Sports Injury and the Benefits of Craniosacral Therapy
Staying active is a great way to maintain a healthy body, but a lot of activity means a lot of opportunities to introduce your body to stress and fatigue. If you stay physically active, and particularly if you are an athlete, you may often suffer from aches, pains, and soreness. Those aches and pains may fade naturally, but for athletes who can’t afford to take several rest days, minor aches and pains can become a serious sports injury. Because practices, workouts, and games are so physically demanding, athletes must take proper care to ensure they are preparing their body for high levels of performance and rapid recovery.
The numerous demands of sports and exercising can result in sprains, strains, and minor muscle tears – commonly striking those just starting out and simply ‘over do it’. However, participation in sports or exercise is important in maintaining your health, and injuries happen to us all and a risk we all assume in being athletic. Sports and exercise require sudden starts and stops (forces), explosive jumping or running (impact), collisions, and atypical body postures that put added demands on our physical structure. Mindful of this below are some of the most common sports injuries treated by Chiropractor, Dr. Alex Kaminsky.
Sprains & Strains
Sprains and strains are the most common sports injury, occurring easily and regardless of the physical activity. Strains and sprains arise when ligaments are overstretched and or micro-torn and most commonly found in the wrists, ankles, or knees. Swelling, inflammation, and bruising is likely to appear in the area of the sprain or strain.
Repeated stress on a bone over time commonly produces a stress fracture. Fractures, or more commonly referred to as a broken bone, are a one-time injury occurring most of the time in the lower body (legs or feet) and arise from repetitive impacts, such as running or jumping.
Knee injuries are common with lower body intensive and impact activities. Runners knee, iliotibial band syndrome, and tendonitis are the most common and mild form of athletic knee injuries. Severe injuries can result from a simple twist, turn, or improper landing on a foot during a sport or activity.
Shin Splints are an overuse injury, caused by micro-fractures on the front surface of the tibia (shin bone). This occurs most often in runners or other athletes (especially those running on hard surfaces). The pain strikes at the front, outside part of the lower leg, but can also strike in the foot and ankle.
Tendinosis is a common overuse syndrome, caused by tendons becoming inflamed from repetitive use. Tennis elbow (tendons affected on the outside of the elbow), golfers elbow (tendons affected on the inside of the elbow), and rotator cuff tendinitis (rotator cuff muscles become inflamed) are commonplace examples of tendinosis that can result in pain and dysfunction.
Are you someone whose ongoing pains affect your ability to exercise, be comfortable in your body, or enjoy once-beloved activities? If so, then consider if CranioSacral Therapy (CST) will work for you. Whether you are a tennis player, a walker, golfer, or runner, Craniosacral Therapy can provide the facilitation in healing assistance your body needs to be able to adapt to these added stresses that come with engaging in sport and exercise.
Craniosacral therapy originates from an osteopathic approach method called Cranial Osteopathy first described and originated by the American osteopath William G. Sutherland. Later on, an American osteopathic doctor, Dr. John Upledger developed the CranioSacral therapy as an independent therapeutic treatment. The treatment involves gentle non-invasive techniques that release tensions and restrictions with the aim of improving the functioning of the central nervous system and the body’s inherent ability to heal itself.
The name Craniosacral originates from the words Cranio (cranium) and Sacral (sacrum). The cranium and the sacrum are connected through the outermost membrane, dura mater, which surrounds the central nervous system, the brain and the spinal cord and protects the cerebrospinal fluid. Together the cranium, the sacrum and dura mater form the Craniosacral system. Craniosacral therapy is based on a rhythm that occurs due to the production and resorption of the cerebrospinal fluid. This pulsation creates constant small movements in the sacrum and the cranium and places great demand on the connective tissue in and around the Craniosacral system.
The Craniosacral system can affect and be affected by other systems in the body, just as restrictions and tensions in the Craniosacral system may lead to various symptoms. The aim of the treatment is therefore to optimize the elasticity of the connective tissue and optimize the Craniosacral rhythm without stressing the body.
