Do Headaches Interfere with Your Life?

HeadacheAccording to Headaches.org , over 50% of the participants in a chronic migraine study (15 or more days per month), stated that they have limited or reduced leisure activities with their family due to headaches. The pain and irritability associated with the headaches negatively impacted their relationships with children and spouses.

As if that wasn’t enough, the far-reaching consequences of the migraines affected their sleep, as well as major life decisions such as education and employment. The economic and social limitations can be hard to measure at this level. Read more…

Does Pain Have a Purpose?

By Laura Sullivan, CranioSacral Therapist

When I’m in pain, my first instinct is to get away from it as soon as possible. Whether the pain is physical or emotional, I want to find a way to get relief as quickly as possible. I believe it is human nature to avoid pain at all costs, which seems a no brainer.

As a healthcare practitioner who seeks to resolve the source of the pain, I have a different perspective. Pain has a purpose. I know on some level this makes sense, but it’s not always a popular observation.

Common sense indicates that pain serves as a protective mechanism. If someone is running and sprains their ankle, they stop running, they avoid putting pressure on the ankle, and allow the injury to heal. Pain acts as an indicator that something is wrong. This concept is acceptable because it is logical and helpful.

However, when pain is ongoing, relentless, and never-ending it goes beyond serving a purpose as an indicator. The pain takes on a life of its own, often robbing an individual of the daily activities that used to bring pleasure and happiness to their life.

What if the chronic pain was a different indicator? What if, even though the doctors cannot provide a diagnosis or speculate as to why the pain continues, you were to look for indications within your own life?

As a holistic healthcare practitioner, I am trained to look for the conditions in people’s lives that contribute to the chronic pain. With great empathy, I will pose questions to expand an individual’s perspective just a little. If I can get someone to create a different meaning for the pain, then healing can take place on an emotional and physical level.

Pain is always an indication that something is wrong. The problem is, we don’t always want to address the problem. It means we have to take responsibility for our lives which, honestly, kind of sucks. I find it much easier to blame others rather than look at my contribution to the problem.

In my rare moments of wisdom, while in the depths of pain, I will ask myself, “What if I didn’t run from this feeling? What is the message here? What can I learn from this?” Then I find a stillness in the moment. My perspective shifts ever so slightly, and I remember that there is value in this experience.

Pain pushes me to grow. Pain fuels my determination and resolve. Pain has taught me the most valuable lessons in life and how to not make the same mistakes again. Pain is my teacher and coach. Pain provides the necessary resistance to go further and to draw on an inner resource that happiness and contentment does not deliver. In the dark and difficult moments, this is the hardest thing to remember, which is why I keep reminding myself.

Laura Sullivan is a CranioSacral Therapist at the Southwest Naturopathic Medical Center in Tempe, AZ. She specializes in treating injuries and chronic pain conditions. For more information about CranioSacral Therapy go to www.SullivanCSS.com

Skip the ibuprofen: Use these natural pain relief tactics instead

Source: Rodale News

Pain can dominate our life experience, so natural pain relief is on a lot of people’s minds. Whether the discomfort occurs in the head, stomach, back, joints, or muscles, pain can make simple activities difficult, ruin our ability to concentrate, and interfere with body mechanics. For some, every movement must be calculated to avoid discomfort.

We generally address mild pain with over-the-counter remedies, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen — the most commonly used drugs in the U.S. In fact, they are frequently overused for chronic pain because they’re assumed to safe (they’re so readily available even children can buy them). While these drugs can reduce inflammation, they don’t always get to the root of the problem and may sometimes only mask the symptoms. Furthermore, new research suggests that these drugs have more serious long-term side effects than previously believed, contributing to intestinal damage, liver failure, and more. Prescription pain medications are much more risky while also being dangerously habit-forming.

The Surprising Downside to Painkillers

Ideally, we want a pain treatment that alleviates the discomfort, addresses the root causes, and promotes health. A number of alternative approaches meet this description. By reducing inflammation, improving circulation and mobility and providing gentle relaxation, specific supplements and therapies can bring relief and help address their underlying causes and support overall health.

