Concussion Treatment: Cranio-sacral therapy, Osteopathic Manipulation, Nasal release technique

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.1 TBI severity can range from “mild” to “severe” or even result in death. Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.

What are the signs of a TBI?

Signs of a TBI can include, but are not limited to the following: headache, nausea or vomiting, balance problems, sensitivity to light or noise, confusion, memory problems, or difficulty with sleep.2

It is extremely important that a person seek immediate medical attention from a health professional if a concussion is suspected. Physicians, nurses, physical therapists, athletic trainers, occupational therapists, and social workers may be involved in the care of a person who has sustained a concussion. During recovery, it is also important that school or work duties be adjusted to accommodate for the healing time the brain needs.

At Physical Therapy Renaissance, our physical therapists can help persons who have sustained a concussion rehabilitate back to their regular daily routine, school, work, or sport. Following a detailed evaluation, a plan will be formulated to address the unique needs of each individual and his or her specific goals. Any combination of the following interventions may be used in the treatment of the individual: moist heat, cold packs, electrical stimulation, manual therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, endurance training, and sensorimotor exercise for balance.

One of the unique treatments that we offer to patients with concussions is osteopathic manipulation in the cranial field. This is a gentle manual approach that facilitates the realignment and symmetry of the cranial bones, rebalancing of the internal membranes, and optimization of cerebrospinal fluid flow. Early intervention to restore the symmetry of the cranium and its working relationship with the pelvis and sacrum can expedite the healing process.

For a patient with a concussion, special attention will be given to ensure that the rehabilitation pace is conducive to not only physical but mental healing. Overly aggressive exercise performed before the body is ready can be detrimental. Schedule a concussion screening »

It is highly recommended that if you hit your head and believe that you have a concussion to be evaluated by a cranio osteopathic practitioner.  We are thrilled to have Kathy Matias-Riggs, PT, MPT who is trained by cranio osteopaths and has added a new dimension to our practice.


Nasal Release technique:

Nasal Release technique create pic spot

Nasal Release Technique is a powerful physical technique that adjusts the bones of the skull. This was developed by Dr. J. R. Stober of Portland, OR in the 1930s. The procedure uses a small finger cot affixed to an inflatable device which is inserted into the nasal passages. The balloon inflation presses outward against the bones lining the breathing passages and adjusts the sutures of the skull, particularly the sphenoid. This ultimately relieves the forces that have gone into the skull by releasing any impactions in the cranial sutures.

One of the confusions of this therapy are the multitude of names for it—Endonasal Technique, Nasal Cranial Release, Bilateral Nasal Specific Technique, Functional Cranial Release, and Neurocranial ReStructuring. These have all been used to describe the procedure.

How does the procedure work?

Our body is in constant search for balance. When a concussion or birth trauma occurs, the bones of the skull are impacted by force. When the skull is not in proper alignment, the rest of the body will attempt to compensate by changing the way we move. This can create poor posture, breathing difficulties, chronic pain, and even depression. Nasal Release Technique places the bones in better alignment which optimizes the neurotransmitter activity throughout the Central Nervous System.

What can I expect from a treatment?

Nasal Release Technique is performed using a finger cot affixed to a blood pressure bulb. The finger cot is lubricated , then placed in between the nasal turbinates. . The blood pressure bulb inflates the cot which expands inside the nasal passage. The opposite nostril is lightly compressed to prevent air from escaping. The patient takes a deep breath and holds it then the finger cot is gently inflated making its way into the nasopharynx, causing it to widen. The finger cot is inserted into the lower portion of the nose on both sides, then the middle portion, then the upper portion. It is then repeated in the lower portion to balance the procedure.

The process is not usually painful because only one inflation in the passageways is performed the first time. When this is tolerated, more inflations are indicated. With the procedure, pressure is felt in the nose and inside the head. Many times clicks and pops are felt in the bones of the head.


• Concussion and other head injuries
• Headaches, head pressure, migraines
• Low energy, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue
• Muscle spasms, neck and shoulder pain
• Poor concentration and focus
• Sinusitis, sleep apnea, snoring, other breathing and sinus disorders
• Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
• Traumatic Brain Injury
• TMJ (mouth, head and jaw pains)
• Vertigo and other balance problems
• Whiplash Syndrome

Symptoms that may respond to Therapy

• Headache or facial pain/pressure
• Congestion or fullness
• Vertigo
• Balance Problems
• Snoring or Sleep Apnea
• Seizures
• Breathing Problems
• Nasal obstruction or blockage
• Loss of smell
• Types of Sinusitis
• Neck Pain
• Ringing in the Ears


Video of the Nasal Release Technique by Instructor Cynthia Stein, M.Ed, PT

Where can I learn more? The following links are excellent sources of additional information on traumatic brain injury:

Helpful apps

1. CDC
2. CDC