In many cases, craniosacral therapy can help athletes avoid and recover more quickly from a sports injury. By arming athletes with the advantage of optimized body functioning, craniosacral therapy can help athletes achieve their highest level of performance without injury. The fact is the origin of a typical sports injury is in nerve interference caused by misalignments in our joints, primarily the spine. There are also 12 cranial nerves that are a key part of our nervous system and contribute greatly to our wellbeing. They oversee the five senses of smell, sight, hearing, touch, and taste. They help to maintain homeostasis and regulation of our heart rate, breathing, digestion, and blood pressure. They assist in maintaining our equilibrium and balance. When there is interference of the nerve function and it is removed, both the blood flow within the body increases and the immune system function is increased, proper motor pattern firing is experienced, and overall better health is realized. As a result, athletes receiving Craniosacral Therapy have noticed increased flexibility, speed, agility, and power during sports participation including other benefits like:
Extending Range of Motion: Promoting flexibility and agility: two things that help the body move comfortably, the way it is supposed to move. Stretching and expanding flexibility helps protect athletes from the adverse effects of tight muscles. Craniosacral Therapy can help the body achieve this effect. Craniosacral Therapy can correct tension in the back and neck, contributing to general comfort and the ability to move without pain or resistance.
Increasing Rate of Healing: While muscle tension stifles agility, muscle stress and inflammation are the enemy of a speedy recovery, and unfortunately when an athlete’s cranial sacral system is not functioning optimally, the athlete is more prone to both issues (muscle stress and inflammation).
Boosting Performance: Craniosacral Therapy has been known to improve pulmonary function. Better pulmonary function means more oxygen in the blood, increased energy levels, and more impressive, more consistent performance. Athletics are physically demanding, and heavy breathing often comes with the territory. Improved lung function allows you to take in and exhale air efficiently. This makes it easier to control your breathing and prevent shortness of breath while completing a game or a practice.
It’s important to remember the membranes and fluids that surround the central nervous system are subjected to strains with sports injury. This can cause the craniosacral system to develop tensions that restrict the body’s ability to function naturally over time. Craniosacral therapy restores the soft tissues around the brain and spinal cord to its optimal and balanced state allowing the body to heal itself and ease discomfort and pain.
Now that the general framework of how Craniosacral Therapy works has been explained, let’s revisit the most common sports injury, strains and sprains, through the lens of Crainosacral Therapy. Firstly it should be understood that rarely are strains and sprains isolated events. Tendons, muscle fibers, or ligaments that are pulled or torn also distort the fascia (densely woven layer covering and interpenetrating our muscles, bones, nerves, arteries and veins, spinal cord, brain, and all our internal organs including the lungs and heart).
The fascia disruption is transmitted to structures further away from the original location of injury. A ripple effect takes place born from the tendinous, ligamentous, and fascial connections networked across all the joints. Due to the intricate connections and network between all structures of the body, no injury, however small, happens in isolation. Thus strains and sprains in addition to impacting the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints also twist, stretch, and compress the blood and lymph vessels, nerves, and meridians around the joint. The strain and sprain ultimately impairs blood and lymph flow along with nerve conduction, resulting in edema (fluid accumulation), bruising, impaired transport of nutrients to, and transport of toxins away from the tissues, culminating energy flow disruption through the meridians (energy pathways of the body). These are all health ailments and dysfunctions directly treated and resolved through Crainosacral Therapy.
