Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2016

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Approximately 30 percent of the population will experience neck pain in any given year. 1 Half of these cases will resolve quickly with or without treatment. However, the other 50 percent will continue experiencing pain or will have recurrent symptoms. Common scientifi cally based treatments for neck pain include epidural corticosteroid injections, exercise, facet joint radiofrequency denervation, muscle relaxants, and surgery. Even though these treatments may be benefi cial, many also involve potentially serious side effects. Fortunately, new research focuses on less invasive treatments such as craniosacral therapy. CRANIOSACRAL VS. SHAM In a recent clinical trial, 54 chronic neck-pain subjects were randomized to receive eight weekly treatments of either craniosacral therapy or light-touch sham (placebo) treatments and were followed for three months. 2 Subjects were recruited through specialist and primary care offi ces and public advertisements. Subjects were included if they were 18–65 years old, had chronic nonspecifi c neck pain for two months or more with at least moderate pain intensity (45 out of 100 mm on a visual analog scale), and were not familiar with craniosacral therapy. Subjects were excluded if they had neck pain due to degenerative diseases (disc prolapse, scoliosis), infl ammatory diseases (arthritis, spondylitis), neoplasms of the spine, neurological diseases (multiple sclerosis, neuropathy), or physical trauma (operation at the cervical spine, whiplash). Subjects with severe comorbid somatic and psychiatric disorders were also excluded, along with subjects taking prescription pain medications or receiving invasive or manipulative treatment. Eligible subjects were randomly assigned to either an active treatment or a placebo control group and were not informed of group assignment. Researchers who assessed subject outcomes and analyzed the data were also blind to each subject's treatment group in order to reduce bias. All subjects attended eight weekly sessions lasting 45 minutes each. During each visit, subjects in both groups received an initial craniosacral examination C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 49 education SOMATIC RESEARCH SOMATIC RESEARCH by one of four licensed physiotherapists. These clinicians all had advanced craniosacral qualifi cations and an average of six years of clinical practice. The craniosacral (active) treatment group included 27 subjects and the treatment used light touch on the head and back in order to "release restrictions of the cranium and spine down to the pelvis and sacrum using standardized application of gentle fascial traction, release, and unwinding techniques in accordance with the respective palpated restrictions." The sham treatment included 27 subjects and the procedure used light touch to standardized anatomic areas, which differed from the active treatment areas. The depth of touch in the Craniosacral Therapy Benefi ts People with Chronic Neck Pain By Jerrilyn Cambron, DC, PhD

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