resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
September, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 09
By Erik Dalton, PhD
Many of today's medical texts tell us the coccyx fuses into one rigid segment by adulthood in most people. However, several well-designed studies have shown that a normal coccyx should have two or three movable parts that gently curve forward and slightly flex as we sit.Two medical papers (Postacchini and Massobrio1 and Kim and Suk2) found that test subjects with fused coccyxes that didn't flex upon sitting were more likely to experience tailbone pain than those with a normal coccyx. Postacchini and Massobrio performed radiographic studies of 171 coccyxes, and found less than 10 percent were fused into one piece...most had two or three, and a few had four segments. The primary conditions they found to be associated with coccyx pain were: coccyx angled sharply forward; coccyx side-bending more to one side than the other; and coccyx completely rigid (all segments fused together and fused to the sacrum).
Although none of the abnormalities listed above always cause pain, clients seem more likely to experience coccyx problems when one or more of these conditions exist. Over the years, I have noticed clients with particularly long coccyxes also seem more likely to report local tenderness and pain. Although not reported in the literature, it seems obvious that a long coccyx would be more likely to suffer damage than a shorter one.
Why some hurt and others don't is unclear. In the case of a misaligned coccyx, it might be that the pain is caused by the coccyx pulling on muscles, ligaments or overstretching the filamen terminale (end of the dural tube). Connective tissues called the filum durae spinalis enclose the end of the spinal cord and attach it to the deep dorsal sacrococcygeal ligament. A major source of hip and back pain occurs as fibrotic sacrococcygeal ligaments anteriorly flex (hook) the coccyx and compress/overstretch the sensitive filum terminale (Fig.1). In the case of a rigid coccyx, it might be that the tissues under the inferior segments might create a pad of irritated tissue (like a bunion) that can rub the dura raw. But the most common pain-generator helped by manual therapists is neuroreceptor pain from a misaligned sacrococcygeal joint.
Coccydynia (Coccyx Pain)
When sitting, the coccyx shifts forward and acts as a shock absorber. However, falling on the tailbone or events such as childbirth can lead to coccygeal pain, known as coccydynia. In most cases, the pain is caused by an unstable coccyx, resulting in chronic inflammation of the sacrococcygeal joint. Coccydynia also can be attributed to a malformed or dislocated coccyx and the growth of bony spurs on the coccyx. Resulting pain often is resolved by performing specific soft tissue techniques to release the levator ani muscle, anococcygeal, sacrotuberal and sacrospinal ligaments, as well as the gluteus maximus muscles.
Another common etiology is childbirth. The coccyx is considered by some to be in the way during childbirth. At the end of the third trimester, certain hormonal changes enable the synchondrosis between the sacrum and the coccyx to soften and become more mobile. This increased mobility of three to five coccygeal segments allows for more flexion and extension, which might permanently change the resting tension of the surrounding ligaments and muscles. Unlike fractures, which can remodel, injuries to the sacrococcygeal junction often become inflamed as the joint is repeatedly forced out of its normal position. Physical examination should include direct palpation of the coccyx for tenderness. In true coccydynia, the coccygeal region usually is markedly tender. If the client reports coccygeal pain but is not tender upon palpation, the therapist should refer out for an orthopedic workup to rule out lumbar disk disease.
Ida Rolf, PhD, referring to the coccyx as the "seat of the soul," insisted on correcting hooked and side-bent coccyxes during her famous session six of the Rolfing® series. When this tiny group of bones "hooks" anteriorly or bends to one side (typically the left), the dural tube tightens. In reported cases, a hooked coccyx actually has shut down the entire CNS by hindering cerebrospinal fluid flow. A hooked coccyx also can lead to loss of psychological integrity. Reported cases cite severe emotional disturbances in people whose coccyx has been removed or broken off, leaving no anchor for the dura mater. The coccyx has been implicated in clients presenting with functional scoliotic patterns. Through its connection with the sphenoid, excessive dural tension stresses the eleventh cranial accessory nerve, which, in turn, shortens the SCMs and upper trapezius muscles. A modified version of Dr. Rolf's coccyx technique is demonstrated in Fig. 2.
Coccyx pain often is caused by falling backwards or by childbirth, although in many cases, the exact etiology is unknown. There are various treatment modalities available, and the great majority of sufferers can be helped. Due to the vertebra's direct attachment to the dural membrane through the filum terminale, coccyx work can cause a client to become very emotional. Prior to treating coccyx dysfunction, always ask the client's permission to perform this technique due to possible physical and emotional hypersensitivity in the area. Before performing any type of coccyx work, take time to clearly explain your therapeutic intent and the desired outcome. All coccyx alignment techniques should be performed through underwear or draping.
Click here for previous articles by Erik Dalton, PhD.
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.