Skull Bones Shift Due to Pressure

Both external & internal forces can shift our skull bones

In my last post, I introduced you to the origins of craniosacral therapy through Dr. William Garner Sutherland’s discovery in the early 1900’s that our skull bones shift throughout our lives. But that still leaves the question of what causes the shifting of the facial or skull bones or causes the sutures in between these bones to jam.

The core cause of this shifting is that some force is applied on the skull bones. This force can come from either external or internal forces.

The external forces include traumatic events such as:

  • Labor and delivery
  • Fall on the head
  • Banging the head into doors, walls, cabinets, and other objects
  • Contact sport involving head trauma
  • Other sports accidents
  • Car accidents
  • Trauma to the face

But even day to day activities can cause enough force, over time, to cause shifting. Some examples include:

  • Tension in muscles directly attaching to the head, such as facial or neck muscles
  • Poor posture while reading, or doing desk/computer work
  • Poorly fitting dentures or eye glasses
  • Braces on teeth
  • Head covering that is too tight

Shifting can also occur from forces internal in our bodies. Some examples of internal forces include:

  • Traction on the membranes that cover the inside of the skull and the entire brain and spinal cord as one unit
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Tumor of the brain
  • Hematomas (blood masses) from accidents or hemorrhagic stroke
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Dental abscess

Our heads are like a three-dimensional puzzle

How does trauma to the face affect the skull bones or trauma to the head affect the facial bones?

Imagine the head and face as a movable three-dimensional puzzle with each of the bones being one of the puzzle pieces.  Putting pressure on one of the pieces will cause the other pieces will to move a bit to accommodate this pressure, resulting in some distortion of the original shape.  Even though our eyes may not be able to see this change, or our hands feel this change, the effect on our health and how we feel may be quite substantial.

Why is that?  The head houses the brain, which is entirely made up of nerve tissue.  This bundle of nerves governs how we feel, perceive, and ultimately experience life.

The brain and spinal cord are encased as one unit in a three-layered membrane system called meninges.  These meninges attach to the inside of the skull bones, the first two neck vertebrae, and the sacrum.

My next post explores the meningeal layers and how tension at any part of the meninges can affect our well-being.