resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.