resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
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.
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.
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.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
March, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 03
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
This month, we continue our survey of neurological issues with a topic that has generated a lot of questions from concerned bodyworkers - peripheral neuropathy (PN). This rather ambiguous umbrella term refers to virtually any damage to nerve tissue outside the central nervous system. While we often associate PN with symptoms in the feet, it can likewise affect cranial nerves - in particular the vagus nerve - with serious or even life-threatening consequences.
Types of Peripheral Neuropathy
PN often is classified by what types of peripheral nerves have been affected. You may remember that peripheral nerves (which include spinal and cranial nerves) have some fibers dedicated to the somatic nervous system (having to do with conscious processing of sensory input and voluntary muscle activity) and others dedicated to the autonomic nervous system (mostly motor fibers that control heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and other involuntary functions). PN can affect any of these fibers. In other words, it can be primarily sensory, it can affect voluntary motor control, it can affect autonomic function, or any combination of the three. Furthermore, PN may be described by the tissue that is damaged: the neurons themselves, which is called an axonal injury, or the myelin surrounding the neurons in the peripheral nervous system.
PN often is classified according to its cause. Here is a short list of some possibilities:
Injury and infection also can cause peripheral nerve damage. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, Bell's palsy, HIV, herpes simplex and shingles. In these cases, however, symptoms are usually unilateral rather than symmetric. This is a diagnostic clue to the cause of the pain.
Signs and Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
The signs and symptoms associated with PN vary according to the cause of the problem and which types of neurons have been affected. Obviously, sensory neuron damage leads to changes in sensation. This may reflect as tingling, shooting or burning pain, or numbness. Often people with PN describe a feeling of "stockings" or "gloves" with symptoms that begin bilaterally at the extremities and work proximally up the limbs.
Motor neuron damage leads to poor coordination and specific muscle weakness, which can lead to local atrophy as muscle fibers degenerate in the absence of stimulation. Perhaps the most alarming and dangerous symptoms of PN occur when cranial nerves, especially the vagus nerve, are affected. Autonomic symptoms can vary from occasional dizziness to changes in respiration and blood pressure. Reduced sweating with resulting hyperthermia may occur, gastric motility and digestion may be impaired, and bowel and bladder control may be lost.
Treatment options for PN are determined by the cause and severity of symptoms. Peripheral neurons have the amazing capacity to regenerate, so if the irritation is stopped and blood flow is returned, the nerve tissue may regain function. The prognosis is most hopeful when damage only affects the myelin sheath rather than the neuron tissue itself.
Analgesics (painkillers), antiseizure medications, lidocaine patches and antidepressants sometimes are prescribed to mitigate the symptoms of PN. These work with pain management, but don't target rebuilding the myelin sheath or damaged nerve tissue, for which exercise and good nutrition are generally the best options.
When we have a client who reports unexplained alternating periods of numbness and sharp shooting pains in the feet, the first thing we need to recommend is that they see a doctor. While we obviously don't want to exacerbate pain, in many ways numbness is a more serious symptom in terms of bodywork, because it prevents our client from telling us when our pressure is too intense.
Many people find relief with the gentle circulatory stimulus massage gives to limbs that are tingling and painful. Clients who have been diagnosed with PN may benefit from massage as long as sensation is intact and as long as cautions concerning their underlying disease or injury process are understood and respected. These are situations during which we definitely want to be in communication with a client's health care team, and it is important to avoid any radical changes in external environment - going from a hot soak to a cold plunge, for instance.
For Next Time
We could look at some of the neurological disorders that this discussion brought up (Bell's palsy, anyone?) or we could examine a poorly understood autoimmune condition, polymyalgia. Please let me know: What's on your table? Until then, many thanks and many blessings.
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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