Pain-Fighting Supplements

• Sold in capsules, extracts, powders, and as a whole root, turmeric is a common Ayurvedic spice that has a well-deserved reputation for controlling pain and supporting longevity and vitality. Turmeric is a powerful and versatile anti-inflammatory spice; it supports circulation, detoxification, immunity, and tissue repair, among other factors in health.

• Ginger, a relative of turmeric, can reduce inflammation and increase circulation, and is particularly helpful for joint pain. Powdered ginger can be taken in a capsule or brewed as tea. Gingerroot is a wonderful addition to stir-fry, soups, desserts, and other dishes.
• Derived from chili pepper, capsaicin is an active compound that has long been known for its ability to relieve pain; it’s often used as a topical cream.
• Vitamin D deficiency has been known to accompany chronic pain. One study compared pain medication requirements among people with normal and decreased vitamin D levels. Those deficient in vitamin D needed almost twice as much pain medication to provide relief.

Docs Use Natural Remedies (But Don’t Prescribe Them)

• Vitamin C is another powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient, and has been found to reduce pain and help people recover from sports injuries.

• The B vitamin family is useful in treating nerve pain, particularly for those suffering from diabetes.

• Acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid have also been shown to relieve diabetic nerve pain.

• For those suffering from arthritis, glucosamine can help relieve stiff joints. It’s often combined with chondroitin.

• Magnesium has been shown to control NMDA, a neurochemical associated with pain. Magnesium also helps to relax stiff or spasmodic muscles and improve circulation. In addition to taking magnesium orally, there are topical forms as well as the traditional Epsom salts added to a bath; both absorb easily through the skin and can be quite effective.

• Boswellia (Indian frankincense), the resin from the Boswellia serrate tree, contains active components which help reduce inflammation and pain. It can be taken as a supplement as well as used topically.
How to Treat Chronic Pain, Naturally

Arthritis and Galectin-3

An emerging body of published research has identified a major culprit in inflammation: Fibrosis, or excessive scar tissue buildup, occurs in the joints as a result of chronic inflammation and causes chronic stiffness and pain. This process has been shown to be driven by an inflammatory protein called galectin-3. Excessive levels of galectin-3 in the body have also been implicated in cancer metastasis, cardiovascular disease, and many other conditions, including arthritis. Because galectin-3 promotes inflammation and excessive scar tissue buildup, it plays a major role in joint pain and degeneration, as well as other types of inflammatory pain
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In my practice, I recommend patients struggling with arthritis or other inflammatory pain to control their galectin-3 levels with modified citrus pectin (MCP). Derived from the pith of citrus peels, MCP has a unique ability to enter the circulation and bind to galectin-3, inhibiting the inflammatory and fibrotic effects of this “rogue protein.” MCP also safely detoxifies pro-inflammatory heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic, which can accumulate in joints and tissues.

Hands-On Therapies

In addition to supplements, I also recommend more active approaches to pain relief. There are a variety of manual and energetic therapies that have been found to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

• Acupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years to treat pain and other conditions. From an Eastern standpoint, the small needles help release energy blockages in painful areas, improving the flow of vital energy (qi or chi). From a Western point of view, acupuncture releases neurotransmitters that help block pain. Either way, numerous studies have proved acupuncture to be quite effective.

• Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, only instead of needles the practitioner applies manual pressure to acupuncture points to relieve pain. As with acupuncture, how this method works depends on perspective, but whether it’s increasing energy flow, releasing feel-good endorphins, or boosting circulation, the end result is the same: relaxation and relief from sore muscles and tense, painful areas.

• Craniosacral therapy uses gentle manipulations to promote relaxation and improve circulation. The practitioner gently moves bones, tendons, and other tissues to increase circulation and release areas of tightness.

• Massage has become a multifaceted art with many techniques and methods. Results combine muscle relaxation with improved circulation, reduction of stress hormones, endorphin release, and other relaxation benefits.

