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Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
September, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 09
Dealing With Psoriasis
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
I was surprised to hear so little in response to my last piece on MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus); I had fully anticipated a lively discussion of this health threat to follow my article.Instead, the silence was deafening. I didn't get any suggestions for a topic for this article either, so I made an executive decision to pick up a topic of interest, at least to me: psoriasis.
What Is It?
The word psoriasis comes from the Greek root psora, which means "the itch." It's mainly a skin condition, although in some circumstances other systems can be involved as well. Psoriasis is quite common in this country, affecting 6 to 7 million Americans. It's most common in Caucasians. About 150,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.
How Does It Work?
Under normal circumstances, superficial skin cells are replaced roughly every 28 to 32 days. (Hmmm, a 28- to 32- day cycle. What does that make you think of?) What we see with psoriasis is that, in certain areas, skin cells replicate at a vastly accelerated rate: instead of a month-long turnover cycle, they are replaced every 4 to 6 days. The consequence is a patchy pile-up of keratinized epithelial cells, often with a silvery scale: these are the plaques of the most common form of psoriasis.
What we don't understand is why this happens. A genetic link might seem to be part of the picture, because the incidence of psoriasis is higher within families. Immune system anomalies are clear as well, and some experts classify psoriasis as an autoimmune disease - a situation in which immune system mechanisms are directed against healthy tissue by mistake. Psoriasis frequently appears with some other autoimmune disorders (ankylosing spondylitis, for instance), and it runs in cycles of flare and remission; both of these characteristics are common in autoimmune disorders.
Types of Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis (Fig. 1) is the most common form of this disorder. It frequently appears over joints: knees and elbows are common. Some people have one small lesion that appears in the same place for a few weeks every year or so; others have huge lesions that might cover their back or trunk, scalp, hands or feet. Even when the condition goes into remission, the skin might sustain enough damage to appear permanently discolored and scarred. Other forms of psoriasis are less common, but good to know about:
Psoriasis doesn't usually involve dangerous complications, unless the lesions bleed and get infected, or unless a person with erythrodermic psoriasis has a fluid-loss crisis. However, about 10 percent of the people with psoriasis are at risk for a painful and possibly extreme form of arthritis, called psoriatic arthritis. If a client has psoriatic arthritis, treat it in the same way you would treat rheumatoid arthritis: avoid it when it's hot and inflamed and work for joint mobility and pain reduction when the joint is not actively inflamed.
We understand a lot about the process of how psoriasis develops, but this still is a basically idiopathic (of unknown origin) disease. Consequently, the treatment options for psoriasis are largely hit-and-miss efforts to control symptoms. Many people with psoriasis develop tolerance for medical interventions, and so, must constantly be looking for the next option.
Allopathic interventions include topical skin creams to reduce itching and help clear up plaques. Oral medication can work with controlled exposure to UV radiation to help this process. In very extreme cases, patients might be prescribed chemotherapeutic drugs to limit skin cell replication. All of these can help to control the frequency and severity of psoriasis outbreaks, but none of them are a permanent cure for the disease.
The newest strategy involves a group of drugs called TNF Blockers. TNF (tumor necrosis factor) is an immune system mediator associated with inflammation. Blocking its activity keeps the inflammatory process (and accompanying proliferation of extra skin cells) under control.
Alternative psoriasis treatments also vary widely. A search for "psoriasis cure" brings up dozens of products claiming to heal this disease. They range from herbal clay applications, to aromatherapy, to visiting the Red Sea so that a species of fish can nibble at the lesions (I am not making this up!).
Personally, I am open-minded to seeing dietary adjustments and herbal or homeopathic applications for psoriasis management, but I retain a healthy skepticism of any product that claims to "permanently cure" this condition.
In the olden days (as in, the days of Hippocrates), doctors were instructed to rub olive oil into psoriasis lesions. We know now that when psoriasis is acute, these are areas where cells already are hyperactive. Increasing energy or circulation to these sites might not be the best plan. However, it's important to point out that psoriasis is not contagious! Clients with psoriasis can benefit from bodywork that includes the whole body, as long as the stimulus doesn't increase itching or irritation. Herbal or aromatherapeutic agents could be useful in this context as well. If you have found an application you have seen to improve psoriasis symptoms, please share it with me and other Massage Today readers.
For Next Time
Gentle readers, let me remind you that this is your column! I am at your disposal to gather information on the pathology topics you want to read about. Please go through your client history notes and find one that makes you curious - and let us all know: what's on your table?
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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