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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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?
January, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 01
Leg Length Discrepancy and Low Back Pain
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for people to seek care from a massage therapist. Unfortunately, despite all our advances in knowledge, most health care researchers admit that we still don't know what causes many cases of back pain. There are numerous suspected causes and biomechanical dysfunction in the lumbopelvic region is a frequent culprit. One biomechanical factor that causes low back pain is a leg length discrepancy (LLD).
Several months ago, a discussion of bodywork began on Yahoo! Groups about the role of pelvic rotation and LLD. This discussion eventually carried me into debates and conversations with a number of experts across multiple disciplines about the role of LLD and lumbopelvic pain. Thus, my perspective was significantly changed about how to assess LLD and the role it plays in various soft-tissue disorders.
There are two types of LLD, structural and functional. It is important to distinguish between the two as they are treated differently. A structural LLD also is called a true leg length discrepancy and is considered a true or structural discrepancy because the cause is an actual length difference in the lower extremity bones (femur or tibia). Also, structural LLD usually is congenital. Small discrepancies between the length of bones on each side of the body are common, but the problem occurs when the difference in length is more pronounced (usually .5 to 1 inch difference is considered within normal limits).1 Surgeries, accidents or previous fractures are other causes that produce a structural LLD.
Structural LLDs are treated with a heel lift if they are not severe; severe cases can require surgery. Before getting a heel lift, it is important to determine that there is a true structural discrepancy and not a functional one. The most accurate way to identify a structural LLD is with a lower extremity X-ray that allows a comparison of bone measurement with the other side. If X-ray evaluation is not an option, a comparison of the measurement between bony landmarks on each side with a tape measure is another option, although it is somewhat less accurate. Visual evaluation, such as that pictured in Figure 2, is commonly used to evaluate LLDs, but is the least accurate.
A functional LLD is more common than the structural-discrepancy type, however its cause can be hard to determine. Functional LLDs occur when it appears that one leg may be longer than the other, but there is no significant difference in the length of the lower extremity bones. Instead, a postural distortion has caused one lower extremity to appear longer or shorter than the other.
Figure 1 shows an example of how a functional LLD occurs from tight lumbar muscles. This is a posterior view of our client. The client has a tight left quadratus lumborum muscle that has pulled the left iliac crest in a superior direction. When you evaluate the height of each iliac crest in a standing position it appears that the left side is higher. If this client were supine, it would appear that the left leg is shorter because the pelvis and lower extremity on the left side are being pulled in a superior direction by the tight quadratus lumborum.
Some functional LLDs are harder to evaluate than others. A number of clinicians suggest that an anterior innominate rotation can produce an LLD. The innominate is one half of the pelvis and includes the ilium, ischium and pubis on one side. Each innominate can rotate independently of the other. Therefore, you can have one innominate that is anteriorly rotated and one that is more posteriorly rotated. If the client is supine, the anteriorly rotated innominate may appear to push the femur in a distal direction. When you evaluate the two legs using a method such as a visual leg length comparison (Figure 2), the leg on the side of the anteriorly rotated innominate could appear longer.
The problem with this evaluation method occurs when the person stands up. When the individual places weight on the lower extremity it affects innominate rotation. The innominate rotation can't push the femur inferiorly when the person is standing because the lower extremity is bearing weight (you would have to push the lower extremity into the ground). So what happens to the innominate rotation? Some people say it stays as an anterior rotation and others say weight bearing causes a reverse (posterior) rotation of the innominate. However, there is very little biomechanical research on this issue to clarify what actually occurs.
Bearing weight does not change a functional LLD that is caused by a tight quadratus lumborum (Figure 1). When the individual stands upright, the pelvis still will appear high on the side of the apparent short leg. This apparent LLD remains because it is caused by the innominate on that side being pulled superiorly and not because a lower extremity is being pushed down in an inferior direction.
After consulting numerous resources and conversing with experts on this issue, it is clear that there is no consensus on what happens with functional LLDs caused by innominate rotation when the individual is weight bearing. Yet there is agreement that most functional LLDs that cause back pain are created by soft-tissue dysfunction and can be corrected by manual methods such as massage. Several good recommendations are provided in Erik Dalton's article on the "Short Leg Syndrome" in the November 2007 issue of
LLD, whether structural or functional, is an important contributor to lumbopelvic pain. What is still not clear is exactly how the mechanics of the sacroiliac joint, lumbar spine and hip directly cause specific pathological problems with an LLD. If there is a simple mechanical cause of pain there should be a strong correlation between the assessment of LLD and specific symptoms of lumbopelvic pain. Unfortunately, there is a poor relationship between evaluation methods for pelvic position and specific pain complaints.2,3 Additional research is highly needed to help us understand the complex biomechanics of this region and exactly what role innominate position or leg length play in lumbopelvic pain.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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