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Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
November, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 11
Myoskeletal ... Machinery of Life?
By Erik Dalton, PhD
The human body is not a machine; indeed, it is very plastic. This plasticity is what gives a dancer grace and an athlete power of movement. Like a machine, however, the body is comprised of many parts - each working for the benefit of the others.Smooth functioning of each part is required for the optimal efficiency and well-being of the entire organism. Proper functioning requires structural balance of all myoskeletal tissues forming from the mesoderm: ligaments, fasciae, muscles, joint capsules, intervertebral discs, bones, etc. This article discusses the mysterious beauty of the body's self-regulatory mechanisms and the reciprocal nature of structure and function.
For the body to sail smoothly through life, it must have a way of repairing, regulating and protecting itself. Unlike a machine, the human body has self-regulatory mechanisms that allow it to adjust to environmental stresses while maintaining homeostasis in all systems: myofascial, skeletal, nervous, circulatory, endocrine, etc. These mechanisms attempt to keep the body in balance regardless of what works upon it or what happens around it; thus, the human body has built-in devices to protect it from disease and other outside forces that may jeopardize its health. It has the ability to produce specific antibodies after exposure to an antigen through a process called active immunity. Through complex interactions, the body is able to detoxify ingested, absorbed, inhaled or injected drugs, and foreign substances. Likewise, when physical injury occurs, local myofascial structures tighten (protective muscle spasm) allowing the body to compensate and continue on its journey safely, healthfully and productively. Regrettably, the compensations often spread and are soon reflected in every step we take.
So, the body is not a machine. It is a dynamic mechanism capable of continually repairing and replacing worn-out and injured cells. It works to heal dysfunctional joints and soft tissues, including visceral structures. D.D. Palmer, the father of chiropractic, once noted, "the body is always working toward order" in a process guided by an underlying "innate intelligence." Through years of acute observation, many manual therapists have become aware of this innate intelligence and learned to view the body itself as the primary healer, offering their hands and skills only as tools to assist the process.
From this perspective, the therapist's job - and ultimate intent - should be simply to guide the healing process. There is no need to control the process or force one's will upon it. Albert Einstein offers a beautiful summation, "All means prove a blunt instrument if they have not behind them a living spirit."
Structure and Function
An important guideline for all manual therapists specializing in pain management is to develop a basic understanding of the reciprocal interrelationship between structure and function. Simply stated, structure affects function; function affects structure. It is not necessary to look very deeply to see that functional demands require specific structures. A jet is cumbersome on the ground, and the wheelbarrow was not designed to fly. For the jet to function in the air, it needs wings, navigational instruments, rudders, and the like. Yet having that structure makes it perfectly suited for the function of flying, so structure also determines function.
The body's myoskeletal system was not designed to simply lug around 30 feet of intestines, 60 miles of blood vessels, the heart, lungs, sex organs, etc. It exists so people can accomplish tasks and effectively communicate physically and emotionally. The myoskeletal system should therefore be considered a major part of the "machinery of life." With this understanding, it can be said that there are neurological as well as myoskeletal components present in every dysfunction or disease, although all aspects may not be immediately obvious (e.g., with such conditions as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or visceral disorders). In fact, prolonged myoskeletal dysfunction will eventually "burn" a memory pattern within the central nervous system so that even after the initial irritating myoskeletal obstruction is removed, the original symptoms continue and may actually grow in severity.
When working from a structural model, the trained manual therapist is often able to identify and treat dysfunction in patients who have no symptoms and by some standards would be considered healthy; this is done by identifying strain patterns before they become pain patterns.
Structure and Function: The Relation to Gravity
When studying human structure, it becomes apparent that structure and function of the musculoligamentous system are particularly influenced by, and responsible for, static and dynamic postural alignment. Postural (tonic) muscles are structurally designed to resist fatigue and function in the presence of prolonged gravitational exposure, such as standing upright. When their capacity to resist stress is overwhelmed, tonic muscles become irritable, tight, and often shortened; through reciprocal innervation, their antagonists become weak and inhibited. As typically weak muscles, such as rectus abdominis, gluteals, deep neck flexors, and lower shoulder stabilizers, begin to loose the battle with gravity, weight is transferred to deep ligamentous and bony myoskeletal structures. The antigravity function of the body's myofascial system is lost.
This persistent gravitational loading ultimately results in the formation of predictable asymmetrical postural patterns in the neuromyoskeletal system. Dr. Ida Rolf made this relationship of structural alignment to gravity one of the keynotes of Rolfing, and it remains a definitive feature of all forms of structural integration.
A person's posture (structure) has much to do with the ability to perform efficiently. When the viscoelastic deformation properties of muscle are unable to resist postural stresses, predictable pathophysiologic changes occur. These changes are both functional and structural. The elastic component represents the transient functional change in connective-tissue length, occurring in response to stressors such as forward-head postures (i.e. Dowager's humps). The viscous component, on the other hand, is responsible for the more permanent deformation of connective tissue that occurs with static, long-term postural change as witnessed in the scoliotic population.
Musculoligamentous structures are easily recognized in clients exposed to prolonged gravitational stress. Symptoms arising from these common myofascial strain patterns have certain associated palpable characteristics that include the following:
Eventually, prolonged postural stress leads to predictable functional changes, such as a loss of flexibility, shallow breathing patterns, chronic fatigue, and digestive or hormonal disorders.
Therapists must learn to identify the subtle palpable changes and postural-pattern clues when assessing for neck, back and extremity pain. As myofascial structures undergo sustained changes in length and strength, new collagen realigns the connective tissues in response to vectors of stress. Often this process perpetuates postural problems by amplifying the biomechanical stress of gravity. Although these postural patterns are compensated, without proper manual therapy and home retraining exercises, they can easily de-compensate and quickly manifest as primary pain-generators.
Manual therapists often filter the results of the client's history, palpatory findings, and all other pertinent tests through a philosophic lens formed via the scientific scope of basic science and clinical experience. Impaired or altered function of the neuromyoskeletal system leads to stress and pain which may alter performance of internal organs, the hormonal system, and psychoimmunological functions. Fortunately, the body is not a machine and possesses the innate ability to heal - with a little help from friendly hands.
Click here for more information about Erik Dalton, PhD.
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