The horse has many small bones that make up his skull. A blow to the head can cause compression on these cranial “sutures” and also compress the nerves that come out of small holes in the skull, many of these nerves coming out below the ear. The bone on top of the head, the occiput; connects with the sphenoid bone below it. This union has many motions; such as rotation, lateral and vertical movement, and sidebending. If this union becomes compressed and motion is restricted; the horse may become head or ear shy, and have a constant headache. The compression on these bones and nerves can be released using cranial sacral techniques.
Cranial Sacral therapy can often relieve head shaking symptoms as well. Some head shakers can have an entrapment of a cranial nerve that is causing a pins and needles or tickling feeling. Restrictions of motion of the bones of the skull and/or the joint between the occiput and sphenoid bone can also result in the horse shaking his head for no apparent reason. The joint between the occiput and the sphenoid bone is also called the SSB. This joint is located right over the pituitary gland, and restrictions in this area can affect this gland, and therefore the hormonal and immune systems of the horse. Restoring motion to the SSB will result in improvement in all of these areas.