resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.