THE SACRO OCCIPITAL TECHNIQUE
Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT) is a comprehensive, gentle and innovative chiropractic treatment technique. The name is derived from the relationship between the sacrum (sacrum: the base of the spine) and the occipital (the back of the head: the base of the skull).
One of the functions of the pelvis is to pump the spinal fluid from the base of the spine up through the spine to the brain and back through the nervous system. Rhythmic movements circulate the spinal fluid, which is essential for optimal health as the spinal fluid provides nutritious exchange between the brain and the spine.
SPINE AND PELVIS
The pelvis is the foundation on which the human skeleton rests. It supports the upper body all the way to the skull and allows us to distribute our weight over our legs. The spine keeps our body upright and provides support to various connective tissues that support our organs and muscle connections. In addition, the vertebrae protect our fragile nervous system. The nervous system controls everything in our body and can only function normally if the spine/spine is in balance and our pelvis is stable.
The body will always try to adapt to misalignments. Adapting or not being able to adapt creates different stages/categories, as this diagram shows.
Note the symmetry of the spine between the shoulders and the pelvis. Start with normal posture and follow the change up to Category 3 where the oblique tilt of the shoulder and the rotation of the pelvis have become extreme and pressure has been created on the sciatic nerve.
Category I - Cranial dural subluxation
Category I occurs when the SI joint becomes unbalanced (subluxation). As a result, the hips rotate and the sacrum pulls up. Because the sacrum retracts, the ability to pump the spinal fluid around is reduced. The reduction in the ability to pump prevents the spinal fluid from circulating properly and the nervous system receives less nourishment and this can lead to more pollution of the nervous system. Category I symptoms are a result of impaired nervous system function and can affect many tissues and organs in the body.
Category I symptoms: visceral disturbance skin problems, numbness in the face or hands and legs, insomnia, lower back pain, headaches, tension, weight problems. Tilted head, sloping shoulder, restricted spinal fluid flow and pelvic rotation or imbalance.
Category II - Pelvic/Sacroilliac joint instability
Category II occurs when the ligaments that support the SI joint (see picture) are stretched or strained, causing the connected surfaces to separate. This upsets the balance of the body, of the nervous system and of the spine all the way to the shoulders, neck and also of the cranial system.
Category II symptoms: jaw problems, neck pain, ear pain, imbalance, lateral headache, groin pain, thigh pain (lateral), knee, ankle and foot problems, fatigue, menstrual problems, low back pain, bedwetting. Head is more inclined, shoulder is more inclined, widening of the SI joint.
Category III - Lower back, vertebral discs and nerves.
Between each vertebra of the spine is a vertebral disc which act as shock absorbers and provide space between the bones. In a well-functioning body there is sufficient space between the vertebral discs for the exit of the sensitive nerves. When our body is out of balance, the spaces between them become smaller because the vertebral disc has changed position and in this case, somtime the nerve that runs through it can become pinched or irritated.
Category III symptoms: low back pain, pain in the back of the leg, burning sensation in the back of the leg, pins and needles in the leg, stiffness of the leg, numbness of the back and leg, poor bowel and bladder control, pain when sitting, standing up, bending or coughing and sneezing, body leaning to one side and often forward, protruding vertebra or inflammation, sciatica.
How it works: Our Nervous System is a vast communication system made up of nerves, some travelling in big pathways like the spinal cord, carrying signals to and from the brain. The brain processes information from all our sensory systems, from the eyes, ears, nose, from touch and taste. It uses this information to interpret what is happening in our environment.
Importantly, the brain also receives information from joints and muscles of the body. With this information, the brain builds a picture of our body that it uses to direct the workings and movement of all our body parts. This brain-body connection allows us to function in a balanced and coordinated way, to accurately interpret information and to respond optimally to the world around us.
What about the bones?
The joints that connect the midline of our bony skeleton - the spine, the pelvis, the cranial system and the muscles and soft tissues around them play a special role in the brain-body connection. They provide us with postural support and allow us to move well. They also protect the delicate tissues of the central nervous system. Information from these midline joints provide a rich source of sensory input to the brain. Millions of signals from these joints constantly inform the brain about where we are in space and how we are moving. The brain processes this information and uses it to guide us in our movement.
Distortions in these joints and their soft tissues can upset our stability and movement and cause pain. Chiropractors are the most skilled professionals at assessing and correcting these postural and movement distortions to restore balance and improve movement and function.
For a video outlining how chiropractic can help you, please click here