Pain may just be in your head after all |

Pain may just be in your head after all

DILLON – You’ve heard the expression, “it’s all in your head.” But cranial integration therapist Greg Lumpkin bases his work on it.

Lumpkin treats physical pain and disorders through cranial Integration, a blend of osteopathic, fascial and craniosacral therapy. He works from the premise the cranial system directs the entire body, so if it’s out of whack, it can cause all kinds of trouble in the body.

Most of Lumpkin’s clients are people with chronic pain or injuries that haven’t recovered with physical therapy. He treats neck, back, shoulder, knee and other joint problems, headaches, TMJ dysfunction as well as seizures, digestive disorders, obsessive-

compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and a host of other physical and psychological problems.

He also has helped athletes and performers increase their strength, coordination, endurance and – in the case of musicians, dancers and actors – expressiveness.

He often works with other physical therapists to speed up recovery time. For instance, his sessions make rock-hard muscles softer and easier for a massage therapist to work with. Lumpkin joined the therapists at the Acupressure and Massage Center in Dillon in January.

Lumpkin learned traditional Shiatsu in 1978, studied massage at the Atlanta School of Massage in 1989 and became a cranial therapist in 1993. At first, he was skeptical about cranial work, but after testing it on his own body and healing from nerve damage in his left leg, he was sold.

He works from the premise the cranial system (including the cranium, sacrum and the fascial links between them) directs the entire body. As a result, disorganization in the cranial system can cause pain in the body.

“The cranium represents the body like a computer screen represents the billions of things going on in computer code,” Lumpkin said. “If the screen is warped, you’re going to get a warped response. I take the distortions out of the computer screen so your brain sees a realistic picture of the environment and creates a more functional response.”

For example, if a person comes in with lower back pain, the problem could stem from a hip imbalance, making one leg “functionally” shorter than the other.

Lumpkin looks for distortions in the cranium that are forcing the hip muscles to tighten unevenly and create other compensations. When he corrects the cranium, the muscles rebalance and respond more efficiently.

Lumpkin corrects the cranium by finding restrictions in the 22 bones and 116 joints, or sutures, in the skull and using his hands to gently create or correct movement. Once the cranium starts moving like it’s meant to, it stops giving the rest of the body, including muscles, distorted information about how it should be working.

“Once you change the body’s image, then the body follows,” he said. “You can crank or torture a muscle, but it’s still doing what it’s told by the brain. Every muscle does nothing more and nothing less than it’s told. If you can instruct the muscle differently through the image – through the cranium – you can change what it’s being told. Muscles don’t like being in pain. They don’t like being tight all the time. They crave change.”

Lumpkin takes a holistic approach by treating the underlying cause of physical pain.

“I treat the system instead of the symptoms,” he said. “I don’t repair the body. I set the stage for normal repair to occur.”

Breckenridge resident Tim Putz, 33, saw Lumpkin three times for painful sciatica that left his big toe numb and woke him up at night. Chiropractors hadn’t relieved his pain, but within three sessions with Lumpkin, Putz’s pain disappeared, and it hasn’t returned.

“If I ever had a problem again – with anything – he’d probably be the first person I’d go see,” Putz said.

Frisco resident Julie Wallace, 17, was on a soft diet for a couple of weeks because of severe TMJ. Chewing and yawning made her constant pain worse. When she first saw Lumpkin, she could open her jaw only 33 millimeters, but by Feb. 5, after cranial sessions, she could open her jaw 44 millimeters, Lumpkin said.

“It definitely made me better,” Wallace said.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

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