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Cranial Osteopathy Resolves Concussion Symptoms, Studies Suggest

Cranial Osteopathy Resolves Concussion Symptoms

Two recently published case studies in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reported improvements in concussion symptoms following an initial treatment of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).

A concussion is a brain injury, typically produced by a blow to the head, which changes the way your brain works. Whereas most victims with moderate concussions recover in a couple of days, as many as 15 percent suffer longer-term complications.

OMT has long been an effective modality in treating athletes from various sports including football, ice hockey, rugby, skiing and soccer. With osteopathic manual methods including cranial osteopathy, osteopaths have the expertise to help the body reestablish the movement of cerebrospinal fluid within the central nervous system to aid healing and allow athletes with a concussion return to their regular activities.

In the first case study, a 27-year-old male was treated three days following a snowboarding mishap, in which he fell and was not wearing a helmet. He experienced a headache, nausea, dizziness and ringing in the ears during the days following the fall. After a single 25-minute OMT treatment, he stated the dizziness, ringing and nausea had stopped and his numbers on the Sensory Organization Test (SOT), improved from 76 before treatment to 81 following treatment.

The second case study involved a 16-year old female with a record of three head injuries, the most current involving a head-to-head collision. Three weeks following that event, she reported a headache, fatigue, mood swings as well as memory and concentration difficulties that restricted her capacity to engage in school and play in her band.

The researchers appraised the girl using the Initial Concussion Symptom Score (CSS), that measures the progress of symptoms on a scale of 0 to 144, and the Balanced Error Scoring System (BESS), a 0 to 30 scale ranking vestibular dysfunction. On the day following her initial OMT treatment, her CSS score reduced from 53 to 22 and her BESS improved from 22 to 17. At the completion of six treatments, her CSS was 0 and BESS fell to 14.

The findings from these case studies are similar with the clinical encounters of osteopaths who use OMT to treat a concussion. Although the mechanisms of healing are not well explained with a concussion, further larger studies ranking OMT’s influence on rehabilitation and quality of life are much needed to prove its efficacy as a viable therapy.

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