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The influence of a cranial base release on postural sway


Author: Forret Geraldine
Supervisor: Maika Debisschop Msc.Ost

Background: To maintain balance, the cerebellum integrates information of the following three systems: optical, vestibular and proprioceptive system. The muscle spindle (a proprioceptor) density is the highest in the suboccipital region. Therefor restriction or blockages in this region can cause perturbations of the proprioceptive information and can possibly cause altered postural sway.

Objective: A cranial base release is a frequently used technique within the osteopathic profession with various treatment goals. However this technique is not used to correct increased postural sway or even balance disorders, although it is interesting and relevant to know if it has any influence on the balance (because of the afferent input that forwards in the OAA-complex) and whether if this technique could be used in the context of balance disorders.  

Material and method: Postural sway was measured using the DIERS formetric 4D rasterstereography, each participant underwent two pre-measurements, a treatment and one post-measurement equal to the previous measurements. This research consists of two groups of each 20 participants. One group received a cranial base release, the other group received OAA-mobilizations adapted to the lesions that were found.

Results: Forty people participated in the study of which 26 females and 14 males all between the age of twenty and twenty-eight. One group (20 participants) received a cranial base release technique and the other group (20 participants) received OAA mobilizations. The results show that nor cranial base release nor Occipito-atlanto-axis complex mobilizations affect the postural sway of healthy participants.

Conclusion: The 0-hypothesis was confirmed by this research and  demonstrates that by performing a cranial base release the postural sway cannot be influenced with healthy participants.