Concussion is the result of the head hitting an object or a moving object hits the head.   Concussion can also occur when the head and neck are subjected to violent movements without directly contacting an object.  This can occur during a whiplash type of injury.  In this instance, it is referred to as a contrecoup injury in which the brain is thrown against the inside of the cranium.   This force then moves the brain toward the opposite side of the skull resulting in another forceful contact.  Repeated hits resulting in concussion such as athletes participating in football and soccer can lead to a cumulative development of symptomology.

Depending on the amount and direction of the force, vasculature to the brain tears and internal bleeding occurs.   Also damaged are the neurons, neuronal centers and glial tissue which support the various brain structures.  The resulting damage in function varies across a continuum.  Symptoms may not show up until later, sometimes a year or more.  This is referred to as post—concussion syndrome. Symptoms are wide ranging and can affect an individual in a variety of ways. Emotionally and behaviorally, a person may become more irritable and aggressive.   Anxiety, depression, apathy and other changes in personality may also occur. Cognitive dysfunction may exhibit itself with difficulties in concentration and memory.   Physically, there may be headaches, neck pain as well as other seemingly unrelated pain syndromes and system disorders. For example, damage to the pituitary or surrounding tissues may affect endocrine function.  Other common physical symptoms include dizziness, tinnitus, double vision, sleep disorders and fatigue.

Concussion affects the structures of the nervous system including the glial cells which are the glue or supporting matrix of the structures of the brain.  This glial matrix, although of different embryonic origin than the fascia, shares some similar functions.  The extracellular fluid matrix transports nutritive substances and removes waste products as well as information via micro biochemical substances.  Disturbances of this fluid may inhibit communication between various parts of the brain.  The glial cells extend all the way out to the cortical layer of the brain via the glial end feet.  These end feet connect directly to the pia mater which is a shrink wrap-like layer for the brain. This pia layer connects to the dura mater of the CSS via the arachnoid layer of the meninges.   Trauma affects the bones of the cranium and the dura mater lining the inside of the skull bones as well as the sensitive brain tissue.  It is suspected that the positive results experienced with CST in post concussion syndrome are the result of affecting not only the dura and cranial bones but also the glial network attaching directly to brain structures they support via this meningeal connection.

Craniosacral Therapy and Concussions

CST includes mobilization of each of the bones around its anatomical axis affecting the attaching membrane and the glial network that attaches directly to the meninges of the nervous system.  A frontal lift technique can address tension patterns related to the frontal lobe associated with executive function and concentration.  This can affect behavioral changes associated with impaired decision making and focus.   Temporal techniques may address the tinnitus and dizziness symptoms associated with post—concussion syndrome.  All of the techniques have the potential to affect the functioning of the deeper structures of the brain via the glial matrix connection to the meninges of the brain that directly attach to the skull bones. Post—Concussion Syndrome and the associated symptoms have clinically responded to CST.  CST continues to generate interest and scientific investigation as a viable adjunct in the care of individuals experiencing the adverse affects of post—concussion syndrome.  Meanwhile, those suffering from the effects of concussion seek out Craniosacral Therapy as a means to improve function and decrease pain.

The above are excerpts from the paper titled CranioSacral Therapy and the Treatment of Post—Concussion Syndrome by Mariann Sisco, an instructor for the Upledger Institute.   Thank you Mariann for allowing me to utilize your beautifully written paper.

Back to top of page