resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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?
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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