resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
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.
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.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
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.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
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.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
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.
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.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
March, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 03
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
Author's note: There is a movement in the health sciences away from using the possessive form of a disease name. This makes some sense, since it's not really Parkinson's disease; it's the disease of those who live with it.Sometimes this change takes the form of turning a descriptive term into a noun (e.g., from Parkinson's to parkinsonism) and sometimes the apostrophe simply disappears (e.g., Alzheimer disease). Since my column "What's on Your Table" always strives to stay on the cutting edge of both grammar and science, I will do my best to incorporate this new adjustment to the language.
The consensus is clear: Parkinson's disease, also called parkinsonism, is the issue on the table for today. Parkinsonism is a fairly common progressive degenerative central nervous system (CNS) disorder that leads to dysfunction at the motor centers in the basal ganglia. It affects about one in 1,000 people in the U.S., and the majority of people with parkinsonism are mature. It is unusual to see diagnoses in persons under 50 years of age - Michael J. Fox is a famous exception to this rule.
Etiology: What happens? Understanding the etiology of this disorder is a little like playing "The House that Jack Built" because the sequence of events is so specific and predictable.
So the sequence goes like this: A voluntary impulse to stand on one foot begins in the cerebral cortex. It is sent through the basal ganglia where, because adequate dopamine is supplied by substantia nigra cells, this impulse travels to the prime movers and antagonists of the lower extremity and postural muscles in order to bend the knee (go ahead, try it).
Parkinsonism occurs when the cells in the substantia nigra unexpectedly and prematurely die. Consequently, dopamine is in short supply in the basal ganglia; it becomes difficult to initiate voluntary movement (this is called bradykinesia - the person often reports feeling "rooted to the floor"), and/or the balance between prime movers and antagonists is disrupted, leading to rigidity or tremor. Several other symptoms may develop as well; they will be discussed shortly.
Causes: Most of the time, it is unclear exactly why the substantia nigra cells die off. Genetics and environmental exposure (or the combination of both) are often thought to be contributing factors. Excessive exposure to carbon monoxide, heavy metals, pesticides or agricultural chemicals is sometimes suspected. Repeated head trauma causes a variation called pugilistic parkinsonism; this is the case with former boxer Muhammad Ali. Most cases of parkinsonism, however, are considered to be idiopathic (of unknown origin).
Signs and Symptoms: Parkinsonism presents very differently in different people, but most primary symptoms have to do with movement problems. A short list of primary and secondary symptoms includes the following:
Treatment: Chemical imbalances in the CNS are often difficult to treat because the blood-brain barrier (a layer of cells that wrap around blood vessels in the brain) blocks the introduction of many substances into this precious environment. Some drugs must be administered in high amounts to overcome this obstacle.
Treatment for parkinsonism often begins with a dopamine precursor, or dopamine agonists. These substances essentially try to replace what the damaged substantia nigra cells should be producing; however, remember that dopamine in the basal ganglia helps create coordinated movement, but too much dopamine in the frontal lobe can cause hallucinations - a significant side-effect! Furthermore, most patients eventually develop tolerance to these drugs, and they lose their efficacy.
Other drugs work to change dopamine metabolism and other brain activity, but at this time no permanent solution or cure for parkinsonism exists. Other options include surgery to affect the globus pallidus or thalamus (this helps to control very extreme tremor), deep-brain stimulation, and eventually the possibility of stem cell implantation with the goal of re-growing the damaged substantia nigra cells.
Massage? Parkinson's patients experience progressive stiffness and rigidity of voluntary muscles. Rigidity is safe for massage, especially when sensation is present, but it is important to remember that this comes about because of a CNS dysfunction, and won't be completely resolved, even with the most brilliantly applied bodywork.
Several different modalities have been quantifiably researched in the context of parkinsonism, including Trager, Alexander Technique and Swedish massage with specific muscle exercises. All modalities report improvement in function, from the reduction of rigidity and improvement of sleep, to the reduction of tremor and increase of daily activity stamina.
It is important to work in cooperation with a client's primary physician, because massage may impact the need for antidepressants and other medication. Be aware, however, that clients with Parkinson's disease do not have the freedom of movement that most other people do, and they may have great difficulty in getting on and off tables safely. Some massage therapists address this by working with these clients on chairs or floor mats.
On a final note, I'd like to recognize two people for their contributions to my preparation of this article. One is a reader named David Ponsonby, who has done an enormous amount of research on this topic and generously shared his information - this article barely scratches the surface of what he has collected on this topic. David has allowed me to put interested readers in touch with him for more information.
The other person is a massage therapist named Jan Mueller who, years ago, published a fascinating and lovely article on working with clients who have Parkinson's disease in the Massage Therapy Journal [Winter 1996, (35): 1]. I made mention of her wonderful work at a class I taught in Kentucky one time, and it turned out by chance that she was one of the participants! Thanks, Jan, for your pioneering work.
And now, loyal readers, a familiar plea: What will it be for next time? At the moment I'm on a progressive degenerative CNS disorder roll, and could easily continue with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a.k.a., Lou Gehrig's disease). If you have experience with clients who live with this disease, I invite you to share your wisdom with the rest of our readership. If you have other ideas about what you'd like to read about, let me know that, too. Please let me know: What's on your table?
Many thanks and many blessings,
Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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