Osteopathic manual treatments for brain injuries

Treatment type: Osteopathy

How to find: http://osteopathyontario.org/

Price: In Ontario often $90.00-150.00 an hour

Credentials: Look for someone registered with the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners, they will have a designation like these:  D.O. (Diploma in Osteopathy) D.O.M.P., DOMTP,  BSc(Hons), BOst, or MOst

What is it? From the OAO

“Osteopathic Manual Practitioners maintain, improve or restore the normal physiological function of interrelated body structures and systems, and, enhance the body’s natural ability to heal itself. They use various manual assessment and treatment techniques and modalities to help people of all ages  and backgrounds, who suffer injury, pain or other health concerns, by easing pain, reducing swelling, improving tissue mobility and promoting efficient healing.”

Notes from our treatment:

Osteopathy was the first intervention Jason used and we had fabulous results. That being said another friend with post concussion syndrome found his symptoms exacerbated by one of the osteopaths we saw and relieved by a second. Again, you need to trust your body and your symptoms to decide if this is something you need to incorporate.

Jason found most of his osteopathic treatments to be gentle enough that he could sleep during his time on the table -often followed by a 12-14 hour sleep at home! As we’ve mentioned sleep is an extremely important part of recovery from TBI and post concussion syndrome so this a very happy result of osteopathic treatments.

Treatments seemed to revolve around lowering Jason’s stress levels and working on endocranial spasms which are present post injury. The first and only times we heard of endocranial spasms was with Jason’s osteopath and I have yet to find a good resource for explaining this phenomenon in laymen’s terms. My understanding is that it is quite literally a spasm in the brain due to trauma and osteopath’s are able to help release it. Other treatment goals included working to relieve tension through Jason’s back and whole body alignment.

Because the treatments were gentle and resulted in measurable changes in Jason’s sleep and alignment osteopathy became a very important part of his recovery. One of the osteopath’s we worked with was Ryan Richardson in Newmarket who has extensive history researching concussions and post concussion syndrome – I encourage everyone to check out his qualifications and abstract listed here: http://www.youroptimalhealth.ca/concussions.

Sleep deficits

This infographic was gaining a lot of traction in the TBI support groups I’m a part of this week:

Sleep deficit


Created by Science.Mic this infographic focuses on the effects of lack of sleep on the brain. Most of the symptoms discussed are already issues for those with brain injuries – anger, lost memories, risky decisions, head in the clouds are some of the most discussed among TBI survivors. They struggle with these things on a daily basis so one could expect that they feel these symptoms all the more with a lack of sleep.

The importance of sleep

Changing Jason’s sleep schedule and patterns has been the single biggest influence in his recovery. I’ve mentioned how the early recovery from brain injury involves large amounts of sleep and very little sensory input. Unfortunately we received no feedback from Jason’s physician about the continued importance of sleep so after the first few weeks Jason was only sleeping 6-7 hours a night during the week and 18-20 hours per day on weekends. If we had known then what we know now we would have made sleeping a much more important part of his lifestyle early on in recovery.

The hardest part is convincing yourself that sleep is important and choosing to prioritize a good night’s sleep over a night out or an early morning run. We both had to make changes to our work schedule, we end nights with friends and family early, we refuse to make appointments that require changing our new schedule.

When we got a new doctor she recommended this book by Peter Hauri about sleep hygiene and the importance of sleep. It’s a bit dry but certainly helped convert Jason to prioritizing sleep.

Not into a long read? As recently as June 2015 studies are looking at the link between sleep and memory, this article specifically applies to alzeihmers but makes some other good points about the benefits of sleep. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/02/sleep-alzheimers-linked-to-memory-loss_n_7494502.html


If you’re more of a visual learner these TEDtalks are worth watching to get on board with changing your sleep plans.

https://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_iliff_one_more_reason_to_get_a_good_night_s_sleep?language=en (approx. 11 minutes)

http://www.ted.com/talks/russell_foster_why_do_we_sleep?language=en  (approx. 24 minutes)

http://www.ted.com/talks/arianna_huffington_how_to_succeed_get_more_sleep?language=en  (approx. 5 minutes)

Our changes to our routine are coming up in another post, for now take some time to read and learn about sleep and decide what you might need to give up for your health.