“Exploration leads to knowledge and understanding so the world can become a more mindful place.”
Written By: Jared E. Katz
Reviewed By: Paul Zeltzer, MD
Welcome to our 3rd Control Chiari Exploration! Our ship is on yet another endeavor to provide some relief for your chronic pain. they never encountered.
Does Chiari cause pain? Do Gremlins wreak havoc? Absolutely! Persistent head and neck pain can often lead to severe debilitation where a Chiarian fails to function throughout their day. Additional stress on top of pre-existing pain in the cervical (neck) muscles, and joints can cause an individual to be bed ridden for the day. Seeking treatment for chronic pain symptoms associated with Chiari Malformation is critical, but that’s why we explore our community. Control Chiari is a pain management awareness movement that educates the community on a variety of pain management options that can be applied to the debilitating symptoms of Chiari malformation, as well as its co-morbidities. Below are therapeutic modalities options which also serve as categories for Control Chiari;
● Botox Therapy
● Surgical Intervention
● Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
● Manipulative & Body Based Methods
● Alternative Medical Systems
● Medical Marijuana
● Dietary Intervention
● Modification of Physical Activity
● Energy Therapies
● Mind-Body Interventions
● Social Support
● Medications e.g., painkillers/analgesics,
muscle relaxants, etc.
FIRST STOP; RESEARCH LAB! Before we suggest the therapy, we do our due diligence in regards to scientific evidence that deems the highlighted form of pain management useful. The Control Chiari category that we examine here is Manipulative & Body Based Methods. The specific method within this category is called Craniosacral Therapy (CST), which is a gentle hands-on technique that uses a light touch to examine membranes and movement of the fluids in and around the central nervous system. Relieving tension in the central nervous system promotes a feeling of well-being by eliminating pain and boosting health and immunity. Numerous studies have shown Craniosacral Therapy (CST) to be effective in relieving headaches, migraines, and chronic neck pain.¹ CST has been proven to help a variety of pain syndromes.² Chiari malformation is a neurological condition that can restrict the cerebrospinal fluid flow and thus alter physiological function. However, interventions on the biomechanics of the craniosacral axis and actions on connective tissue restrictions and the extracellular matrix, where all the enzymatic metabolic and stimulus transmission processes take place,³ are the therapeutic bases of Craniosacral Therapy (CST) in Chiari. CST can work to release fascial restrictions on the membranes around the nervous system through addressing facilitation of cerebrospinal fluid flow in terms of symmetry, quality, amplitude, and rate, as well as the alignment and mobility of bones that promotes alignment. This simply means that CST can improve fluid exchange and mitigate pain. functional limitations.
1 Haller H, Lauche R, Cramer H, et al. Craniosacral Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Sham-controlled Trial. Clin J Pain. 2016;32(5):441-449. doi:10.1097/AJP.0000000000000290
2 Jäkel A, von Hauenschild P. A systematic review to evaluate the clinical benefits of craniosacral therapy. Complement Ther Med. 2012 Dec;20(6):456-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2012.07.009. Epub 2012 Aug 22. PMID: 23131379.
3 Pischinger A. Matrix and matrix regulation: Basis for a holistic theory in medicine. Haug International; 1991. [Google Scholar]
NEXT STOP; CHIARIAN EXPERIENCE! Off to a new part of the world, our ship stops off in Canada to meet with Jane, another member of our amazing Chiari community. Jane explains, “As a Chiarian I have chronic pain on the left side of my head with occipital neuralgia. It tends to feel like a vice grip clamped down on my head and then lit on fire. When Cranial Sacral Therapy is performed it’s about the rhythm and the flow of fluids in your body, when you allow yourself you almost feel like you’re in a meditative state(maybe not your first time). Then you almost feel like a release, pressure in the head feels better, breathing is deeper and more relaxing, you’ll wish you could just roll over and take a nice knapp. Again this is not something that works on the first visit however it is worth a second and third.”
Jane Breen, lives in Windsor Ontario, Canada When she can she stays active with swimming and taking her Jack Russell for walks. She also enjoys chalk painting old furniture. While continuing managing her Chiari.
LAST STOP; SPECIALIST EXPERIENCE! Craniosacral Therapy is currently being performed by numerous types of healthcare practitioners around the world; massage therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, naturopaths, homeopaths, acupuncturists, physical therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, and medical doctors. Each patient is different where there is no standard amount of sessions that completely heals, but there is positive feedback on the first visit which yields beneficial results. Our Control Chiari Exploration touches down in sunny Santa Monica. Dr. Augius states, “Craniosacral therapy is an osteopathic treatment that can improve a patient’s well being. By addressing deeper fascial restrictions, CST releases postural holds that cause tension in the body and on the nervous system. Therefore it is effective for pain management.”
Krista Augius, D.P.T is a wellness artist who creates opportunities and spaces for spiritual, emotional and physical healing, wellness and transformation. Dr. Augius incorporates osteopathic methods of Craniosacral Therapy and eastern based practices of Reiki and meditation..
Conclusion! Chiari is a struggle, but we go on these explorations for that reason. Our goal is to conduct more pain management research in order to gain practical data for a community searching for answers. Intervention trials for Craniosacral therapy which specifically target the Chiari population, are non-existent. This light touch therapy creates a calm and soothing way to control the Gremlins from wreaking any further havoc. However, if deemed useful for Chiari patients, such trials could be designed to determine its efficacy as a potential therapeutic for chronic pain. To reiterate, always remember that this Craniosacral therapy option is a suggestion and may not be for you, but it is always worth investigating first. For further information regarding Craniosacral Therapy (CST), please visit the following websites:
3… 2… 1… Liftoff!
Please join us on our next Control Chiari Exploration.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jared E. Katz is a writer, researcher, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) consultant, and brain health coach/advocate. Jared is not only a TBI and Chiari Malformation thriver, he is a motivator of the mind and the body where he constantly stresses human improvement. Jared currently serves as Executive Director and Founder of The Chiari Project, a 501(c)3 non profit organization that operates exclusively for educational, scientific, and charitable purposes. Also, Jared serves as Founder and CEO of PainLes, a health technology company.