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PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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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