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News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
October, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 10
Understanding Disuse Atrophy
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Observations from clinical practice have indicated that one of the most significant detrimental effects of disuse on the body is muscular atrophy. Disuse atrophy might occur from an injury that forces the individual to keep an area in a cast for a prolonged period.It also might occur in situations in which bed rest or non-weight-bearing is mandated for rehabilitation from an injury. Regardless of the cause of the disuse, we now have learned a great deal about what occurs in muscle tissue as a result of disuse, and it's clear that it leads to significant muscular dysfunction.
Muscles throughout the body are comprised of different types of fibers. Human muscle has two primary fiber types. The first is called type 1, or slow-twitch muscle fiber. These fibers are most prevalent in muscles used for endurance, such as the postural muscles of the body. The second fiber variation is type 2, or fast-twitch fibers. These fibers are more prevalent in muscles that do short, powerful bursts of activity. Note that not everyone has the same percentage of fiber type in each of his or her muscles. That is one reason some individuals excel at distance running, while others excel at sprinting. In animal studies, there is some indication that disuse atrophy affects these two different types of fibers at a different rate.1 However, in humans there is no conclusive evidence to suggest either type of muscle fiber atrophies faster than the other.
It's surprising how fast disuse atrophy might occur. This has been studied by investigating what happens during limb immobilization after injury. One study found that muscle wasting was detected in as little as three days following immobilization.2 The degree of atrophy experienced in a muscle depends on how that muscle is used. For example, it's evident that disuse atrophy occurs much more rapidly in antigravity muscles than in their antagonists.1 Antigravity muscles are the primary ones used to hold us upright and resist the downward pull of gravity. This is one reason you see atrophy in the quadriceps muscles much more quickly than in the hamstrings.
Another factor related to disuse atrophy that is very evident with the quadriceps, is the position of immobilization. It has been shown that disuse atrophy is exacerbated for a muscle held in a shortened position. Most knee pathologies keep the knee immobilized in extension, rather than in flexion. When the knee is in extension, the quadriceps are passively shortened and the hamstrings are held in a lengthened position. The passive shortening of the quadriceps encourages the loss of integrity of sarcomeres in the muscle.1 This is one of the primary reasons range of motion is limited following immobilization. Immediately after the immobilization, it's important to encourage adequate stretching of the quadriceps fibers to speed the return to optimal function.
Interesting studies about muscle atrophy have been done with astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the space shuttle and the space station.3 These individuals develop significant amounts of muscle atrophy after spending time in a zero-gravity environment. At first, it was thought the lack of movement was what led to the muscular atrophy, but recent studies have indicated otherwise.4 During space shuttle missions, the astronauts often are engaged in vigorous muscular activity while carrying out their work on equipment. What appears to be more significant for all muscles of the body is the absence of load-bearing and muscular effort required to resist gravity.
It appears disuse also might have detrimental effects on neuromuscular function, in addition to the structural changes in muscle tissue. Several researchers examined muscle strength after immobilization and found there was a greater degree of strength loss compared to the amount of muscle atrophy measured by muscle size reduction.5 Because the strength loss was greater than the degree of muscle atrophy, there appears to be something else occurring other than muscular atrophy alone. It has been suggested the strength loss is due to an inability to recruit the motor unit properly. In essence, there is a "forgetting" of how to properly coordinate motor function that occurs from disuse.
It has been established that there are significant structural, neuromuscular and biochemical changes in muscles as a result of disuse. We also know from clinical experience that massage appears to have significant beneficial effects in restoring range of motion following immobilization or inactivity. It would be valuable to take these concepts and look at them together, to see if there is some better understanding we might gain of how best to use massage to combat muscular atrophy resulting from disuse.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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