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The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
December, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 12
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Neck pain is a frequent reason for clients to see a massage therapist. In this issue, we'll examine torticollis, one cause of neck pain and disability that poses challenges in identification in the treatment room.Torticollis means literally, "twisted neck." A person with torticollis exhibits involuntary muscle contractions that lead to abnormal positions, and/or tremor or spasmodic movements of neck and head. Torticollis may manifest in different forms: congenital, spasmodic, or acute/acquired.
Congenital torticollis presents in infants and occurs at birth or shortly after. The condition may result from improper positioning in the uterus or birthing trauma. There are other roots of infant torticollis, such as structural or neurological. With treatment in the first year, this condition is usually resolved.
While considered rare, spasmodic torticollis, also known as cervical dystonia, may still affect close to 90,000 people in the United States. There are three variations named for the types of neuromuscular dysfunction: tonic (a sustained contraction), clonic (head shaking), and mixed (both). Spasmodic torticollis is a neurological condition that has no known cure and treatment is symptomatic. Clients who present with this condition should be instructed to contact one of several organizations that can provide support, information and resources to this population. Practitioners should also confirm the client has been diagnosed. In some cases, spasmodic torticollis is mistaken for muscular dystrophy, epilepsy or Parkinson's disease. There are significant distinctions between spasmodic and acquired or acute torticollis.
Acute or acquired (sometimes called "wry neck") is the most common form of torticollis characterized by constant muscle spasms in the neck. It appears in a broad spectrum of the population from children to adults. Acquired torticollis is caused by maintaining muscles in shortened positions for a prolonged period. The acute form might manifest as a result of a head or neck injury such as whiplash or concussion, in which symptoms may appear immediately or be delayed. Myofascial trigger points are another factor that either lead to the condition or perpetuate it. The condition seemingly appears "overnight" when, for example, a person has slept with his/her neck in an awkward position or a cold draft on their neck muscles. Other activities likely to produce acquired torticollis include holding the telephone between the head and shoulder, or playing an instrument, such as the violin, for long periods.
The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle is most commonly involved in acute or acquired torticollis. Because it is a contralateral rotator, any position that rotates the head to the opposite side for long periods may lead to the condition. A history that includes the nature of the onset, the length of time the condition has been present, and physician diagnosis should allow distinction between the neurological spasmodic form and the muscular variation.
The practitioner will be able to palpate - and usually observe - shortening and hypertonicity in the muscle. Visual indicators are similar with each variation of torticollis. The head and neck are held in a non-neutral position, often with rotation to the opposite side. The SCM on the affected side is likely to be more prominent than on the opposite side. In the clonic variation of spasmodic torticollis, there will be some shaking of the head.
The muscles of the cervical region may feel tight due to local muscle spasm. In some cases, especially if the condition is chronic, a degree of fibrotic change may develop and there may be palpable contracture in the muscles. Active and passive motions that turn the head in the opposite direction of the contraction are likely painful and limited. There may be pain associated with further rotation to the contracted side depending on the severity of the condition and the percentage of muscle fibers recruited for the activity.
Acquired torticollis is not serious and symptoms generally resolve in a couple of weeks. This condition also responds well to massage; however, care should be used in treatment, as the muscles are often painful from spasm and trigger-point activity. In order to rule out more serious neurological or structural disorders, it is a wise idea to have the client evaluated by another health professional prior to treatment.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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