By complementing the body’s natural healing processes, Craniosacral therapy is used as a preventive health measure by athletes of all levels for its ability to bolster resistance to injury, and it is effectiveness in accelerating recovery from the following injury, pains, and dysfunctions:
- Chronic Neck and Back Pain
- Motor-Coordination Impairments
- Central Nervous System Disorders
- Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Chronic Fatigue
- Stress/ Tension-Related Issues
- Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
- Neurovascular Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Pelvic Pain
- Shoulder, Elbow pain
- Hip, Knee pain, strain and sprain
A Word on Concussions & Head Injuries
Concussions and head impact injuries are commonplace in sport and exercise activities. The symptoms of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) include headache, neck pain, dizziness, a sense of not feeling right, feelings of brain fog, nausea and vomiting, an increased sensitivity to light, and changes in sleeping pattern. When a head impact or strong blow to the head occurs followed by symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, and headache – this is a concussion. Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) may linger for days, weeks, months or even years after the initial event. It is key to monitor for recurring symptoms and take note of those sensations that continue to affect the athlete despite proper care at the time of incident.
Craniosacral Therapy recognizes the normal cranial system of head bones, sutures and membranes in the skull should have mobility, i.e. the capacity to “breathe” so to speak. Head impacts can affect numerous components of the craniosacral system, including abnormal membranous tensions (a common clinical presentation), bone articulation jamming (e.g. cranial sutures) and sutural immobility. These adversely affect the free flow and stable pressure of cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF), blood flow, neural conduction and numerous other physiologic functions. Head impacts can adversely effect this mobility between the plates of bones of the head, and also disrupt the free flow and stable pressure of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), blood flow, neural conduction and numerous other physiologic functions. The gentle manipulations of Craniosacral Therapy can treat PCS and restore plate, suture and membrane mobility and promote an improved flow of cerebro-spinal fluid throughout the Central Nervous System.
For those suffering from PCS the effects of craniosacral therapy to the craniosacral system can be profound at relieving symptoms offering an avenue that encourages the athlete’s own natural healing mechanism.
In 2018 a study concluded that “Cranial manipulation was considered a safe adjunctive treatment option to improve concussion-related symptoms and recovery.” A small number of people exhibiting concussion symptoms were given 1 treatment of osteopathic cranial manipulation. “Five of the Five of the 7 participants who returned for follow-up demonstrated improvement in their overall concussion symptoms based on the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale scores.” – The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, June 2018, Vol. 118, 403-409. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2018.061
If you are an athlete, training to become one, or just engage in occasional athletic activity, crainosacral therapy can help you reach peak performance by relieving any pain, and enabling you to heal faster after an injury, and improving overall performance. Just as people get a flu shot at the beginning of the year to try to prevent getting sick, athletes of all ranks shouldn’t wait to see a Craniosacral Therapist until after an injury has occurred. While Craniosacral Therapy has been proven to be an excellent source for injury rehabilitation and healing, it is an even better resource for preventing the damage from happening in the first place.
About Dr. Kaminsky & Craniosacral Therapy
Having a Chiropractic background since the year 2000, Dr. Kaminsky offers many methods of treatment with an emphasis on Craniosacral Therapy and Pranic Healing in NYC.
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a method focusing on the link between the cranium (head) and sacrum (the second to last bone at the base of your spine), scientifically proven to work in unison to pump fluid throughout the body, an unknown disruption of which can cause many health issues. The craniosacral mechanism pumps vital fluid called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) through the body and in a sense energetically lubricates the joints, tissues, organs; basically all cells of the body. It is the driving force of all your body’s systems of function; including maintaining the tone of your muscles.
The Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord) are surrounded with CSF generating energetic rhythmic impulses of fluid delicately pumping throughout your body’s parts “breathing” the movement of life. This measurable rhythm of moving fluid, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rhythm is the foundational “blueprint” and primary principle of our real-time state of our health.
Compromises of our rhythmic movements of fluid flow correlates to the impulse restrictions in the system which the body is unable to overcome or self-correct. This is the reason why we have “dis-ease”, symptoms, conditions, basically all ailments. This is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable. By placing his or her hands on your body the practitioner can feel, detect, evaluate, and facilitate correction of these restrictive arrhythmic impulses.
The craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm restore and renew in compromised areas allowing for healing to take place of sensory, motor, musculoskeletal, neurological disorders, symptoms, conditions and pain. To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your healing treatment with Dr. Kaminsky.