A Guide to Natural Medicine

Relieving Migraine Pain with CranioSacral Therapy

For many people, migraine headaches can be severely debilitating. One holistic alternative to consider in treating your migraine is to employ the use of a practitioner skilled in the art of CranioSacral therapy. This form of treatment which has its origins in osteopathy and osteopathic manipulation can be very effective in the treatment of migraine headaches. In one study, twenty people underwent CranioSacral therapy for approximately four weeks. At the end of the study period, the participants reported a decrease in the migraine symptoms compared to before the treatments began.

The objective of CranioSacral therapy is to allow the nervous system to work as efficiently as possible. Just as the rest of your skeletal system, including your bones and joints are subject to the daily stresses and strains that can cause your skeleton to go out of alignment, the same is also true for the structures that protect the brain and spinal cord. Alterations in the alignment of your “brain and spinal cord skeleton” can adversely affect the functioning of the nervous system. Our understanding of the cause of migraines focuses on migraines being a “brain disorder” and dysfunction of the CranioSacral System can contribute to the development of migraine headaches.

In essence, CranioSacral Therapy involves the gentle massage of the skull as well as the lower back (spine and sacrum) to free up areas of tension, promote the natural flow of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and get your CranioSacral System into alignment. If you have any history of head or neck trauma, this may not be applicable to your own personal situation.

If you have migraine headaches that have been refractory to treatments, or if you are experiencing more frequent headaches, you should strongly consider working with a practitioner of CranioSacral Therapy.

By: Dr. Rich Snyder, DO


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  • Amadottir TS, Sigurdadottir AK. “Is craniosacral therapy effective for migraine? Tested with HIT-6 Questionnaire.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2013 Feb; 19(1):11-4.
  • Harrison RE, Page RS. “Multipractitioner Upledger CranioSacral Therapy: descriptive outcome study 2007-2008.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2011 Jan; 17(1):13-7.
  • Hoffmann J. “Recent advances in headache research.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 2011 Oct;11(10):1379-81.
  • Hoffman, J, Magis D. “Scientific advances in headache research: an update on neurostimulation.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 2013 Jan;13(1):15-7.
  • upledger.com/findapractitioner.asp.

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