Migraines causes and help from Craniosacral Therapy

November 22, 2013 BCST Conditions

Anyone that has to deal with migraines knows just how debilitating they can be. They are more than just a bad headache, often with flashes of light, seeing auras, blind spots, tingling in the arms, nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light and sound. Many of these are side effects of a dysfunction in the sympathetic nervous system. Their cause is not the same for everyone and it could be one or a multiple of things. You need to address factors like causes of dehydration (it’s not just lack of water but how you body is able to use water), strains through the visual cortex (finding ways to remove glasses or strain patterns eg Eyebody method), nutritional/chemical (poor diet, food sensitivities, smoking, drinking, medications, etc), lack of sleep and many other habits or things that stress and strain the body/mind.

There are several theories as to what is happening that causes the pain. Originally it was believed that it was because of dilating blood vessels. More recent studies have shown a number of alternative concepts that may be the cause. One concept is that there an over stimulation of the trigeminal nerve and its interactions with the brain stem as well as changes in brain chemicals. Serotonin is usually implicated because it has been measured dropping in many migraine sufferers. The effect of this is that it causes the trigeminal nerve to release neuropeptides causing the blood vessels surrounding the brain to expand and inflame. Interestingly the majority of serotonin occurs in the gut and may be one of the reasons why diet can have an impact on migraines. Imbalances in the TMJ can also be a cause of irritation to the trigeminal nerve. Another possible link is in a group of brain arteries known as the‘circle of willis’ (COW). This collection arteries encircles the stalk of the pituitary gland and provides important communications between the blood supply of the forebrain and hindbrain (1). The pituitary gland is responsible for production of a number of hormones that contribute to cardiovascular responses as well as regulation of other hormone producing glands. What they have found is there is a potential link between abnormalities in structure and position of the COW and effects on blood flow and neuronal activity and can be the early trigger of migraines (2).

This is where Craniosacral therapy (CST) can be helpful. A long history of this work has been around supporting these structures in the brain and surrounding tissues, bones and fluids to normalise (tighten and relax where necessary). Some of the physiology can be directly linked to those structures of the pituitary, COW, TMJ, trigeminal nerve as well as supporting a general balancing in the bodies fluid systems (cardiovascular, cerebral spinal fluid, etc).

One of the many components is the sphenoid bone that sits behind the eyes and almost cradles the brain. It has a small part in which the pituitary gland actually sits in. Abnormalities in the position of this bone could have an impact on shifting the pituitary gland and its stalk off to one side, possibly effecting how it produces important hormones that would effect blood flow/pressure and tissues responses. There may also be an added pressure or pulling across of some of the structures of the COW. This bone is also connected to 12 other bones in the skull, so there can be a whole chain effect of shifts coming from all of these structures. The trigeminal nerve also has connections through the sphenoid, particularly in how it is organised with the TMJ. With all of these potential structures that may be involved in the cause of an individuals migraine, it may seem like searching for a needle in a haystack to achieve any help.

The benefits of Biodynamic CST is that we offer the awareness of a holistic shift in someones system (a whole body response) rather than focus on just one thing in the body. It may be necessary for changes in many other things first before the sphenoid is able to reorganise and then offer a better position for the COW. The contact we make might be at the sphenoid (or might be elsewhere) but it allows for whole body responses because of the awareness we bring to it. This concept of a whole body patterning has been recognised in many other modalities as well and is often referred to as having an impact on the tensegrity of the bodily structures.

Another big benefit of CST with migraines is that it also works well on regulating the function of the sympathetic nervous system, which as mentioned earlier can contribute to many of the side effects that people experience. When you are able to help the body reconnect to the much slower rhythmic fluid expressions that are palpated in a treatment, there is a influence in helping the nervous system slow and shift into a more healthy state of self regulation. Simply reducing some of these side effects can make someones life more livable rather than hiding away in a dark room for several days.

If you find you are experiencing migraines, along with seeing your GP to diagnose any medical conditions that could be the cause, please get in contact with a Biodynamic CST practitioner. Many of us have an understanding of not only the structural components that may be involved with the problem, but also the other factors that could be contributing (eg diet, eyesight, etc)

 

(1) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1877617-overview

(2) http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2013/07/willis/

Biodynamic Craniosacral TherapyCircle or WillisCraniosacralHeadacheHeadache reliefMigraineMigraine treatment


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