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Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
April, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 04
21-Year-Old Looks Forward to Pain-Free Adulthood
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
Author's Note: With all that has been written about scientific research, placebo effects, double-blind studies and such, one might wonder why I didn't listen to naysayers regarding CranioSacral Therapy (CST) and other techniques long ago.The following explains why I choose to listen to patients and their bodies, rather than to critics.
The smile on Jo Anna Wiersma's face speaks volumes beyond her words: "I've had pain for 12 years, and now it's gone." With one look, the tall, soft-spoken 21-year-old conveys all the hope of someone given a new chance in life - the first, really, for her.
Since the age of 8, Jo Anna Wiersma had lived at the mercy of reflexive sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), a neurological syndrome brought on, in her case, from a simple fall while roller-skating. Little explanation can be offered as to why she developed a life-altering condition from such a common childhood mishap. There is little beyond "the right set of circumstances all colliding together," as she puts it.
The pain began in Jo Anna's left foot about two days after the accident. It was a deep, persistent, "on-fire" kind of pain. The orthopedic doctor thought it was a sprain and put her in an air cast for six weeks. "It's the worst thing you can do," Jo Anna said. Casting and immobilization can actually worsen the symptoms of RSD. "My skin got a silvery sheen and was blue and purple." A family friend who was a nurse practitioner recognized Jo Anna's problem for what it was and recommended a doctor in the pain management clinic where she worked. Testing at Shand's Children's Hospital in Gainesville, Fla., confirmed RSD - a condition that has no known remedy.
Jo Anna found some relief during her teen years. "I was able to be in the marching band and on the swim team," she says. Then she started college, where she tried to do too much. The RSD flared up with a vengeance, spreading for the first time to her left hand. In a four-month span she went through seven lumbar punctures, two rhizotomies (in which the sympathetic ganglion nerves were severed), and an epidural catheter that left her paralyzed from the waist down for 11 days. That's when a friend of Jo Anna's mom recommended CST at the Upledger Institute HealthPlex Clinical Services (UI HealthPlex).
In a two-week intensive program, Jo Anna was found to have severe restrictions of her intracranial membrane system and dural tube - a compromised craniosacral system - and severe imbalances in her autonomic nervous system and myofascia. During the course of therapy, "I knew something was going on inside me," Jo Anna says. "There were times I forgot to take my methadone. And methadone is a drug that's really hard to forget because of the withdrawal symptoms and the pain that comes back." (Methadone is a powerful pain reliever that is extremely addictive; at this point, Jo Anna had been taking prescribed methadone for several years.) By the end of the intensive therapy program, Jo Anna's pain had improved enough that she was able to go back to school.
In January 2002, however, she faced another setback when she contracted encephalitis. Once again, the correct diagnosis was slow in coming. A neurologist, an infectious disease specialist and a rheumatologist all concluded that her condition was a complication of the RSD and medication. "They automatically assumed it was the RSD and was psychosomatic," Jo Anna recalls. In April, another neurologist finally confirmed the problem was encephalitis.
Jo Anna stepped up her appointments at the UI HealthPlex, coming at least twice weekly and going through another weeklong intensive program. Finally, this past December, "everything started to get better," she says. Though she readily admits it was a tough process. "There were times when I got very discouraged, wondering if this was even working. It took a good year to recover from the encephalitis, and I'm still feeling some of the effects. Especially when I'm under stress, I get very tired and the pain in my foot comes back. But I'm pain-free most days of the week now, which, actually, is a weird feeling. I honestly didn't remember life without pain."
Tad Wanveer, LMT, CST-D, worked on Jo Anna for her official "last appointment." "What a difference," he observes. "Jo Anna shows a high level of improvement and balance in the areas in which she initially presented. It's wonderful to see this courageous, intelligent, sensitive young woman able to go back and live her life, " he adds.
And living life is exactly what Jo Anna is doing: "I have a lot more focus, and I'm more sure about what I want to do. One of my goals is to run a triathlon, which I would never have been able to do," she says. "I've never been able to run even a quarter of a mile. I'm also graduating from my community college and going to college in Ft. Myers [Florida] for their pre-med program." From there, she wants to attend the Kirksville College of Osteopathy.
Laughing, Jo Anna says, "I have a twin sister, and we've always been competitive. She's in Tennessee going to school. She's a chemistry major with a biology minor, and I'll be a biology major with a chemistry minor. During the summers, she works for a big pharmaceutical company, and she's been gearing all her research toward finding a cure for pain. I keep telling her, 'It's right in front of your eyes!'"
The sparkle in Jo Anna's own eyes reveals how anxious she is to prove her point. "You know, a year ago I didn't even know if I'd get this far. I didn't even know if I'd graduate with my A.A. degree," she recounts. "I look at everything as a gift. I have my life back now. And it's a lot better life than I had before."
I will never forget the last time I saw Jo Anna. She came into the clinic and said simply, "I'm all better."
"What?" I asked, somewhat surprised.
"I think I'm finished," she said. "I feel great."
Seeing that smile light up her face, I couldn't help but agree.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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