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Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.).
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!
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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 more information about Erik Dalton, PhD.
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