Temporal bone misalignment and motion asymmetry as a cause of vertigo: the craniosacral model

Altern Ther Health Med. Nov-Dec 2009;15(6):38-42.


Objective: To describe dysfunction of the craniosacral system, particularly temporal bone motion asymmetry, as a cause of vertigo and to suggest a new perspective on research, diagnosis, and treatment.

Data sources: A database search was conducted using MEDLINE, CINHAL; Health Sources: Nursing/Academic Edition; and the Internet.

Keywords: vertigo diagnosis and treatment, craniosacral therapy, temporal bones, cranial bone mobility, Upledger, and temporomandibular disorders.

Study selection: Articles that most clearly described a relationship between cranial bone misalignment and vertigo were selected for review.

Conclusion: Clinical experience suggests that craniosacral therapy is a powerful evaluative and treatment modality for vertigo patients who have not found relief from medical treatments. A narrative review of the literature describes and supports a theoretical link between dysfunction of the craniosacral system and vertigo. Dysfunction of the craniosacral system may include osseous, dural membrane, and fascial restrictions leading to asymmetric temporal bone movement and hence vertigo. Clinical trials are necessary not only to verify that craniosacral therapy is an effective treatment but also to determine the full range of symptoms and medical diagnoses for which craniosacral therapy is beneficial.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Malalignment / complications*
  • Bone Malalignment / therapy
  • Cranial Sutures*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Pressure
  • Models, Neurological
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods*
  • Temporal Bone*
  • Vertigo / etiology*
  • Vertigo / therapy*