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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."
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
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.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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