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News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic health.
Unlevel Pelvis in the High-School Athlete: Exploring Causes and Effects
The unlevel pelvis is all too common in the high-school athlete and if not detected, will likely cause a lifetime of musculoskeletal issues. Any provider who doesn't look for this common finding is missing critical information.
Mind-Body in Motion
A central goal of low back pain treatment involves the correction of dysfunctional movement patterns believed to be responsible for spinal overload.
Connecting the Dots
In 2002, I published a book on patient examination procedures that included information on the procedural coding of the recommended examinations. The book should have been published in 2000, but I had trouble finding a publisher. Why?
Leaving Footprints on Capitol Hill: Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Luedtke (1930-2014)
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Luedtke.
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
The CDC came out with a report in March 2013 that suggests 1 in 50 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum – significantly higher than the 1 in 86 figure that came out in 2007. What does this mean moving forward, particularly for children?
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Help Your Parents Stay Engaged
As much as parents may wish it were so, children do not come with an instruction manual. There's no "how to" that can be followed and no two children are alike, so what works with one generally won't work with the next.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Let's Speak With One Voice in 2015
For the longest time, the chiropractic profession has attempted to achieve some form of unity. On a political level, this was characterized by an ultimately unsuccessful two-year merger effort between ACA and ICA leadership from 1986-1988.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
November, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 11
By Erik Dalton, PhD
Most of the human race suffers some form of neck and back pain during their lifetime just as common as a headache, stomach ache or knee pain. "Until it was turned into a medical condition in the early 20th century, back pain was considered an inevitable human experience," said Canadian surgeon Hamilton Hall, MD."There is no simple cure because there is usually not a clear-cut precipitating trigger associated with many forms of musculoskeletal pain," notes Hall.
Despite the liberal use of the words "back injury" across modern societies, most episodes of back pain do not have an obvious cause. "Research indicates that approximately two of every three people who experience pain in the spine are unable to identify any specific event that may have caused their problems," states Hall. Back pain simply happens!
The modern perspective that neck and back pain is a variable, intermittent illness rather than a one-time condition should not be considered a threatening event for our clients. In the vast majority of cases, recurrences of these painful conditions are not signs of advancing disease, an omen of chronic disability or even a cause for significant worry.
Some researchers draw an analogy between back pain and upper respiratory infections. Many individuals get colds or respiratory infections several times each year, yet are typically not viewed as a significant threat to their health. Colds don't require high-tech diagnostic testing, heroic treatment interventions or significant absence from work. These conditions, like most cases of neck/back pain, simply are bumps in the road.
However, some have begun to question the possibility of previously unrecognized neurobiological processes that might unravel the question: Why are some people more susceptible to pain than others? One interesting new area of pain management research that is gaining a great deal of attention proposes alternative ways that nerve impulses are transmitted and learned by the central nervous system.
For decades, it was thought that spinal cord, brain and peripheral pain transmission pathways were hardwired circuits whose job was simply to communicate pain signals from injured or diseased parts of the body to specific message centers in the brain. But based on recent scientific research, new ideas are emerging on how pain transmission actually works and how the brain has the ability to create the conscious experience of pain.
A process called sensitization has become a topic of great interest to neuroscientists studying transmission mechanisms of painful stimuli. The puzzling question is: How are pain messages actually delivered? A discussion of sensitization might help somatic practitioners better understand why a client's chronic pain can be so severe, but in some cases, seem out of proportion to the degree of injury or disease in the affected body tissues. This understanding also might help explain why specific treatments directed at pain relief often provide'only limited benefit.
The neurobiology of sensitization is extremely complex, but the basic idea behind it is fairly straightforward. When pain signals are transmitted from injured or diseased tissues, these signals can then activate (sensitize) pain circuits in the peripheral nervous system, spinal cord and brain by burning a memory pathway (See Figure).
The process of sensitization can be compared to overly adjusting the volume control on a stereo system, thereby amplifying and sometimes distorting the pain message. This results in a painful condition that is severe and out of proportion to the actual dysfunction or original injury. Sensitization has the innate ability to alter all regions of the central nervous system that process pain messages. This includes the sensing, feeling and thinking centers of the brain. Here lies one explanation why chronic pain often is associated with, not only physical disorders, but also emotional and psychological suffering as well.
Phantom Limb Pain
A perfect example of the workings of sensitization can be found in the sometimes mysterious condition called phantom limb pain. In the presence of phantom limb pain, the client might feel intense pain in an area where the body part is missing. Common examples are seen in amputated arms and legs, as well as in women experiencing abdominal pain years after undergoing a hysterectomy. The difficult-to-treat problem of phantom limb pain is consciously actualized by persistent activation (sensitization) of the pain transmission pathways from the site of amputation up to the brain.
But what about the presence of sensitization in various pain conditions where amputation or surgeries to remove diseased organs don't exist? Too often, manual therapy treatments in such cases are directed to body areas that were once actual pain-generators, (i.e., where the injured or diseased tissues once existed). Regrettably, "chasing the pain" by directing therapy to where the client currently is hurting will have little effect on the sensitized pain pathways in the spinal cord and brain. As a result, little benefit is experienced.
Having said that, the author has found that application of specific deep tissue and assisted stretching techniques to torsioned and compressed joint-related soft tissues co-activates and desensitizes noxious mechanoreceptive activity leading to a reduction in pain. Successful outcomes require the therapist concentrate treatment to areas proximal to the previously injured or amputated tissues (usually beginning in the lamina groove). Proper treatment to deep intrinsic muscles, spinal ligaments, joint capsules, and visceral structures co-activates a wider range of neuro-receptors, which enhances the desensitization process.
Click here for more information about Erik Dalton, PhD.
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