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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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
January, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 01
The Potential Impact of Orthodontia on Whole-Body Health
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
While the craniosacral system is comprised of the membranes and fluid that surround the brain and spinal cord, its numerous osseous relations can impact the body in far-reaching ways. For instance, I was a professor of biomechanics at Michigan State University in 1976, when I first witnessed the effects of orthodontia on the spinal alignment of the vertebral bones.
The patient was a 16-year-old girl who had begun to develop scoliosis about two years earlier.Her father, an English professor at the university, told me her orthopedic surgeon wanted to implant corrective rods for the scoliosis, which had been measured at 38 degrees in the thoracic curve. At his request, I began to see his daughter weekly.
Over a period of six weeks, we were able to reduce the curve to 18 degrees using a combination of CranioSacral Therapy, Myofascial Release, osteopathic spinal manipulation and Therapeutic Imagery. At that point, I continued to try to help improve her condition. After four or five unsuccessful attempts, however, I realized that each time I balanced her occipital bone it was off balance the following week.
Clearly, I had not located the underlying cause of the occipital bone problem. The occipital bone had to be relieved of its abnormal transverse tilt and its restriction to motion, which were both compromising craniosacral system function. The sphenoid bone remained transversely tilted in the opposite direction from the occiput.
Ultimately, I discovered the hard palate was preventing the sphenoid bone from maintaining the corrections. Could it be that the orthodontic braces the patient had been wearing for about three years were contributing to her scoliosis? The answer proved to be "yes." At my request, the orthodontist removed the braces from the patient's mouth. Subsequently, her scoliotic curve was able to correct to less than five degrees and there was no recurrence of scoliosis over the next five years. I continued to see her every six months or so until she married and left home.
Please allow me to explain the biomechanics of how such an event could occur in a 16-year-old girl. The paired maxillary bones are influenced via the pterygoid wings of the sphenoid bone with which they articulate bilaterally. The maxillary bones move in concert with the sphenoid bone via these articulations. Actually, the distance between the second upper molars on each side fluctuates about two millimeters at a rate of 8-12 cycles per minute in accordance with the craniosacral rhythm. The sphenoid bone is one of the prime movers of the craniosacral system. When the bone's mobility is restricted, the craniosacral system tries very hard to compensate for the dysfunction, but it's seldom fully successful.
When an orthodontic appliance is put on the upper teeth and it crosses the midline between the two anteromedially located incisors, the motion of the maxillary bones induced by the sphenoid bone is inhibited and sometimes totally restricted. When they are first applied, the braces also might entrap one of the maxilla in an external position and the other in an internal position. In CranioSacral Therapy, the motions of the maxillae in response to the sphenoid bone are called internal and external rotations, because the maxillae appear to rotate about individual axes generally directed in anterior-posterior directions.
The distance across the hard palate is measured using the biting surfaces of the second molars as reference points. The usual mean distance variation between these teeth in response to internal and external rotations of the maxillae is two millimeters. In the case of my scoliosis patient, the braces locked the left maxilla in external rotation while locking the right maxilla in internal rotation. The abnormal positional locking of the maxillae caused the sphenoid bone to eventually yield to these abnormal forces after attempting to correct the problem and then adapt to it. Having ultimately failed in these attempts, the sphenoid was forced into a transversely oriented tilt, with its left side tilted in a superior direction and its right side in an inferior direction.
Next, the occiput had to compensate for the sphenoid tilt. In order to do this, the occiput had to tilt in the opposite direction, right side superior and left side inferior. This occipital tilt placed an increased traction on the right side of the dural tube as it ran through the sinal/vertebral canal. It also allowed less tension or increased slack on the left side of the dural tube.
We have found over and over again that the sacrum mimics the occiput unless there is a significant restriction of the dural tube somewhere between the occiput and the sacrum. In the case of our patient, the sacrum was mimicking the occiput. The right upper pole of the sacrum was higher; the left was abnormally lower. Hence, the sacral base, which is the upper transverse boundary of the sacrum, presented a tilted foundation for the spinal column to rest upon. Because of this un-level sacral base with the right side high and the left side low, the 5th lumbar vertebra had to angle off to the left, creating a "leaning-tower" dynamic. In order to correct this, the remaining lumbar vertebrae formed a scoliotic curve so the thoracolumbar junction crossed the midline center of gravity.
Now we had the upper lumbar coming diagonally across the midline center of gravity from the left, thus sending the lower thoracic vertebra off diagonally to the right. This curve needed to come back to the midline center of gravity at about the cervico-thoracic juncture in order to maintain body balance. The compensatory lumbar and thoracic spinal curves form the classic "S" curve of scoliosis. In the neck, we also might have a compensatory curve that involves most of the cervical spinal vertebrae. Clearly, the balance for the neck is skewed as the upper thoracic vertebral column comes to the midline center of gravity.
Sometimes this whole compensation in the neck occurs from a sharp displacement of the two lower cervical vertebrae atop the 1st thoracic vertebrae. This acute compensation at the lower cervical vertebrae often is painful and frequently results in brachialgia or dysfunction of the arms and hands, all due to nerve-root compression. It seems reasonable to me that the powerful nerve reflexes that strive to keep the eyes horizontal with the horizon might require this compensation at the cervicothoracic junction.
This is but one example of how orthodontia can affect the craniosacral-neuromusculoskeletal relationship to impact the whole body. To learn more, read "Surviving Orthodontics: A Bodyworker's Exploration into Orthodontics and CranioSacral Therapy," by Nancy Burke, CMT, CST. You can find it at www.upledger.com/news/9803.htm.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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