Can CranioSacral therapy improve symptoms of concussion and mild TBI among football players?
This invited commentary references a preliminary study in which the integrative medicine technique known as CranioSacral Therapy (CST) was tested on a group of ex-National Football League (NFL) players who showed significant improvement in range of motion, pain, sleep, and cognitive function. The need for more clinical research data to better understand the potential effectiveness of CST in post-concussive syndrome, mild and more severe traumatic brain injury, and even perhaps chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is emphasized in the article published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM).
Eric Leskowitz, MD, Integrative Medicine Task Force, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Charlestown, MA describes the technique involved in CST in his commentary entitled "CranioSacral Therapy, Brain Injury, and American Football: Time for a Convergence." The therapy involves applying gentle pressure on specific sites on the skull to release restrictions believed to have been caused by head trauma. These restrictions are thought to impair brain function and neuronal repair by altering the rhythmic pulsation and circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid. Dr. Leskowitz highlights the growing need for new treatments for TBI increasingly recognized in football players and among military personnel experiencing blast injuries, and for post-concussive syndrome and the rapidly emerging problem of CTE among professional football players.
"We recognize that these data cited by Dr. Leskowitz are quite preliminary, and at the same time we are all aware since the 2015 movie 'Concussion' of the magnitude of the problem in football," says JACM Editor-in-Chief John Weeks, johnweeks-integrator.com, Seattle, WA. He adds: "The situation supports drawing attention to the potential - as this commentary does - so that researchers may more quickly be called to examine this treatment option more thoroughly."