limit our alcohol intake 8)
  • Get plenty of light – either direct or through full spectrum lighting
  • Get plenty of rest to replenish the neurotransmitter chemicals in your brain (such as seratonin)
  • Embrace the joy of life -however that applies to you 🙂
  • Get a Massage – or better yet, A Craniosacral Therapy Session!

We also found a wonderful addition to our stress relieving tool bag this winter.  It is the  Shealy Relax-Mate II  developed  by Dr. C. Norman Shealy.  I had the honor of meeting Dr. Shealy last fall and was so impressed with his lecture that I wanted to try the Relax-Mate II.  Both Michael and I have found it to help us in many ways including better sleep, more calm and relaxed during the day, and overall boosts our feeling of well-being and attitude about life.

Of course we both also really support the theory “Laughter is the Best Medicine” – and life around our house gets downright jovial – especially when we spend more time inside in the winter months. 

Posted in Craniosacral, Life, Stress | 3 Comments »

Craniosacral Therapy

Posted by Angela on January 13, 2007

Craniosacral Therapy is a bodywork modality that was originally developed by Osteopathic Physician Dr. William Sutherland.  It is an exceptionally gentle yet extremely powerful form of treatment that can be helpful to most people and most conditions – from minor aches and pains to severe and persistent chronic health problems.  Craniosacral Therapy has the potential to tranform patterns of restriction and resistance in our lives at a very fundamental level, thereby reducing, and in many cases even eliminating disease and restoring health.  The level of benefit that you may receive from a Craniosacral Session varies depending on a number of factors from the level of expertise of the practitioner to the level of trust and readiness of the client.

Posted in Bodywork Modalities, Craniosacral, Healing | 2 Comments »