• Frequency specific microcurrent uses a programmable machine that passes a very light electrical current through the inflamed or injured area to stimulate healing and rebalance sensitive electrical charges at the cellular level. Originally used to accelerate healing of sports injuries, this technology has broad applications for chronic pain and mobility.

Mindfulness

Meditation is another way to help reduce chronic pain. One of meditation’s multiple benefits is reducing “fight-or-flight” hormones, such as cortisol. Excess cortisol increases inflammation and even enhances the perception of pain, so anything we can do to relax this response can help reduce pain. There are many studies that have shown meditation can reduce pain for people suffering from a wide range of conditions.
Food

Diet is a critical factor in controlling inflammation and improving circulation, thus reducing pain. Avoid pro-inflammatory, processed foods such as refined sugar and grains, fried foods, and dairy. Instead, emphasize nutrient-dense whole foods, healthy fats, and lots of brightly colored fruits and vegetables to reduce chronic pain and support flexibility.

In many cases, people use a combination of supplements, manual therapies, and mind-body practices to find relief from acute and chronic pain. Many of these approaches provide other benefits, controlling pain while improving overall health. By experimenting with different approaches and working with a trained practitioner, you can put together a program that’s effective for your unique situation.

Source: Dr Eliaz Wellness Guide

Is Craniosacral Therapy Effective for Migraine? Tested with HIT-6 Questionnaire.

It’s always encouraging to see evidence-based research supporting the benefits of CranioSacral Therapy. CST is not easily measured within the scientific method because a good practitioner will tailor the techniques used based on each individual person. Researchers would have you use the identical protocol on each subject, which can still be effective, but will not be AS effective as following the queues of the body.

Craniosacral Research and Case Studies

migraine_img

2012 HIT-6 Questionnaire completed by twenty participants, experiencing migraines at least twice a month, while receiving six craniosacral treatments over the span of four weeks. Results of the questionnaire indicated that “Immediately after treatments and one month afterwards there was significant lowering in HIT-6 scorings compared with prior to treatment.”

Pubmed abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23337558
Full text online: http://www.ctcpjournal.com/article/S1744-3881%2812%2900069-2/fulltext

References:
Research: Thuridur Solveig Arnadottir, Arun K. Sigurdardottir. Is craniosacral therapy effective for migraine? Tested with HIT-6 Questionnaire. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Volume 19, Issue 1, February 2013, Pages 11–14.
Image: http://worldresources.tripod.com/image-migraine/05.webmd_rm_photo_of_migraine_illustration.jpg

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5 Reasons You Should Know About CranioSacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is one of the most effective holistic treatments that you’ve never heard of. The therapy was developed by an osteopath named William Sutherland about 100 years ago and further researched by Dr. John Upledger in the 70’s. CST is used by doctors, nurses, naturopaths, dentists, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc for a variety of conditions. This therapy is done fully-clothed and uses a very light-touch which is roughly the weight of a nickel.

  1. Migraines/headaches – There are techniques a CST therapist can use to improve symptoms from chronic migraines/headaches. A properly trained individual can work with the bones of the head and other areas of the body to provide immediate and long-term relief from debilitating headaches.
  2. Depression/Anxiety – Did you know there are bones in the head that if misaligned can trigger depression symptoms? CranioSacral Therapy can help alleviate symptoms from anxiety and depression related to cranial compression and misalignment.
  3. TMJ pain or clicking – There are a variety of techniques that benefit TMJ problems. A CranioSacral Therapist may work with several bones in the head and surrounding muscles to improve range of motion and provide relief to this common problem.
  4. Injury Recovery – CranioSacral Therapy assists the body’s ability to heal itself by relieving tightness, swelling, and constriction in the area around the injury site, as well as other surrounding areas. An injury never occurs in an isolated area, the body will “protect” an injury and begin to compensate for the pain in very subtle ways. Over time this creates secondary problems in structural alignment which frequently leads to pain.
  5. Natural Pain relief – CST assists in removing restrictions in the body caused by injury, trauma, and disease.  Restrictions can be from unhealed injuries, limited range of motion, or disease and when untreated will create pain in other areas of the body.

