resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
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.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
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.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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.
October, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 10
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of joint disease and involves degenerative changes at synovial joints in the body. It's a challenging condition to treat and is becoming an economic burden to the health care systems in many countries.In the U.S., for example, the number of adults with arthritis is projected to increase from 42.7 million in 2002 to around 65 million in 2030, due to the aging population.1
Synovial joints are the ones affected in osteoarthritis. Within the synovial joint are the articulating bones, articular cartilage, a fibrous joint capsule and synovial membrane, synovial fluid, and joint cavity. These structures work together to create smooth gliding movement where adjacent bones contact each other. Maintaining this surface is especially important in the weight-bearing joints, such as the hip or knee, as excessive compressive stress can lead to bone degeneration.
Osteoarthritis is divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary osteoarthritis develops gradually from excessive wear on the joints, but the specific factors that lead to the condition are not well understood. Repetitive stress to the joints of the hips, knees and hands in certain occupations could play a role in creating the problem for some clients.
Secondary osteoarthritis develops as the result of some other disease or pathological condition. Traumatic injury to the joint can initiate joint damage that leads to cartilage degeneration. In other cases, surgery, obesity or various activities are directly related to the condition's onset. The condition is prevalent in soccer players due to impact trauma, and in weight lifters because of their increased body weight.2,3 Greater weight and joint degeneration also can increase the likelihood of lower extremity postural distortions, such as genu varum (bow leg) and genu valgum (knock-knee). Both of these distortions lead to more joint wear and increased chance of developing osteoarthritis.
In some cases, inflammation from osteoarthritis stimulates bone spurs to form around the joints, causing further pain and dysfunction. The spurs are common in the interphalangeal joints of the fingers. They are called Heberden's nodes when they develop at the distal interphalangeal joints and Bouchard's nodes at the proximal interphalangeal joint.4 Spurs that develop from spinal osteoarthritis (also called spondylitis) can press on adjacent nerve roots and mimic intervertebral disc herniation.4
Osteoarthritis produces pain in the joints that is aggravated with movement. Due to continual use, pain usually is worse later in the day. Joint swelling might increase with activity. Pain sometimes arises from long periods of immobility or even from changes in weather, although the association between weather and arthritis symptoms still is not clear.5 Unlike systemic forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, there are no effects to organs or other remote tissues. The tissue damage is confined to the surfaces of the affected joints, although pain can be referred to other locations.
Osteoarthritis typically affects the fingers, spine, hips and knees. While it periodically occurs in other joints, it is not common in the shoulder, elbow, wrist or ankle. It does appear to have a hereditary pattern, but a direct congenital cause of osteoarthritis has not been established. There is a greater incidence in younger males and females over 45 years of age.6 Pain usually is worse in the later part of the day, and the client also might complain of swelling, heat, and crepitus in the joint. Reports of aggravated pain with changes in the weather are common. The client also might report an increase in symptoms as a result of long periods of immobility, especially if the condition is more advanced. Joint swelling is evident in many cases, but absence of visible swelling does not indicate absence of the condition.
Characteristics in Physical Examination
The affected joints might be tender to palpation due to increased swelling in the area. Tenderness is more common if the condition is advanced or if palpation presses the affected joint surfaces together. Bone spurs, if present, can sometimes be felt around the affected joint, especially in the fingers.
Active and passive motions can cause pain in any direction the joint is moved. However, pain can fluctuate with the time of day or the degree of aggravation of the joint. If the affected joint is a weight-bearing joint, pain is worse when active movement is performed while bearing weight. Edema, muscle spasm or bone spurs could all prematurely limit the available range of movement. The end feel for joint motions tends to be a bit leathery and a capsular pattern of restriction typically is evident. In some cases, pain and weakness is evident during resisted motions.
A Role for Massage
While cartilage degeneration cannot be reversed, massage and stretching can be used to reduce muscle spasm and decrease compressive forces associated with the joint disorder. These approaches also are helpful in reducing edema resulting from inflammation. Avoiding activities that increase joint irritation, compression or inflammation is important. Weight reduction, rest, supportive braces and some exercise can be helpful, especially for osteoarthritis in the weight-bearing joints. If osteoarthritis is suspected, it's advisable to have it confirmed by a physician through X-ray. It also would be helpful to consult further with the physician for the most appropriate role for massage in the treatment process.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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