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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
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!
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
September, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 09
The Inside-Out Paradigm: Small Facts, Big Implications
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
Why do the human neck and back experience pain so often? Because much of what sustains our lives is suspended forward from them. The basic principle is that tensions in the front of the body are transferred to the posterior aspect of the human spine, where the sensory nerves register the strain and stimulate the muscles of the back and neck to contract.Our bodies valiantly endeavor to distribute this strain. Eventually, clients present with musculoskeletal problems that do not resolve, but instead, emerge and persist. Quality of life starts to diminish.
Let's begin at the top. The esophagus is tethered from a slip of fascial tissue that bridges the sphenobasilar junction, right behind your eyes. Contraction, contracture or spasm of this connecting tube between the cranium and the upper abdomen pulls the head down upon the neck, and eventually pulls it forward and down. Wherever the head goes, the rest of the body must follow. The strain might be felt into the neck, upper-back or mid-back regions.
During our embryonic development, the heart and the diaphragm muscles begin their descent from the 2nd cervical segment. During this same descent, the pericardial sac of the heart becomes welded to the diaphragm muscle. Our lungs also hang from the neck via Sibson's fascia, which interdigitate with the scalene muscles as far up as the 4th cervical segment. This has many implications; consider two of the most obvious. Breathing difficulties of all varieties and cardiac dysfunction of any kind will inevitably and literally pull the human neck and upper back forward and down toward the pelvis.
Let's return to the esophagus again. The heart has an indentation for the passage of this muscular swallowing tube between itself and the spine. What might be the effect of contracture of the esophagus on heart function? How might the body attempt to distribute this strain? Where will it be felt? The clinical principle here is that where clients report pain is rarely the true source of its origin.
The colon is suspended from the space between the 9th and 10th ribs and is anchored into the hip bones internally. Consider a contracture of the ascending colon on the right side of the body. Might this exert a strong influence for the spine to side-bend to the right and rotate left, resulting down the kinetic chain in the common observation of a short left leg?
Even less appreciated is the fact that the mesenteric root of the small intestine is suspended forward from the 3rd lumbar vertebra. Given that the length of this crucial organ of digestion is approximately 8-12 feet long and that its weight may exceed 50 pounds, it is little wonder that low back dysfunction is a leading source of diminishing quality of life.
What all these small facts lead to is a need to shift our therapeutic perception to working from the "inside-out." What is happening internally is where the real action is. Our organ systems are what replenish our energy and cleanse our bodies. This does not negate the influence of traumatic incidences that "flash freeze" the body's sense of balance in relation to gravity. Rather, internal relationships and their dysfunctions predispose the lines along which trauma tends to fixate the system. Any locking of the system will progressively reduce the body's ability to allocate its resources of oxygen and nourishment to all of its systems. Aggregately, this creates a breeding ground for all varieties of chronic problems to emerge, and even for pathology to develop.
Our task as massage therapists is to stem this tide - and if possible, to help turn the boat toward assisting the body to redistribute its strain and reallocate its resources more equitably. This is perhaps a functional definition of physical healing.
Click here for more information about Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD.
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