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News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
June, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 06
The Essence of Palpation: How Do You Feel?
By Leon Chaitow, ND, DO
Palpation lies at the heart of much that we do in manual medicine and bodywork in general, and massage in particular. But how accurate and reliable is it?
What we do therapeutically commonly is determined by prior palpation and the meaning we give to what has been palpated.In other words, we assess and decide what treatment is needed and then apply techniques in order to achieve those ends. If, however, our palpation skills are limited or our interpretation of what it is we are feeling is inaccurate, then the treatment we choose to apply based on such misinformation is likely to fail.
Famous osteopathic physician Viola Fryman said: "Palpation cannot be learned by reading or listening; it can only be learned by palpation."1 Palpation represents a two-way communication between the examiner and the patient. Decisions as to what to do therapeutically often will be based on a variety of palpation and assessment methods, together with the symptoms and the patient's responses to these manual (and sometimes observational) evaluation procedures.
In other instances - I am thinking of methods such as neuromuscular technique or many massage techniques - palpation and treatment are synchronous with decisions over how we should respond by varying the degree, duration and directions of forces. These decisions are determined by what is being assessed/felt by the contact hand(s), and how this is interpreted in real time, moment by moment. What is being done therapeutically in such a setting is directly related to what is being palpated and assessed at that moment, rather than having been planned ahead.
For experienced practitioners and therapists, much of the instant decision-making that results in modifications of application of forces (compression/stretch, etc.) happens without due deliberation. The hands do the thinking - intuitively, so to speak. - in much the same way a tightrope walker makes instant, non-cognitive decisions based on the processing of multiple pieces of information.
In other circumstances, active deliberation and thought are required as to what to do next. How accurate such decision-making is will be based on a combination of experience and learned information, as well as being present in the moment and truly in touch with tissues that offer information requiring interpretation.
So, at the heart of palpation is what I termed palpatory literacy many years ago. Do we know how to read the signs and signals the body and its tissues offer us? Nowadays, with the clamour for "evidence-based" methods, a great deal of effort goes into evaluating how reliable and valid (accurate) palpation and assessment-methods are. These can be looked at in several ways. The most common are studies that try to see how reliable an examiner's findings (and therefore the methods used) are. This is measurement of intra-examiner reliability. The other major focus is on how repeatable findings are when different examiners are involved. This is measuring inter-examiner reliability.
The difference between these is that one (intra-) looks at how competent you are in making judgements about what you palpate, and whether the same findings are repeatable when you apply them to other people or other tissues that display similar characteristics. Do your current findings commonly agree with your previous findings? In this case, there is good intra-examiner reliability.
Inter-examiner evaluation looks at how much agreement there is when others palpate the same tissues. Do they come to the same conclusions you did? In that case, there is good inter-examiner reliability.
It's worth reminding ourselves that such reliability does not necessarily mean accuracy has been achieved. The interpretation of methods of palpation that can reliably be duplicated and which agree with the palpation findings of someone else, does not in and of itself mean the conclusions deriving from the palpation exercise are accurate. You may both be wrong, depending on the basis for your interpretation of similar palpation findings. For example, you could reliably aim and hit a dartboard every time you threw a dart, and this would reflect your throwing reliability. However, only if you consistently or frequently hit the bull's-eye would the dart-throwing be categorised as accurate.
So, how can we ensure better intra- and inter-examiner reliability and accuracy? I've explored ways to do this in my book Palpation and Assessment Skills, which attempts to lead the reader through multiple graduated exercises that should result in enhanced skills. Assessment and palpation methods need to be standardized, well-taught and regularly assessed for both reliability and validity (accuracy). The acronym STAR is used in osteopathic medicine to describe characteristics that commonly are present and assessable when dysfunction exists:
Some of these elements are measurable and some not. In other words, some are subjective (tissue texture, for example) and some are objective (range of motion, for example). One thing is certain: The more you practice palpation methods, the more sensitive and reliable your methods should become. What your palpation and assessment means depends on the degree of knowledge you have acquired and your particular belief system. For example, when palpating the radial pulse, your belief system might cause you to interpret findings as relating to heart rate, whereas someone else who appears to be performing precisely the same palpation might be evaluating qi levels in different meridian systems. I will return to the vast topic of palpation in a future issue.
Click here for more information about Leon Chaitow, ND, DO.
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