How Cranial Osteopaths help deal with the pain of grief


Dealing with the pain of grief

Bereavement by far one of the THE worst things that can happen to any of us. Whether you have lost a spouse, a partner, a brother or sister or a child, the stress levels are enormous. Such stress can be long lasting and it can show itself in many different ways. Cranial osteopaths are not counsellors but they can help relieve the physical symptoms of stress.

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Following a bereavement, everybody copes with the grief in different ways. We expect to feel angry, sad or lonely but we don’t always realise that stress hormones affect the whole body. Cranial osteopaths like Stacy Chaitoo who practices at Castle Osteopaths in Thetford, know that grief is also linked to chronic pain.

In this article we look at the physical effects of grief and how cranial osteopaths can help.

The link between bereavement and pain

The Holmes-Rahe stress scale gives us an indication of how stress levels affect our physical and mental health. It was devised in the 1960’s and 70’s by Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe who proved that there is a strong connection between stressful events and illness.

They did a lot of research, working with individuals. Each event was given a “life change unit” score. The higher the score, the greater the chance of illness following that event. As you can see below, no matter how old you are, the death of somebody very close can have a profound effect on your own health.

For adults, the Homes-Rahe stress scale looks like this

  1. Death of a spouse: 100
  2. Divorce: 73
  3. Marital separation: 65
  4. Imprisonment: 63
  5. Death of a close family member: 63
  6. Personal injury or illness: 53
  7. Marriage: 50
  8. Dismissal from work: 47
  9. Marital reconciliation: 45
  10. Retirement: 45

This is the Holmes-Rahe scale for children and young adults

  1. Death of a parent: 100
  2. Unplanned pregnancy/abortion: 100
  3. Getting married: 95
  4. Divorce of parents: 90
  5. Acquiring a visible deformity: 80
  6. Fathering a child: 70
  7. Jail sentence of a parent for over one year: 70
  8. Marital separation of parents: 69
  9. Death of a sibling:  68
  10. Change in acceptance by peers:  67

How does grief affect your health?

The human body is enormously complex and it’s amazing how stress hormones can affect both your mood and your physical health.

Common symptoms of stress include not only depression and anxiety but also chronic pain such as lower back pain and neck pain. This type of pain doesn’t seem to be linked to injury or accident and can sometimes start months after a bereavement. It often seems as though the pain has come out or nowhere.

Simon Nembhard and Stacy Chaitoo at Castle Osteopaths are quite used to treating patients with mystery pains. Pains that the GP struggles to understand because the cause doesn’t show up on an x-ray or a CT scan. Without an obvious cause, GP’s find it difficult to prescribe a treatment that really works.

How can Castle Osteopaths help to ease pain?

As osteopaths, Stacy and Simon are able to help with chronic pain and have tools on hand to help you cope with depression and anxiety.

As we already touched upon, stress can lead to pain long after an event. The pain may be virtually anywhere in your body and you probably won’t associate it with things that have gone wrong in your life. Neither will the cause of it show up on a blood test, an x-ray or any of the usual diagnostic techniques available to your GP.

That’s frustrating for the sufferer. To be in excruciating pain and not be able to get help from the GP makes everything seem so much worse. Especially if it goes on for a long time.

The priority at Castle Osteopaths is to stop pain quickly

Neither the acupuncture that Simon practices nor Stacy’s cranial osteopathy need to know an exact physical cause of pain. These treatments are about stimulating the body’s own healing processes. Hence you won’t leave Castle Osteopaths clutching a prescription. Every treatment is 100% drug free.

If, during the course of a consultation, Simon or Stacy do find other ways to help relieve your pain, they will do whatever they can to help. For example if muscles are in spasm, osteopathy will be used to relax and release them.

Does Cranial Osteopathy actually help?

At this point it’s important to remember that cranial osteopathy is not a form of counselling. You won’t be asked to bare your soul or reveal your innermost secrets. Cranial Osteopathy is about your body, not your thoughts.

When I tried cranial osteopathy for myself I found it incredibly relaxing. It wasn’t the least bit scary or uncomfortable and for an insomniac like me to almost fall asleep on the couch was wonderful. I left Stacy’s clinic feeling calm and went home for the best night’s sleep I’d had in a long time.

I was there for help with a long term pain in my neck. I suspected it was caused by an old injury but after researching facts for this article, I now think it was a result of big changes to my job and my lifestyle….not a bereavement but almost as stressful. The pain has virtually gone now and I feel a lot less stressed so I do think that Stacy helped me.

What happens during a cranial osteopathy treatment?

Cranial osteopathy is very gentle, very soothing and not at all uncomfortable. You will spend a few minutes with Stacy talking about your medical history and your symptoms. After a brief, but thorough examination she will explain her findings and recommend a treatment. That may be cranial osteopathy, it may be dry needling to release muscle tension or it may be osteopathy. Most likely it will be a combination of all three.

If you are happy with Stacy’s suggestions, you will lie on the treatment couch, usually on your back while Stacy applies very gentle pressure to your neck, jaw and skull. Trust me, it really is very gentle. She is using her fingers to understand where the tension in your body is. Because we’re used to the more invasive western medical techniques, it may feel as though nothing is happening, but trust me, it is and it’s more than likely that you will benefit.

Grief can’t be fixed in one go – it takes time – and Cranial Osteopathy can help your body cope with the stresses and strains that bereavement places on your body.

More information about Cranial Osteopathy

How to contact Castle Osteopaths