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Manual Therapy

Rolfing SI is helpful for TBI patients

Lu Mueller-Kaul
May 1, 2024

Rolfing® SI is helpful for TBI patients:

Evidence-Based Cranial Techniques, Manual Therapy, Movement Education and Work with Perception are all included in  Rolfing Structural Integration treatments.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can lead to physical, cognitive and psychological impairments that, if left unaddressed, can negatively affect a person’s daily life and future life prospects. An interdisciplinary approach including evidence-based cranial techniques, manual therapy, movement education and work with perception helps individuals to more effectively manage their TBI symptoms and achieve higher levels of recovery.

Cranial techniques involve qualified practitioners assessing, palpation and carefully manual manipulation of connective tissue in the area of cranial bones, dura mater and surrounding fascia. Studies show that these techniques can reduce tension in the cranial bones and improve cerebral blood flow and can bring relief of symptoms such as headaches and sensory disturbances in individuals with TBI (David, 2010).

Manual therapy uses a range of manual techniques such as soft tissue mobilization, muscle energy techniques and manipulation to increase joint mobility, evaluate joint function, and restore normal tissue extensibility, strength and function. This rehabilitation approach has been found to be particularly effective for TBI-related trauma due to its focus on reducing pain, increasing range of motion and restoring biomechanical integrity (Ferguson et al., 2011).

Movement education focuses on retraining postural control, coordination and balance. It involves active, patient-specific exercises which aim to re-establish positive movement patterns and restore movement complexity. Movement education is particularly important for individuals with TBI due to the often intricate structural and neuromuscular impairments experienced (Smith et al., 2008).

Finally, work with perception or ‘sensory integration’ as it is often termed, helps individuals to gain better sensory control. Sensory integration therapy helps individuals suffering from TBI to interpret correctly and respond appropriately to the information being received by the senses. According to a 2007 study this type of therapy has been found to help lessen anxiety levels and improve sleep (Appleby et al., 2007).

In conclusion, a comprehensive rehabilitation approach to TBI which includes evidence-based cranial techniques, manual therapy, movement education and work with perception is required to effectively manage its symptoms and achieve higher levels of recovery.

References

Appleby, P.H., Fox, C.L., Saucier, P., & Shifflet, B. (2007). The effects of sensory-integration therapy on children with TBI. American journal of occupational therapy, 61(1), 48-55.

David, M.D. (2010). Cranial manipulation theory and application. International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork, 3(3), 17-22.

Ferguson, I.J., Tietjens, B.R., Max, J.E., Maestas, K., & Struve, F.A. (2011). Manual therapy compared with physical modalities for traumatic brain injury. Journal of physical therapy science, 23(3), 283-286.

Smith, A.W., Norris, J., Edmiaston, J., & Fox, B. (2008). Movement education: A comprehensive approach to recovery after traumatic brain injury. American journal of occupational therapy, 62(3), 306-316.

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