Over the past two years, I have noticed an increase of chronic tension headaches in young children at my clinic. Parents often bring their children to see me when all other avenues are exhausted. They have been through the formal medical system – but achieved no positive results. Jack's parents brought him to see me when they faced this situation.
Jack was an active, eleven year old boy who woke one morning with a terrible headache over his eyes.
His mother took him straight see his Doctor. He was then referred to hospital where he had a CAT scan , lumbar puncture, steroids and finally seen by a consultant who diagnosed chronic tension headaches.
This result really surprised his parents – after all Jack was only 11 – they expected this type of thing to happen to an adult with “real problems”.
At this stage Jack had been waking every morning to a constant pain over his eyes for two months. As a result, he was missing school and had stopped playing soccer and football. His mother returned to their doctor - desperate to find anything to help and it was at this stage that Jack was referred to me for Craniosacral Therapy. He attended for five sessions at my clinic at Elmwood Medical Centre, Frankfield, Cork.
Here is what happened over these five sessions:
We began treatment with a screening of his medical history and to check that there were no contra-indications to the treatment. Jack then laid down fully clothed on the table.
I checked the movement along his spine, head bones and the flexibility of the membranes under these bones. Consistent with the consultants earlier findings of chronic tension I found that all of Jack’s body was very restricted. This lack of healthy movement was especially noted at the lower back, under the ribs, junction of neck and skull and at the temples.
I explained to Jack and his mum that movement of these areas was essential for health - and the pain Jack was experiencing was connected to these restrictions.
As the treatments progressed, Jack allowed all of these areas to release and move freely.
How did this happen?
Using the gentle supporting touch (5 grams) of the therapist on the areas of tension the tissue relaxed and Jack let out regular long sighs as his body started to feel more comfortable. As Jack closed his eyes and allowed his body to do the work the membranes of the spine and head released their hold on the bones and released the pressure on the irritated nerves.
The pulling along the membrane around the spine (which we call the dural membrane) travelled up along the spine and into the head where this membrane then divides inside the head. The pressure over his eyes was relieved when the pull on the head membrane (falx) which connects under the forehead bone finally relaxed.
While Jack gained some relief after each treatment, it wasn’t until the fifth treatment that his body held the changes established in previous treatments and he was finally free from the headaches.
Jack is now pain-free, back to school and back to playing his beloved sport. I did impress upon his parents that regular sessions of craniosacral every few months will help enormously to keep Jack healthy and help to relieve the rough and tumble of impact sports on his body. I also suggested to Jack that he make some lifestyle changes and even suggested that he would like to join his Dad on fishing trips!
Here are some similar situations where craniosacral has also worked:
Jenny was 8 years old had upset stomach and constipation. She had been in hospital and was attending her doctor. She responded well to treatment and took up walking every few days with her mother as a home-help remedy. She returns for a follow-on session every few months.
Mark was in fifth class and complained of headache and feeling unwell after school. He attended his doctor but was given a clean bill of health. When his parents decided to take him to my clinic, he responded well to craniosacral work and during the sessions spoke about his eating habits. He often went all day in school without eating and also found that the airless classroom brought back his headache in the afternoon. With treatment he opened up to his mother, becoming more aware of how his body was feeling and what he needed to do to feel well. Mark lets his mum know when he feels that he needs to return for a craniosacral session.