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Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
September, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 09
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
A good friend and colleague of mine attended a professional seminar this past June in New York City called "Challenges in Women's Healthcare: Urogynecology for Primary Care Providers." All of the speakers and most of the attendees were doctors, but there also was a smattering of physical therapists, like my friend, and occupational therapists.The general topic of the seminar was the female pelvic floor, in all its glory and with all its problems.
As my friend relayed to me (and I have the course material to back all this up), one of the doctors gave a speech on "The Effects of Pregnancy and Childbirth on the Pelvic Floor." Supported by many impressive studies, the doctor proffered that a vaginal birth is responsible for urinary and anal incontinence, pelvic prolapse, sexual dysfunction, pudendal nerve damage and pubococcygeal muscle damage. The cure? Cesarean section!
The other doctors fastidiously took notes. A few doctors and several allied professionals questioned the doctor's findings. For instance, were these births augmented and were there obstetric interventions (e.g., forceps, episiotomy)? Were the laboring women in these studies given Pitocin or any pain medications that blocked sensation? How were they pushing during active labor? What position were these women in while giving birth? Were they taught exhalation pushing and how to use their transverse abdominis during labor, or were they directed to "hold their breath, bear down and push?" Were any of these women in the studies taught correct Kegel exercises during pregnancy or given physical therapy during postpartum recovery? Were any of these case studies performed on women who had water births?
None of these valid points was addressed in the lecture, but C-sections nonetheless were hailed as the best way to avoid pelvic floor complications after childbirth.
I'm floored. OK, let's look at the pelvic floor during childbirth. The compression of the fetus on the muscles of the pelvic floor, along with the effects of progesterone and relaxin, softens joints and ligaments and allow these muscles to stretch and bulge. The bladder and ureters also lose their tone during pregnancy (even if the birth is surgical). But Kegel exercises have been proven to maintain and restore functional integrity to the pelvic floor (antepartum and postpartum), and the position in which the gravida labors can have a tremendous impact on the strength of the pelvic floor.
In addition, the directed pushing needed as a result of anesthesia or labor position is responsible for many of the long-term weaknesses of the pelvic floor. Known as the Valsalva technique (holding the breath and forceful bearing down), this method of pushing encourages fetal hypoxia (lack of oxygen), perineal tears, increased intrathoracic pressure, increased cardiac output and blood pressure, slowed maternal pulse rate and damage to the pelvic floor. It might be a vaginal birth, but one that was poorly guided.
During the pushing process, the laboring woman should be in a squatting or semi-sitting position to widen the pelvic outlet and work with gravity, not against it. The woman should exhale, or allow the air to escape from her lungs as she pushes, to reduce pressure on the pelvic floor. Some care providers actually prefer for the woman not to push at all in the early second stage of labor, because the natural forces of uterine contractions move the fetus quite handily down the birth canal. The focused pushing only is used to expel the fetus from the birth canal. In this way, little pressure is exerted on the pelvic floor and little, if any, damage is done.
Prenatal care and postpartum recovery should include exercises and physical therapy, if necessary, to maintain and restore the pelvic floor muscles. Birthing in female- and fetus-friendly ways can do more to keep the pelvic floor intact than a traumatic surgical procedure.
Instead of a surgeon recommending surgery as a preventative measure, why not teach women (and their doctors) the most effective way to maintain and respect their bodies during pregnancy and childbirth?
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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