Osteopathic Medicine for Headaches

“Craniosacral manipulation is a very gentle manipulative technique that restores movement at the bone sutures and relieves seismic tension. This has the potential to eliminate the headaches and the need for medication dependence.” 

Dr. Robert Minkowsky

Headache: Seismic Tension in the Skull’s Plates

Chronic headache, whether tension, migraine, cluster or other, afflicts many individuals and can interfere with focus and the ability to function. Although symptoms are localized to the head, factors outside of the skull and brain are often responsible for headache or are major contributors to intractability and frequency.

Unfortunately, traditional allopathic medicine usually uses a band aid approach to headache, consisting solely of prescribing a wide variety of drug combinations to control pain. If you don’t have a brain tumor, stroke or infection doctors usually have no understanding of the multiple issues that help to create chronic headache.

The Osteopathic Approach

The osteopathic approach to headache is to put the symptom in the context of the entire body. In particular there are important muscular connections between the neck, shoulder and midback that tie into the skull.

Fascia, a membrane – like structure, connects the chest with the head. The dura, a membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord extends all the way from the skull to the low back and sacrum. Thinking of all of these connections as well as careful examination of these areas can be very helpful in the evaluation and treatment of chronic headache.

How The Solution Works

The skull and face are composed of 22 bones. The bones articulate together at sutures which resemble the fault lines in the earth’s crust separating tectonic plates. They are very convoluted and intricate, similar to a jigsaw puzzle. Osteopathic teaching, unlike traditional medicine, believes that there is a small amount of movement in the sutures. The craniosacral rhythm which is an alternating expanding and contractile movement in the nervous system depends on movement in the sutures. This rhythm can easily be felt in the skull as well as elsewhere in the body. Any locking in the sutures disrupts this rhythm and can build up pressure in the head similar to pressure build up in the earth’s crust along fault lines before an earthquake.

Clinically, this manifests as chronic headache or facial pain. Vertigo and tinnitus are also symptoms seen often. Head trauma, even many years ago, is often responsible for this persistent locking. Osteopaths perform craniosacral manipulation which is a very gentle manipulative technique to restore movement at the bone sutures, relieve the tension and help restore better cranial balance.

Thus, thoughtful examination of an individual with chronic headache through evaluation of the myriad number of connections that link the skull and brain to other areas of the body as well as direct treatment of the skull and craniosacral rhythm may eliminate headache and the need for medication dependence.

Doctors Irene and Robert Minkowsky

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