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Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Managing Tibialis Posterior Tendon Injuries
The tibialis posterior is the deepest, strongest and most central muscle of the leg, with fibers originating from the tibia, fibula and interosseous membrane.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
God and the Chiropractor
My wife went to church last Wednesday night and brought home a CD of the pastor's message. As she handed it to me, she said, "You should listen to this; you'll like it." Our family regularly goes to church and our faith plays a major role in our lives.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Older Patients, Stroke Risk and Manipulation
The first population-based study in the United States to evaluate stroke risk following spinal manipulation – and the first involving older adults – suggests that "[c]hiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Keep Seniors Safe: Age-Proofing the Home
I want to give Dr. Claudia Anrig kudos for her Dec. 1, 2014 column, which highlighted safety issues youngsters might encounter in the home.
Viewpoints: Massage Reduces Nonspecific Shoulder Pain, Improves Function
While seemingly universal, pain and stiffness in the shoulders can be a significant cause of disability. Often a pain that does not go away on its own, shoulder complaints tend to linger, sometimes for 12 months or longer.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Treating GERD and Incontinence: Focus on Trigger Points
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is defined as the regurgitation of stomach acid in the esophagus. Previously, it was thought that GERD was caused by a hiatal hernia, but recent trials suggest the cause is an inability of the hiatal sphincter to contract normally.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
How We Can Help the Injured Brain
The majority of patients with mild traumatic brain injuries recover within seven to 10 days. If concussion signs and symptoms continue beyond seven days, the diagnosis changes from acute concussion to post-concussion syndrome.
Striking a Blow to the Medical Monopoly
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission.
News in Brief
ACA Exec. Vice President Out, Acting EVP In; F4CP Executive Director Retires; New ED Named.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Pain Is Only a Piece of the Puzzle
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint: headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel, etc.
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 2)
A fairly recent discovery in nutrition supplemental medicine has proven to be a breakthrough in maintaining athletic joint health. Research suggests a combination of undenatured type-II collagen and tetrahydro-iso-alpha acids helps revitalize joint function and performance in athletes.
February, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 02
Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy
By Kate Jordan, NCTMB
The most common reason women seek the services of massage therapists during pregnancy is for back pain. In order to treat such discomfort effectively, it is helpful to differentiate between pain originating in the lumbar spine and pain arising from dysfunction in the posterior pelvis.
Pregnancy places unique stresses on weightbearing joints in the torso.As a woman's pregnancy progresses, her uterus enlarges, moving her center of gravity forward of her feet. This causes her to rotate her rib cage posteriorly, shifting her weight to the lumbosacral joint and the sacroiliac joints in the pelvis.
Numerous studies of back pain in pregnancy have found that as many as 50% of pregnant women experience some back pain, and 10% experience severe pain. About 30% of these women had no history of previous back pain.
When women make pain drawings of their back pain, only 25% show pain in the lumbar area. More than 50% draw their pain below the crest of the ilium and lateral to the sacrum. They describe this pain as deep in their gluteal area, traveling down the back of the thigh. Even though this appears to be "sciatic" pain, only about one of every 10,000 pregnant women have actual disc disease in pregnancy, and usually those who do had disc problems before they got pregnant.
The number of women complaining of back pain in pregnancy has increased in the past 20 years perhaps because more women are working, often in ergonomically stressful jobs. In one study in Sweden, 70% of all working pregnant women took sick leave, mostly for back pain.
It's important to differentiate between lower back pain and pelvic pain. They should be approached in different ways, and the treatment for back pain may make pelvic pain worse. A woman whose back pain comes from her pelvis will locate it in her gluteal region on one or both sides; she will have a free range of motion in her back and hips; and her pain will not be constant, but related to the movements she makes.
There is a simple test that will confirm that a womens pain originates in the pelvis, rather than being referred from another area. This is called the posterior pelvic pain provocation test. With your client well-supported in a side-lying position, with her painful side facing up, position her upper leg in 90 degrees of hip flexion, with flexed knee on a pillow support. With one hand stabilizing her sacrum, compress the knee and femur into the acetabulum. If this pressure reproduces her pain, either in the symphysis pubis or the sacroiliac area, her pain is likely to be coming from one of the ligaments around those joints.
Pelvic changes in pregnancy were noticed as far back as the days of Hippocrates. The pregnancy hormones relaxin, estrogen and progesterone cause a measurable widening of the pubic symphysis anteriorly, and a shifting of the SI joint posteriorly. Widening of the pubic symphysis begins as early as the eighth week of pregnancy. Any pain felt in the pubic symphysis is a direct result of dysfunction in the sacral area.
Pelvic pain may be noticed around the 18th week of pregnancy. Women experience higher pain intensity with pelvic pain than back pain, and the higher a woman's relaxation levels, the more pain she will experience. This pain is caused by stretching of the pelvic ligaments, causing the pelvic muscles to attempt to establish stability by increasing muscle tension, leading to chronic pain in the area. Because the discomfort is primarily caused by hormonal changes, it cannot be prevented during pregnancy.
On the other hand, secondary muscle pain can be prevented. If your client receives supportive bodywork during her pregnancy, she is likely to have no further pain after her baby is born. Some studies have shown that more than 35% of women who had no treatment during pregnancy suffered persistent pelvic pain afterward.
In particular, if a woman has pelvic pain, she should not be encouraged to do back exercises, or any kind of vigorous exercise. Exercise will only increase her pain, especially the following day. She should avoid stairs, standing on one leg, extensive walking, extreme ranges of motion of her back and pelvis, standing, heavy lifting and prolonged sitting. She should also avoid bed rest, since this will weaken supportive muscles. One of the most helpful support measures for pelvic pain is the use of a pelvic belt. These should be worn throughout the pregnancy whenever your client is upright. Bodywork techniques should focus on the pelvic musculature, particularly the gluteus maximus,gluteus medius, lateral hip rotators, the hamstrings, hip adductors, the rectus femoris, and the quadratus lumbuorum. Techniques that will be particularly effective for pelvic pain include neuromuscular therapy, muscle energy techniques, and positional release techniques. Clients should also be taught side-lying positioning that supports a neutral pelvis (no rotation) for sleeping and resting.
After giving birth, posterior pelvic pain disappears in most women within three months. When a woman begins to exercise again, she should start with strengthening exercise for her pelvic muscles, before she begins any back exercise.
Click here for previous articles by Kate Jordan, NCTMB.
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