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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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sports injuries osteopathy ottawa

Sports Injuries, Young athletes and Osteopathy

Many teenagers and young adults are practising sports, some of them at a high level. Often trying to balance sport with school/studies can cause stress. Spending many hours at practice each week can also lead to sports injuries for young athletes.

Sports injuries and Osteopathy

Osteopathy can help young people to control their body and mind. In fact, the osteopath will check joints, muscle tension, visceral and cranial tensions. Pursuing treatment prior to the start of the season will release imbalances, and following an ongoing treatment regime throughout the season can improve performance and prepare the body for competition.

It is advisable for young people who pursue regular sporting activities to consider prevention, maintenance and treatment for any injuries that do occur.

Prevention may consist of one treatment at the start of the year and then one per trimester. With additional treatment before an important event if needed (2-3 weeks before a marathon for example), and also should there be a change in sport's shoes or other equipment, such as a racquet.

Treatments can be effective for:

  • Repetitive joint sprains - ankle, knee, hip, elbow, shoulder
  • Low back pain
  • Difficulty with specific movements or postures within a sport
  • Muscle tension …
  • Stress and Fatigue

The osteopath will refer as indicated other modalities including to a naturopath for a better balance of the body, to a podologist to address an imbalance of feet, knees, pelvis or spine such as scoliosis.

Recurrent tendonitis, especially for upper limbs, could be related to the jaw and dental issues or triggered by food including dairy products and grains.

Seeking help from a hypnotherapist or sports psychologist can also help young athletes to manage stress before and between competitions.

Osteopathy in collaboration with other health professionals can help young athletes and sports enthusiasts to produce their best performance!

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lower back pain exercises

Lower Back Pain Exercises

Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal problem I see in my osteopathic practice. Sometimes the pain travels into the buttocks, thigh or leg. There are many causes of low back pain including digestive, mechanical, nervous, posture, psychosomatic, disc hernia, and traumatic. Whatever the cause of your lower back pain I find exercises are an effective way for you to manage your symptoms. In this blog I outline the types of lower back pain, it’s importance to the body and the three most common lower back exercises I give to my clients.

Types of lower back pain

There are three different types of lower back pain:

  1. Sharp pain or lumbago: the pain appeared less than one month
  2. Subacute pain: between one and three months
  3. Chronic pain: more than three months

The importance of your lower back

Your lower back is an important area for your body; it is the link between your upper and lower body. Your lower back is a composed of 5 vertebrae. Ligaments connect bone to bone, whereas tendons connect muscles to bone. Some nerves also emerge from your lower spine and innervate your digestive system.

Lower back pain exercises

Below are three lower back pain exercises I regularly give to my client.

Exercise 1: The cat – cow stretch

Begin on all fours with your hands in line with your shoulders and your hips in line with your knees.

Contract abdominal muscles, flex your head (bend your head forward) and round your back. Come back to a neutral position, relax and keep breathing normally.


Relax your abdominals, extend your head and hollow your back. Maintain each position for 5 seconds each position. Repeat five times.


Exercise 2: Stretching of the psoas muscle

Psoas Stretch

Lie down on your back (on your couch or your bed), and let your right leg hang off the side of the bed/couch. Hold your left leg with your hands against your chest. And let your right leg going down. MAKE SURE YOUR SHOULDERS STAY ON YOUR BED/COUCH. You may feel a tightening in your groin (right side). Maintain the position for 30 seconds. Relax. Pull both your legs together into your chest. Do the same exercise again with your left leg (also maintain for 30 seconds). Repeat this stretch three times on each side.

Exercise 3: Stretching the piriformis muscle

Very often these muscles are very tight and close to the sciatic nerve, so could explain a part of your symptoms if you have sciatica.

piriformis muscle stretch

Lie down on the floor. Put a pillow under your head. Bend both of your legs. Cross your right leg over your left leg with your right ankle just above your left knee. Hold the back of your left thigh or knee with your hands. And try to bring your left knee to touch your chest.


You may feel a stretching in your right butt.

Maintain the position 30 seconds. Relax and do it again with your left leg crossing your right leg (also maintain the position 30 sec). Do this stretch three times each side.

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orthodontics and osteopathy

Orthodontics : improving their success with Osteopathy

Orthodontics treatment is becoming more common place and can be used to help with a variety of complaints including a deficit of bone growth, temporomandibular joint issues (TMJ), difficulty with breathing, position of teeth and position of the tongue.

It is common for teenagers to consult an orthodontist; however, it is important to know that orthodontics can be used from the age of about 4.

Why is it important to ask an orthodontist so early?

At this age, the child has deciduous dentition, or baby teeth and the permanent, adult teeth have not yet emerged. This situation allows for treatments to be more efficient because we can have an impact on the growing bones. By ensuring correct, healthy bone growth, it allows for the optimal emergence of permanent teeth.

Starting treatments earlier brings a better balance between the different structures of the body, a true harmony and makes the treatments more stable.

During an assessment your orthodontist will ask if your child is or was a thumb sucker or used a pacifier, he will have a look at the respiration (breathing) of your child, nose and mouth breathing, and he will test the mobility of temporomandibular joints (TMJ).

Using osteopathic treatments alongside orthodontics can enhance their success

The osteopath can help by improving the mobility of cranial bones (the skull), cervical vertebrae (the neck), hyoid bone (in front of the neck) and of course the rest of the body, the chest, pelvis, etc. These different parts of the body all have an influence on the mouth and the orthodontic treatment. The body exists as a whole, not a collection of separate pieces. Using a combination of treatments will decrease the time required to achieve results and allow a greater impact on the position of teeth.

Using a combination of treatments will reduce the time needed to produce results and allow more significant impact on the position of teeth.

ice packs for pain relief

Ice packs for pain relief: how to use them for sprained ankles ?

You will never make a mistake if you use ice packs for pain relief. You can apply warm on a muscle or on an area that hurts but MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS NO HEMATOMA. Visit your doctor or a health professional to be sure. For example, it would be wrong to put a hot pack on a muscle tear. Your muscles fibres are already fragile, so take care and use ice!

Protocol for using ice packs for pain relief to a sprained ankle

Below is a RICE protocol you should use if you sprain your ankle. RICE stands for the following:

  • R: rest
  • I: ice
  • C: compression
  • E: elevation

Put some ice as soon as possible !!! If you don’t have some ice cubes or cold pack, put your foot in a water bowl. Ice will be effective in relieving your pain and will improve the healing. It helps to reduce the vessel diameter and avoid the hematoma to grow up! You have to apply the ice for 20 minutes. If it is less, it will not be as efficient.

Ideally, your foot should be raised (put a pillow under your heel for example).

Using a strapping is a wise measure. And for sure, consult a physiotherapist AND an osteopath as soon as possible!

Post Injury protocol

In the next few days following your injury, it could be advisable to continue to using some ice packs for pain. You can use the following timings:

  1. 15 minutes ice
  2. then make a break
  3. 15 minutes again
  4. make a break
  5. and a last 15 minutes again
  6. Ideally, your foot may be raised (put a pillow under your heel for example)

When you put some ice, it doesn’t have to be painful. Adapt your posture if it does.

You can also use green clay

You put green clay on your joint where it is painful, and then you roll up with plastic wrap. MAKE SURE it’s not painful or too compact. Keep it on the whole night.

Do it again (for these two steps) during over the next 6-7 days.

This protocol is also suitable for a knee, a wrist, an elbow, a shoulder.

You can also use this protocol if you have a tendinitis!

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