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Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
March, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 03
Easing Migraine Pain
By John Upledger, DO, OMM and Lisa Upledger, DC, CST-D, FIAMA
Gone are the days when migraines were considered a psychological disorder reflecting poor coping skills, low stress threshold, clinical depression or a borderline personality disorder. According to the National Migraine Association, migraine disease is now a recognized neurological condition affecting more than 30 million Americans.
In many cases, CranioSacral Therapy is one of the most effective tools you can offer a client suffering from migraine pain. This light-touch modality helps release restrictions in the meningeal membranes around the brain and spinal cord, increasing the healthy flow of cerebrospinal fluid and allowing the central nervous system (CNS) to resume its optimal levels of performance.
Cerebrospinal fluid within the craniosacral system acts as a shock absorber for the brain. It delivers nutrients to the nerves, brain and spinal-cord tissue, and washes away waste products created by various metabolic processes. You can see how critical it is to have a strong, functional craniosacral system.
In addition, research has shown that meningeal membranes and perivascular fascia are the only pain-sensitive tissues in the brain. Therefore, any abnormal meningeal tension can cause pain, as can any pressure on the blood vessels that run through the meninges. That means when you release restrictions in the meningeal membranes, you also take pressure off the blood vessels.
Pressure on the brain stem from surrounding fascia also can cause sensory neurons to relay their messages to higher brain centers, which may correlate with another theory about migraines: that brain stem pain receptors actually cause the migraine pain.
Cortical Spreading Depression
Historically, the migraine has largely been defined as a vascular disorder in which an event triggers vasoconstriction followed by vasodilation, inflammation and headache. Now, it's believed that the vasoconstriction/dilation is the result of a phenomenon called cortical spreading depression.
Cortical spreading depression is a slow, spreading wave of strong, sustained neuronal firing that generates a transient, intense spike of activity as it progresses into the tissue. The spike increases innervation to blood vessels, which strengthens regional blood flow. This is followed by reduced neuronal activity associated with a vasoconstriction that produces a transient ischemia and a drop in cerebrospinal fluid flow. This neuronal suppression can last for minutes and cause a neurochemical imbalance.
The auras and prodromes (a premonition that the headache is coming) often associated with migraines are likely caused by the vasoconstriction leading up to the rebound and vasodilation. The actual pain of the migraine occurs when there is a rebound of abnormal vasodilation of the intracranial arteries, and an activation of the sensory pain fibers around the blood vessels and meninges.
If a client sustains an impact that distorts or otherwise compromises the pain-sensitive meningeal membranes, this also can increase pressure on the brain and central nervous system, potentially causing cortical spreading depression and triggering a chain reaction leading to migraines.
Migraines generally occur in several phases. The first phase is called the prodrome - a forewarning that indicates an alteration in the central nervous system. A highly individual experience, the prodrome may be accompanied by changes in mood or energy levels; a sudden feeling of depression, euphoria or fatigue; or cravings for chocolate or other foods. There also may be an alteration in sensory processing, muscle tone, nasal congestion, fluid retention, cognitive impairment or facial pressure.
In approximately 15 percent of migraine cases, there is an aura phase that generally lasts no more than an hour. While symptoms vary, the most common ones are visual effects such as flashing lights and partial or blurred vision. Other symptoms can include olfactory and auditory hallucinations, tingling or numbness in the face and extremities, confusion, partial paralysis and more. It is widely believed that the aura is caused by the cortical spreading depression. With vasoconstriction resulting in decreased blood flow, the brain will certainly do strange things.
Next comes the mild phase of the migraine - when the pain begins. If the migraine is terminated at this stage, the pain may feel like a tension headache. If the migraine progresses it generally leads to mild pain, sometimes accompanied by nausea and the beginning of throbbing pain.
If not aborted in the mild phase, the migraine will develop into moderate to severe throbbing pain with nausea and sensory sensitivity. At this point the blood vessels are dilated. Any movement or activity increases the blood flow, which causes more dilation, pain and throbbing. This is when many people prefer to lie perfectly still in a dark, quiet room.
A migraine may dissipate over anywhere from four hours to three days, after which a post-headache phase could last another few days. During this time the person may feel exhausted, irritated, sore and unable to concentrate and tolerate certain foods.
A Light-Touch Solution
CranioSacral Therapy helps prevent and end migraine headaches primarily by releasing tensions throughout the meningeal membranes of the craniosacral system. Removing these tissue restrictions takes pressure off the nervous system and allows cerebrospinal fluid to drain correctly, preventing the buildup of pressure. CranioSacral Therapy helps release both primary and secondary dysfunctions of the peripheral body, dural tube, cranium and sacrum. The goal is to correct and balance all craniosacral system dysfunctions and the areas to which they might lead. Removing these meningeal and dural tube restrictions can effectively help release and prevent the pain of migraines.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
Dr. Lisa Upledger is vice president of The Upledger Institute and an examiner for the institute’s CST certification program. She graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1981.
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