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  • Niyati Nath

Craniosacral Therapy as a Cure for Back Pain

Updated: Jun 29

Craniosacral therapy is uniquely placed as a safe and effective intervention for back pain.


The human spine provides strong and stable support to the human body, which is able to stay erect and to move thanks to the structure and flexibility of the spine. The spine houses the spinal cord and the spinal nerves, which are essential to co-ordinate our motor activity. The spinal cord is filled with cerebrospinal fluid which bathes and nourishes the cord and the nerves, which form an integral part of our nervous system.




The intervertebral discs between the vertebrae provide a cushioning effect that protects the spine from any stress caused by physical impact. They act like shock absorbers. They also protect the spinal nerves that run between the vertebrae. Muscles, tendons and ligaments attach to the spine to facilitate locomotion of the human body. The spine is a complex framework of different types of tissue – bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve and fluid. Craniosacral therapy works with all these different types of fascia and can address issues at any of these levels.


The human spine consists of 33 vertebrae – including 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral and 4 cocchygeal vertebrae. Each set of vertebrae is designed to facilitate stability and movement of the human body. The spine has a natural curvature, with kyphotic and lordotic curves that help us to move different parts of our body with fluidity and ease. A misalignment of one vertebra will affect the natural curves of the spine and will therefore affect the alignment of the entire spine. Similarly, when one of the muscles that attach to the spine is strained or tight and pulling on the skeletal system, this will affect the carriage and range of motion of the entire spine. Craniosacral therapy is a holistic therapy – it works with the whole body. An effective therapeutic intervention for issues of the spine would require a holistic approach, since the spine is a complex and intricate structure and working on a single issue in isolation will not address the cascade of issues that ensue.


Craniosacral therapy is entirely safe, with no risk of adverse side effects. This is important, as surgical interventions are not without risk, such as the risk of paralysis if a nerve is severed. Craniosacral therapy helps with rehabilitation after surgery on the spine as it boosts vitality and hastens recovery. It reduces inflammation and pain.


It is a functional therapy. It works to restore and facilitate optimal function of the human body.


The spinal cord and the cranial and spinal nerves are vital components of our central nervous system, which is the command centre of the human body. Impulses are relayed by the brain along the chain of nerves to facilitate motor activities and vital functions like respiration, heartbeat, digestion and excretion that are regulated by the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system are housed within the spine. Craniosacral therapy works directly with the central nervous system and can effectively address issues with the nervous system and its neural pathways.


When we are tense or anxious, the muscles of our head, neck and back tend to tighten or brace. This response is mediated by our nervous system. Unfortunately, it can cause or exacerbate pain in the head, neck and back area. Craniosacral therapy provides instant relief from anxiety, which alleviates the pain by relaxing and loosening the fascia of the head, neck and back.


CranioSacral therapy provides effective relief from a wide range of back issues, including a slipped disc, disc bulge, herniated disc, sciatica, scoliosis, spondylosis, nerve pain or tingling in the arm and fingers (cervical radiculopathy), arthritis, whiplash, pulled back muscle, muscle spasm and any kind of chronic back pain or referred pain. The following research studies confirm the efficacy of Craniosacral therapy as a treatment for back pain.


Craniosacral therapy for neck pain: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4894825/


Craniosacral therapy for non-specific neck and back pain: https://digitalcommons.pcom.edu/pa_systematic_reviews/500/


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