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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.
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?
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
March, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 03
When Is It Safe to Treat a Patient Taking Antibiotics?
By Charlotte Michael Versagi, LMT, NCTMB
Patients often arrive at a massage therapist's doorstep after a recent hospital release, recovering from bronchitis or another "bug." During intake, we discover they are taking some form of an antibiotic. Upon hearing these words from a client or patient, a red flag needs to pop into the therapist's consciousness. This isn't always a contraindication, but ingesting antibiotics presents certain precautions and demands certain questions are answered before proceeding with the massage treatment.
To clarify up front, in this article, massage treatment is defined as standard, full-body, Swedish-style massage consisting of effleurage, petrissage, some range of motion, perhaps some tapotement, etc. We are not referring to lymphatic drainage, energy work or other forms of bodywork. Those modalities are performed after advanced training and affect the body slightly or significantly different than normal Swedish massage.
First, what is an antibiotic? Antibacterial agents usually are called antibiotics. These medications cause irreversible and lethal damage to a bacterial pathogen or at least create bacteriostasis, inhibiting bacterial growth. You've heard of the common families of antibiotics: the penicillins, tetracyclines, sulfonamides and cephalosporins.
Here are some questions to ask when your client informs you they are on antibiotics. Why are they taking the medication? When did they start taking it? Are they suffering from an infection? Is the infection systemic or local? Do they presently have a fever? If so, is it spiking or is it low-grade? And at this point, you may be thinking to yourself, "What's the difference between inflammation and infection?" and "What effect will my massage have, based on the answers my client just gave me?" Our concern, as always, is safe treatment.
Let's clarify some definitions before discussing your treatment. An infection, according to Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 28th Edition, is an invasion of the body with organisms that have the potential to cause disease. Our own Ruth Werner tells us inflammation is a tissue response to the threat of bodily injury or invasion by antigens. The response is controlled by chemical, cellular and vascular functions. It's a chain of events; a reaction of injured tissue to defend and protect the body from invasion. The aim is to get rid of the pathogen, prevent the spread into the body (a massage therapist's primary concern) and prepare the injured area for healing.
Now prepare yourself for a generalization here, but it will help you with your treatment decision. Antibiotics most often are given to fight infection, something that is systemic or carries the threat of becoming systemic (although some infections can be quite local). Steroids and some other medications often are administered for inflammations; a problem we normally think of as local, yet sometimes is systemic.
You remember the cardinal signs of local inflammation, right? Redness, heat, swelling, pain and sometimes, lost function. The point is to help you intelligently understand what you are treating before you proceed. Does your client suffer from a local inflammation/infection (e.g. infected tooth socket after wisdom tooth removal) or are they taking antibiotics prophylactically before a procedure? Have they been diagnosed with bronchitis and started antibiotics three days ago? Do they have a fever of unknown origin and the doctor is simply experimenting with an antibiotic to try to allay symptoms?
Now let's put two and two together. You learned in massage school that one of the primary effects of massage is an increase in circulation, right? OK, if a one-hour massage is going to increase circulation, you must be as sure as you can about exactly what you are sending through that body. Are you potentially spreading infection or are you helping with waste removal and lymph flow to assist the body's fight toward health? The effects of massage are vast and wonderful; just keep reminding yourself that one of those effects is vascular. With infection and inflammation, you are dealing with the body's vascular (and immune) response.
As for the answer to the question of whether to treat a client, according to Werner, acute inflammation is a contraindication for circulatory massage. But massage may be appropriate for subacute conditions. (Think of a twisted and swollen ankle, for example. No massage therapist in their right mind would massage locally, but effleurage proximal to the injury, as well as massaging the rest of the body, would be completely appropriate.)
The mantra I learned in massage school was: "An antibiotic has to be taken for three full days for the patient to achieve a blood level (of antibiotic) before a massage can be safely given." Although this is generally sound advice, Jane Brown, director of the 1,000-hour massage program at Carnegie Institute in Troy, Mich., reminds us, "All antibiotics have different saturation levels in the blood; so although the three-day rule holds most of the time, you never really know which antibiotic has reached its height of effectiveness and when."
Jen Green, a naturopathic doctor and researcher practicing in Shelby Township, Mich., offers massage therapists a holistic view of treating patients who are taking antibiotics: "Antibiotics generally help control the bacterial population. But tell your massage therapists that the antibiotics are not doing the whole job - the immune system is still working. It needs a boost to work effectively and massage gives it that boost. I'd agree with waiting a couple of days (from the onset of taking the medication) to begin massage but after that, it would help the patients to stimulate the immune system by increasing circulation." Dr. Green continues, "Antibiotics, too, have a bacteriostatic effect; they can keep the bacteria from growing - but the body has to move. Increased blood and lymph flow helps get the problem out of the system."
It is probably safe to treat your patients after they have been taking antibiotics for two or three days and are manifesting none of the cardinal signs of heat, fever, swelling or pain. Remember, ask all the right questions, determine in your mind exactly what effect your increasing circulation will have on the body, and then proceed with intelligence and compassion.
Charlotte Michael Versagi is a medical journalist, national speaker and educational director of the School of Oncology/Hospital Massage in the Beaumont Hospital system in Michigan. Her private practice focuses on oncology patients.
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