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Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
September, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 09
Achilles Tendon Disorder
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Massage therapists see many clients with active lifestyles. Running, jumping, dancing, climbing, or any number of other activities can put serious stress on the Achilles tendon (AT). AT disorders also can contribute to biomechanical disorders in the foot and lower extremity.That is why it is important for the massage practitioner to understand more about the structure, function and pathology of this very important tendon.
The AT is the strongest tendon in the body and needs this strength because of the high force loads required during motions such as walking, running or landing from a jump. AT disorders can occur at any age, but there is an increased frequency in older populations. The increased age of the active baby boomer generation in this country suggests we likely are to see more of this condition in years to come. The tendon is susceptible to a variety of pathologies, such as paratendinitis (also spelled paratendonitis), tendinosis and tendinitis. Some of these different terms can be confusing, so I'll distinguish them below.
Structure, Function and Pathology
The AT connects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to the calcaneus. The tendon is surrounded by a thin membrane called the paratenon, which helps facilitate blood supply throughout the tendon. There is a region of the AT near the distal insertion, called the avascular zone that has a very poor blood supply (Figure 1). This region frequently is the site of inflammation and degenerative changes within the tendon.
The term tendinitis is used for overuse tendon pathologies throughout the body. Yet, most of these conditions do not involve inflammation so they truly aren't tendinitis (the suffix -itis indicates inflammation). Yet the AT is one tendon that commonly does have inflammatory activity in the tendon and the paratenon. Consequently, the terms tendinitis and paratendinitis usually are accurate when referring to the AT.
Achilles tendinitis is classified as insertional or non-insertional. Insertional tendinitis involves pathology at the insertion of the AT into the calcaneus. It is prevalent in older individuals and those who engage in activities without proper conditioning. Poor healing of minor tendon damage occurs at the calcaneal tendon insertion due to the lack of blood supply in the avascular region.1
The second category of overuse AT disorders is non-insertional tendonitis - those that don't affect the insertion of the tendon into the calcaneus, but cause problems in other areas of the tendon. Non-insertional tendinitis typically affects athletes and those engaged in vigorous physical activity. The pathologies under the umbrella of non-insertional tendinitis include paratendonitis (inflammation of the paratenon), tendinosis (collagen degeneration within the tendon) and tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon).
Tendinosis is degeneration of the collagen matrix within the tendon, which leads to pain and loss of function. It commonly is categorized as non-insertional tendinitis, even though it is not an inflammatory disorder. The degenerative changes of tendinosis are caused by age, repetitive microtrauma or other factors that lead to collagen breakdown. The collagen degeneration frequently precedes inflammatory conditions such as tendinitis.
Non-insertional tendinitis can be acute or chronic and primarily affects the avascular zone near the base of the tendon. There is tenderness throughout the tendon and fibrous thickening near the distal end, which is apparent when the tendon is compared to the unaffected side (assuming the other side is not affected). In many cases, tendinitis and paratendinitis occur together and both the tendon and paratenon are inflamed. If not treated properly, tendinitis can lead to either partial or complete tendon ruptures.2
Recent studies show a link between certain medications and the onset of AT degeneration and ruptures. Especially implicated are medications in the fluoroquinolone family of antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin (brand named Cipro).3-5 These medications cause tendon pathology in large tendons of the body, even in the absence of vigorous repeated activity. In addition, systemic disorders such as hyperthyroidism, renal insufficiency, gout or rheumatoid arthritis also can contribute to tendinitis in the AT.6,7
AT disorders are best controlled through rest and activity modification. Rest means stopping offending activities, not immobilization. Lack of movement might lead to the development of fibrous adhesions. Cold applications and anti-inflammatory medication may be used to address inflammatory activity if present. As soon as stretching is tolerable, it is helpful to stretch the AT several times per day.
Massage applications to the calf muscles reduce tension and decrease tensile forces on the tendon. Deep friction, as tolerated in the problem area, is beneficial in stimulating fibroblast proliferation in the tendon to repair the damaged collagen matrix. Cold applications prior to the deep friction reduce the intensity of the discomfort, and reapplying cold after treatment reduces the accelerated metabolic response to the friction. Heel lifts inside the shoe may be recommended to help reduce tension on the tendon. Corticosteroid injections formerly were used with greater frequency and are not recommended now because of long-term detrimental effects on the tendon, such as tendon rupture.8 Massage therapists applying these concepts of evaluation and treatment will be much more effective in helping their clients address this frequent cause of foot and lower leg pain.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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