Chronic pain afflicts diabetics and non-diabetics alike, though diabetics can be more at risk. Where the pain relates to your back or head, craniosacral therapy (CST) may be an effective treatment.
Many of us diabetics suffer from a variety of pains and medical annoyances such as:
- migraines and headaches
- stress and tension
- chronic (persistent) neck and back pain
- disorders of the central nervous system
- orthopaedic problems, or problems relating to bones, tendons and ligaments
- fibromyalgia, a rheumatic condition that causes pain in the muscles and bones
- temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD), pain due to dysfunction of the muscles that move the jaw and the joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull
These conditions are not confined to type 2 diabetics.
The convention medical approach is to use pharmaceutical medicines or surgical intervention to alleviate these conditions.
But these conditions can be relieved in a way that avoids the use of drugs or surgery.
The dural pulse
The dural tube is a membrane surrounding your spinal cord that is filled with cerebral spinal fluid. The fluid moves in a regular rhythm … at 6 to 12 beats per minute … called the dural pulse.
The dural pulse, which was discovered in the 1970s, should have a steady beat like your heartbeat. Its natural rhythm however can be upset by physical injury and emotional stress.
The result can be one or more of the painful and debilitating conditions described above.
To alleviate these conditions, a non-invasive therapy, called craniosacral therapy (CST), was developed by the medical team that first discovered the dural pulse. It seems to be effective.
Craniosacral therapy (CST)
The sacrum is a triangular bone between the two hip bones of the pelvis in the lower back. The cranium is the skull, especially the part that encloses the brain.
The craniosacral system stretches from the skull to the bottom of the spine. It consists of the membranes and spinal fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord, as well as the connective tissues and bones attached to these membranes.
In craniosacral therapy (CST), a therapist manipulates the craniosacral system using gentle pressure to stimulate the flow of spinal fluid. The idea is to release restrictions that prevent the spinal fluid flowing freely and so restore the proper functioning of the nervous system.
During a CST session, you lie on your back. The therapist feels around your skull, spine and ribcage looking for places where muscles are stiff and motion is restricted. Then he or she uses very gentle finger pressure to help the muscles around these areas to relax. The experience is said to be pleasant and calming.
There are several 100,000 trained craniosacral therapists practising in North America and Europe and the technique has proved to be safe.
But how effective is craniosacral therapy?
Effectiveness of craniosacral therapy
Clinical studies have shown that CST can be beneficial for persons suffering from chronic pain.
In a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine in 1999, researchers found CST reduced levels of pain and the need for medication.
In an overview of seven studies published in the same journal in December 2012, researchers found that CST increased the quality of life and sense of wellbeing of patients.
Other studies have shown that CST calms aggressive behaviour in patients with dementia and improves sleep in persons with fibromyalgia.
In a very recent study by German doctors published in September 2015, 27 patients with neck pain who received CST weekly experienced significantly more relief compared to a control group of 27 patients who received other therapies for their neck pain. The relief from pain lasted an average of three months following treatment.
While it would be best to be treated with CST by a fully qualified therapist, should you suffer from chronic pain related to your spine or skull, there is a CST technique you can try at home on your own to reset the rhythm of your craniosacral system.
All you need are two old tennis balls and a pair of fairly thick socks.
First, insert the two tennis balls into one of the socks and push them down to the toe. Tie a knot in the sock so that the two balls are firmly in contact. Then insert the balls and sock into the second sock and tie that tightly also.
Now lie on your bed or on the floor fully stretched out. Place the balls under your head against the curved bone at the bottom of the back of your skull. The weight of your head should rest on the balls.
Breathe deeply and regularly. Make yourself relax. Let your mind’s eye travel from the base of your spine up to the top of your skull. Imagine all the muscles along your spine and back of your head relaxing.
Maintain your position for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
As you calm down you will feel tension releasing from the different parts of your body. You should enter a state of deep relaxation.
Try this the next time you have a headache.
Or if you suffer from chronic pain, do it daily.
Let me know if this technique works for you.