resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
November, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 11
Cervical Disc Herniation
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
One of the most important aspects of assessment in massage is to determine if it's appropriate to work on a specific condition. While massage is safe in most cases, there are some instances where harm can be done if inappropriate treatment is applied.A cervical disc herniation is just such a condition. It's important to identify this condition, as it also should be evaluated by another health professional to make sure massage is appropriate. However, if performed appropriately, there are some beneficial massage approaches.
A herniated disc (also called herniated nucleus pulposus or HNP) results from sudden or long-term compression loads on the spine. Herniations are more common in the lumbar region than in the cervical, but can still produce significant pain or disability when they occur. Cervical disc herniations produce pain or neurological dysfunction in the neck or upper extremities. They are relatively common and frequently occur in asymptomatic individuals, so presence of a herniated disc does not necessarily imply a pathological problem.1
The intervertebral disc is designed to absorb shock and cushion compressive forces transmitted through the skeletal structures of the body. The center of the disc is composed of an inner gel-like substance called the nucleus pulposus. The nucleus is surrounded by concentric layers of collagen that make up the outer disc boundary, called the annulus fibrosus (Figure 1). When compressive loads are placed on the disc, the nucleus presses against the walls of the annulus. As the pressure increases, annulus fibers begin to tear and the disc changes shape (Figure 2). The disc usually is pushed in a posterior-lateral direction. Unfortunately, the cervical nerve roots are very close to where the disc herniation occurs, so the herniation frequently presses on the nerve roots producing sensory or motor nerve dysfunction.
Cervical disc herniations are most common in the lower cervical spine. The nerve roots in this region make up the brachial plexus. The nerves of the brachial plexus eventually course down through the length of the upper extremity, so nerve compression symptoms commonly are felt down all or part of the upper extremity.
In some cases, the disc herniation is an acute injury with a sudden load on the cervical spine. For example, herniations develop when an individual hits their head on the bottom of a shallow swimming pool after diving in. In other situations, a disc herniation may develop from significant compressive loads over time, such as those that occur from chronic forward head posture.
The primary symptoms from cervical disc herniation include pain, paresthesia or weakness in the neck or upper extremities. Pain or paresthesia can occur throughout the entire upper extremity or only in part of it. Muscle weakness may be evident in any of the upper - extremity muscles innervated by fibers of the affected nerves. Because symptoms may occur in any region of the upper extremity, it can be challenging to distinguish a cervical disc herniation from other nerve compression pathologies that occur in the upper extremity, such as thoracic outlet or carpal tunnel syndromes.
Suggestions for Treatment
While surgery was once considered almost essential for this condition, it's not as common now. Research shows that disc herniation problems may heal spontaneously without surgery or other invasive procedures.2 Some rehabilitative exercises are suggested to encourage the disc to return to a normal position away from affected nerve roots.3 It's important to consult with a physician or other health professional for recommendations on treatment.
While massage is not absolutely contraindicated for disc herniations, treatment methods should be used cautiously. The transverse processes protect the nerve roots from further compression during most massage techniques, but symptoms could be aggravated by minor vertebral movements that occur from pressure applied to the region. Massage is helpful to decrease muscle tension in the area and may reduce compressive loading on the disc. However, this massage also should be performed carefully and only once the extent of the disorder has been clarified.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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