Chronic Neck Pain: A Common Complaint to be Conquered

A recent study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain cited that 1 in 2 people experience neck pain in their lifetime. Hearing this staggering statistic made us ask, "Do patients know what to do when neck pain hits?"  When you find yourself with sudden muscle tension, stiffness and decreased range of motion, it is a real, well...pain in the neck. Most importantly, it should not be masked with pain killers and left to become a chronic problem. 

Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is just one of the many tools in the osteopathic toolbox and when it is used correctly, it has been shown to improve not only the physical condition, but the emotional and mental condition of the patient, as well. The study mentioned  in our opener set out to prove this exact point. The study remarks "CST was shown to be specifically effective and safe in reducing neck pain intensity and may improve the functional disability and the quality of life up to 3 months after the intervention." Particularly in chronic and recurrent neck pain, CST shows these positive effects.

Dr. Auburn performs craniosacral therapy on a staff member at the 2016 Annual Open House.  Photo Credit: Chantal Elise Photography

Dr. Auburn performs craniosacral therapy on a staff member at the 2016 Annual Open House. Photo Credit: Chantal Elise Photography

One of the most important aspects of this treatment is that it will generally be performed by an osteopathic doctor. A DO, or doctor of osteopathy, has completed the required training of an MD along with additional special training in the musculoskeletal system, your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones. The American Osteopathic Association says "Osteopathic physicians focus on prevention, tuning into how a patient’s lifestyle and environment can impact their well being. DOs strive to help their patients be truly healthy in mind, body and spirit — not just free of symptoms."

Your DO may first assess for musculoskeletal imbalances throughout your entire system. After all, the benefits of CST will not be optimized unless other imbalances are also addressed. Once your practitioner begins CST, they will use their trained hands and other senses to diagnose and treat issues in the muscles and soft tissues surrounding the skull. They may lightly manipulate and gently apply pressure to areas of the skull. The doctor will be working with the rhythmic movements of not only the bones of the cranium, but also use touch and light palpation to regulate the flow of cerebral spinal fluid at the base of the skull for a therapeutic effect.

If you would like to learn more about craniosacral therapy and/or osteopathic manipulative medicine, feel free to contact our office directly or leave your questions in the comments section below!