resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
November, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 11
Herpes Simplex Demystified
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
Author's note: I would like to thank Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins for the use of the pictures in this article. These photographs appear in A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology, 2nd ed., Ruth Werner, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2002.
The original citations for these photos are: 1) Herpes [reprinted with permission from Rassner G.Atlas of Dermatology, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger: 1994:42.] 2) Herpes Whitlow [reprinted with permission from Goodheart HP. A Photoguide of Common Skin Disorders: Diagnosis and Management. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins; 1999:90.
As a person who has been involved in massage education for 20 years, I know that one of the things students and therapists fear most is the threat of contagious skin diseases; however, as with all things fearful, the best defense is knowledge. In that spirit, I offer this month's topic: herpes simplex. The good news about herpes is you probably already have it; the bad news is it's possible to get it in new places. My hope is that by reading this material you will feel better prepared to protect yourself and your clients from this tough, sturdy virus.
Definition of Herpes Simplex - The word herpes comes from the Greek root herpein, meaning "creeping thing," or serpent. It is an interesting description for this family of viruses that, once introduced into the body, are never fully expelled. They can become inactive, but infections may recur at any time, often when the immune system is sluggish or overtaxed. Herpes viruses include: herpes simplex, Epstein-Barr virus (associated with mononucleosis), varicella zoster (chickenpox and shingles), cytomegalovirus, which typically becomes active when people are immune-suppressed, and others.
Herpes simplex is occasionally discussed as Type I and Type II viruses: Type I has traditionally been associated with oral lesions (the euphemisms for these are "cold sores" or "fever blisters," probably because they tend to occur when the immune system is overtaxed), while Type II virus has been associated with genital herpes.
Examinations of oral and genital lesions show significant crossover between Type I and Type II virus; both have the same treatment options, so the delineation between them has little significance.
Etiology - Herpes simplex is spread through mucous secretions. A person's first outbreak, which usually occurs two to 20 days after exposure, is called primary herpes. All subsequent outbreaks are called recurrent herpes. Recurrent herpes usually occurs in the same place as the primary lesion, because the virus has taken up residence in the affected nerve root. A primary herpes outbreak is often unnoticed.
Most cases of oral herpes are picked up during infancy or early childhood, and the new carrier may never be aware of his or her infection. In rare cases, however, the primary infection may be very extreme, accompanied by fever, swollen glands and many painful sores that may last from two to six weeks.
Signs and Symptoms - Herpes simplex has a fairly predictable presentation: the affected area may experience some pain or tingling a few days before an outbreak (the "prodromic" stage), then a blister or cluster of blisters appears on a red base. The painful, itchy blisters erupt and ooze virus-rich liquid all around the area. The blisters scab over after a week or 10 days, ending the most contagious phase of the disease. Altogether the outbreak lasts about two to three weeks.
Many of us are familiar with oral herpes; these lesions are typically on the lips, but may be elsewhere on the face or even inside the mouth. (Most sores that occur inside the mouth are not herpes, however.)
Genital herpes is not limited to appearing only on the genitals; these lesions may appear virtually anywhere between the knees and the waist, affecting the sacrum, the buttocks and the thighs - all places massage therapists may work.
Two other herpes simplex patterns are worth noting: herpes Whitlow and herpes gladitorium. Herpes Whitlow appears on the hands, especially the nail beds. Herpes gladitorium is named for its habit of appearing virtually anywhere on the bodies of wrestlers: friction burns and contaminated wrestling mats are probably the mode of transmission for this group.
Communicability - The herpes virus is famous for its communicability. Unlike many pathogens, it can remain dormant and healthy outside of a host body for hours at a time. Exactly how long is a matter of some debate. This means that the face pad that an infected client used may now pass the virus to another client. Used face cloths and towels may also harbor the virus. Even leaving aside the possibility of infecting other people, herpes is notorious for spreading to other parts of the body.
While it doesn't happen often, touching a cold sore and then touching the eye can result in a painful and dangerous herpetic infection of the cornea (herpes keratitis). One of the most dangerous aspects of a herpes infection is that a patient could be shedding the virus during the prodromic stage, with no visible lesion. This means that all it takes to catch herpes from another person is skin-to-skin contact with live virus. No sore or break in the skin is necessary.
While exposure to herpes is almost a given for adults in this country, herpes antibodies provide only limited protection against the establishment of new sites of infection. This is why massage therapists, even those who know they have been exposed, must work to prevent contracting herpes simplex at a new portal of entry.
Treatment - Herpes is a viral infection, which means there's little to do for it but wait for it to be over. Antiviral drugs may shorten the duration of an infection, but they don't prevent future outbreaks. Prevention is the main thrust for treatment of this condition; this means isolating towels, bedding and clothing, and avoiding sexual contact while lesions are present. Keeping as healthy as possible between outbreaks is an important way to reduce the frequency and severity of herpes episodes.
The good news about herpes is that the social stigma that used to be attached to this infection has been largely lifted. Many people no longer feel a need to hide this part of their medical history. If a client has a history of herpes, it's important to explain why it's a bad idea to receive a massage during an outbreak, and to request that he or she reschedule if prodromic symptoms or blisters are present. Even after a lesion has scabbed over, herpes is at very least a local contraindication. Because this virus can survive outside of a host, consider the sheets of any client with herpes as "hot": isolate them in a closed container and either have them professionally laundered or add extra bleach to their wash cycle.
Sometimes it is impossible to avoid working with a client who has an active cold sore. This might be a good time, however, to avoid not only this person's face, but also his or her hands. Those of us who get occasional outbreaks of herpes know how hard it is not to touch the blisters, even when we try to be conscientious about good hygiene.
For next time: What's it to be, readers? Right now warts are at the top of my list, but flu season is upon us, and last year's outbreak of avian flu around the globe may create an interesting season. Or do you have something else you want to find out about? Let me know: What's on your table?
Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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