These are just a few of the most common reasons one would look for relief in CranioSacral Therapy. I’ve personally worked on everything from stress to spinal cord injury. Don’t be fooled by the light touch, this work is extremely powerful and very effective!

 

CranioSacral Therapy for Caregivers

Jan class1

Introduction to CranioSacral for Caregivers

When: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Time:  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Cost:
 $25.00
Registration Deadline: Monday, March 24th.

Where: Community Education Building
6839 E. Guadalupe Rd.
Mesa,  AZ  85212


 Learn basic CranioSacral techniques to:
* Release restrictions in the body
* Ease chronic pain
* Increase movement
* Relieve muscular tension
* Reduce stress

Craniosacral Therapy for Migraines

Exciting new research showing positive outcomes using CranioSacral Therapy for migraines.

Craniosacral Research and Case Studies

Headache_2

A 2012 feasibility study with 60 randomized individuals completing 8 weeks of therapy.  Results suggests: “A significant difference, favoring CST, was noted by treatment group in mean headache hours per day 30 days post treatment (1.89 vs. 2.78, p=0.003). HIT-6 scores decreased significantly in both groups, but without a between-group difference at the last treatment visit. MIDAS scores improved in the CST, but not the LSSM group at 4 weeks post treatment. Headache intensity was reduced more in the CST compared with the LSSM group” Further protocol modifications needed to enhance future research of CST for migraines.

Pubmed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3373391/

PDF ACCESS TO ARTICLE

References:
Research: J Mann, S Gaylord, K Faurot, C Suchindran, R Coeytaux, L Wilkinson, R Coble, P Curtis. “P02.55. Craniosacral therapy for migraine: a feasibility study”. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012; 12(Suppl 1): P111.
Image: http://genesis-chiropractic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Upper-Cervical-Neurology-Brain-Stem-e1286902474334.jpg

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Unraveling

In a craniosacral session, the healing does not come from exerting effort.Change happens when you are still, waiting for the body to show that ounce of willingness, and that is when everything changes. One little thread can unravel everything.

Unraveling has a negative connotation. We think of it when things are going bad and everything is unraveling.  But what about when you are tired of the way things are? In that moment when you have no idea what change looks like… for a situation that has been stuck for years. You KNOW you want it to be different but don’t know how to change it.  That moment of surrender, when you let go of holding on to things as they are. You let go of trying to control the outcome. In that moment, unraveling can mean movement of energy in a positive direction.

Unraveling in the body can be tremendously healing. It is a sign that patterns are changing. Changes in patterns in the body lead to changes in patterns of thought, lead to changes in patterns of behavior, etc.This is good because on some level, our thoughts and behavior are what got us into our current unhealthy state.

What is unraveling for you right now?

Energy Follows Intent

This is the message that kept coming back to me over and over again today during my walking meditation.  This came up when I was exploring health issues, when exploring business issues, and everything else.  Over and over, “Energy follows Intention”.

Of course, I already know this to be true in Craniosacral work. I am very mindful of my thoughts during a session. This is especially important for someone who is caught up in chronic labeling.  What do I mean by that? Someone who has been trying to heal whatever malady(ies) over a long period of time. Typically, they have seen many doctors, specialists, healers, etc. By the time they arrive to me they will either have the, “There’s nothing wrong with you” label or they have an assortment of labels “insomnia”, “depression”, and so on.

Craniosacral is about working with the body to assist its self-correcting mechanism, therefore I don’t need a label, I simply need to listen.  This intent to be open, to explore, to become aware of the different feelings in the tissues provide an optimal healing environment because I am not judging, pushing, prodding, poking or any other manner of force and the body responds in-kind.

The messages today were to remind me to carry this concept out of my sessions and into other areas of my life.   Energy follows intent applies to exercise, eating, my emotional health, and of course my relationships.