Does craniosacral therapy work for low back pain?
Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a powerful alternative in cases where other therapies have not provided relief. In addition, craniosacral therapy promotes relaxation and immune system function, thereby enhancing healing throughout body.
This therapy involves light holding of the skull and sacrum and barely detectable movements. Practitioners believe that tiny manipulations of CST influence the pressure and circulatory rhythm of cerebrospinal fluid. Recently, a trial was done in an attempt to analyze the effectiveness of craniosacral therapy on disability, pain intensity, quality of life, and mobility in patients with low back pain. Chronic pain can range from mild tissue irritation to intense suffering and disability affecting the entire body. It has multitude of causes, including congenital disorders, spinal disorders, musculoskeletal imbalance, compensatory patterns, surgery, scar tissue, disease processes, trauma, infection, overuse, disuse and misuse.
A total of 64 patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain were randomized into an experimental group (10 sessions of craniosacral therapy) or a control group (10 sessions of classic massage). Outcomes were assessed before and after treatment and 1-month follow-up. Outcome measures were collected for Disability (Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire and Oswestry Disability Index), pain intensity (10-point numeric pain rating scale), kinesiophobia (Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia), isometric endurance of trunk flexor muscles (McQuade test), lumbar mobility in flexion, hemoglobin oxygen saturation, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, hemodynamic measures (cardiac index), and biochemical estimation of interstitial fluid.
However, as no statistically significant differences were found between the groups. But, statistically greater improvement achieved in pain intensity, hemoglobin oxygen saturation, systolic blood pressure, serum potassium level and magnesium level at short-term than those receiving classic massage. Therefore, CST patients reported significant and clinically relevant effects on back pain. Craniosacral therapy has proven to be a powerful complement to massage therapy in addressing chronic pain.