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Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
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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