resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
July, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 07
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus: A Moving Target
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
Last time, I promised to look at an emerging condition: MRSA, or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. This is based on several communications, including this one from a massage therapist in the Northeast:
Anyone who works in a hospital setting probably is already familiar with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, but this pathogen is now being found in community settings. Since we work so closely with people, it's in our best interest to be well-educated about this bug.
What Is MRSA?
Staphylococcus Aureus (named staphyle, Greek for grapes, and aureus for its yellow color under a microscope) is a group of bacteria known for colonizing human skin and nasal passages. Staph has two mechanisms to cause damage to humans: active tissue invasion through the building of abscesses, and the release of corrosive toxins that can kill cells. MRSA is an antibiotic-resistant form of staph that usually colonizes the skin, respiratory tract, or urinary tract. It's estimated that about 1 percent of the population carries MRSA.
We all know that bacteria can be transmitted from one person to another, but they also can be transmitted from one area to another within the same person. In other words, if a child wipes his nose and then scratches his scabbed knee, it's possible his knee injury could develop a staphylococcus infection. Further, once such an infection is established, it's possible for the staph bacteria to travel through the bloodstream to set up infections elsewhere. Pneumonia, bone and joint infections, heart valve damage and varieties of toxic shock syndrome are all possible complications of superficial staph infections. These are particular risks for people who already are immune-compromised.
MRSA has been a relatively common nocosomial (hospital-based) infection since the 1950s, but in the past several years it has been identified in nursing homes, outpatient treatment centers, prisons, athletic facilities, and others; these outbreaks are called community-acquired infections. MRSA is considered an emerging disease because it's easily communicated from one person to another, and its incidence is rising quickly. It has been identified in about 12 percent of all cultured boils outside of hospital settings.
Signs and Symptoms: Community-acquired MRSA infections usually are picked up through skin-to-skin contact, cuts and abrasions or contaminated surfaces. They often look like a boil or spider bite: a single pustule that is large, red and might be mildly to extremely painful. Fever and fatigue might accompany the lesion, which gets progressively worse. It does not respond to topical or oral applications of methicillin, penicillin, oxacillin or amoxicillin.
Treatment Options: Treatment for MRSA requires long doses of antibiotics that are not in the penicillin family. Infections can recur if antibiotic treatment is not completed. MRSA currently is sensitive to vancomysin, but vancomysin-resistant bacteria have already been observed in some settings, and the crossover from MRSA to vancomysin-resistant staph is a distinct possibility. In addition to antibiotic prescriptions, MRSA infections might be lanced and drained. Pain usually is managed with NSAIDs.
The continuing evolution of this and other pathogens makes prevention of infection vitally important for any person who comes in close contact with other people. Preventive measures include washing and carefully covering all open sores, avoiding picking at or touching open sores, not sharing any personal items like towels or razors, and disinfecting all surfaces touched by many people.
The recommended protocols to prevent the spread of MRSA are the same as those to prevent the spread of any contagious condition: observe standard precautions by covering any skin lesions, and cleaning all surfaces and fabrics that clients contact.
Any client with an undiagnosed skin lesion, especially if it's inflamed, painful and showing signs of infection (i.e., pus), should consult his or her primary care physician before getting massage. Certainly, if a boil-like lesion is accompanied by fever and malaise, the massage needs to be rescheduled and the client should be counseled to see a doctor. MRSA is a contagious and potentially dangerous bacterial infection that must be cleared before any modality that moves lymph or blood increases the risk of spreading infection.
Massage therapists who develop boils themselves and worry about whether they've been exposed to MRSA would be well-advised to consult their doctors, too. As long as the therapist is treating his or her diagnosed infection appropriately (this means taking the correct antibiotics exactly as prescribed), and as long as any lesions are carefully covered and not in an area that comes in contact with clients, giving massage is safe.
One resource available to people with concerns about contagious diseases is your local hospital. If you call and ask for the infection control department, they will connect you with a person whose job is to answer exactly these kinds of questions. Whenever I have done this I have left messages and received a call back within a day. This is a wonderful community resource and I encourage everyone to use it!
For Next Time
I've been on a communicable disease track for a while. In the past several issues, I have written about avian flu, whooping cough, and now MRSA. I am content to stay here: I could do a piece on meningitis, or mononucleosis ("kissing disease"). Or, we could pick up a new thread with a common, stubborn chronic skin condition: psoriasis. It's up to you - let me know, what's on your table?
Many thanks and many blessings.
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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