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The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
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.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
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.
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.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
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.
The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
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.
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
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.
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.
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.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
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 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
December, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 12
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Most people are aware of carpal tunnel syndrome as a common nerve entrapment problem in the wrist and hand. There is a similar type of nerve entrapment in the ankle, which is not as common.Entrapment of the tibial nerve as it passes through a tunnel on the medial side of the ankle is called tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Nerve entrapment syndromes don't occur with as much frequency in the lower extremity as they do in the upper extremity. As a result, tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS) is considered by some to be a rare condition, leading to it being frequently overlooked as a source of foot pain.1 The location of pain on the plantar surface of the foot produced by TTS also might cause it to be mistaken for plantar fasciitis. TTS also can be mistaken for proximal nerve compression pathologies, such as herniated discs in the lumbar region.
As the tibial nerve exits the deep posterior compartment, it passes around the medial side of the ankle on its way to termination in the toes. Near the medial malleolus, it divides into three branches. Just after it divides into these three branches, they all pass under a fascial band on the medial side of the ankle called the flexor retinaculum (Figure 1). The retinaculum is connected superiorly to the medial malleolus and inferiorly to the medial side of the calcaneus. The space under the retinaculum is the tarsal tunnel. There are several other structures that pass through the tunnel, including the tendons of tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis longus, and the posterior tibial artery and vein.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome results when the tibial nerve or its branches are exposed to compressive or tensile stress within the tarsal tunnel. Nerve compression occurs from pressure outside the tunnel such as a direct blow to the medial side of the ankle or from force within the tunnel from synovial ganglions or bony prominences.2,3
A swelling of synovial tendon sheaths (tenosynovitis) also could compress the tibial nerve.
Tensile forces on the tarsal tunnel nerves also cause symptoms. Neural tension results from either a sudden or chronic stretch of the nerve. Sudden nerve stretch happens in acute injuries while chronic stretching results from postural distortions such as a calcaneal valgus foot alignment.
Peripheral neuropathies like TTS can be linked to systemic disorders such as diabetes, muscular sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and hyperthyroidism.4 Note that some medications might cause sensitivity in the distal lower extremity nerves that could be mistaken for compression pathologies in the tarsal tunnel.
Identifying the Condition
A client with TTS reports sharp, shooting pain sensations around the medial ankle and along the plantar surface of the foot. In addition to pain, there might be paresthesia, numbness or motor weakness in the muscles of the foot. Symptoms ordinarily are worse after long periods of standing or walking, but also might be aggravated during the night if the nerve is in a compromised position for prolonged periods. Ask about recent trauma involving sudden compressive or tensile loads on the nerve, as recent injuries might be responsible for the symptoms. It's important to ask about systemic disorders that might cause TTS, or be related to it.
There are no clear visible signs of tarsal tunnel syndrome, but certain postural disorders such as calcaneal varus or valgus can aggravate the condition. Although uncommon, if TTS is severe or has been present for a long time some atrophy of the muscles innervated by the divisions of the tibial nerve might be apparent. Placing pressure directly on the tarsal tunnel is one of the most valuable ways of identifying this condition and is sometimes called the tarsal compression test. If the pressure reproduces the client's primary pain or other neurological sensations, it's a good indication of tarsal tunnel syndrome.
A special orthopedic test called the dorsiflexion-eversion test also is used to identify the condition. In this test, the client is in a supine position. The ankle is passively moved into maximum dorsiflexion and eversion while the toes are held in hyperextension (Figure 2). The position is held for five to 10 seconds. If symptoms develop, it's a positive sign of TTS.
Identifying nerve compression pathologies like TTS is important so proper treatment can be administered. If the client reports foot pain, there might be a tendency to use additional pressure around the ankle or foot in an effort to "work it out." This would be a mistake with a nerve compression pathology like TTS. Accurate identification will guide the most appropriate treatment.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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