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TCM & the Caregiving Population: Treatment Considerations & Our Vital Role
Informal caregiving is increasingly a reality for many Americans who find themselves providing unpaid care for a loved one or a family member with a long-term, terminal, or chronic illness.
Latest Cassidy Study on Stroke Risk Published
The latest study to investigate whether a unique association between chiropractic manipulation and risk of cervical artery dissection / stroke exists has yielded similar encouraging findings, with the authors noting "no excess risk of carotid artery stroke after chiropractic care" and no significant risk difference between patients receiving care from a DC or a primary care medical provider.
Spiritual Initiation: Opening Your Higher Healing Abilities
People drawn to the field of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine tend to be those who march to the beat of a different drummer.
Correcting Rib Dysfunction: Improve Patients' Pain, Posture and Breathing
As chiropractors, we tend to focus on the spine, and rightly so. Many problems our patients face can be corrected by manipulating the correct spinal level.
A Brief History of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Doctoral Programs
A doctorate in acupuncture and Oriental medicine has been a goal of the profession since its beginnings in the late 1970s. At that time, however, the maturity of the educational institutions and the regulatory environment made it a goal with only a distant completion date.
House Calls With Dad
My father was a chiropractor and he did house calls. On Wednesday nights, while my mother attended the weekly women's meeting at the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs hall in our small town, dad loaded up the portable adjusting table, fired up the Pontiac and drove off to treat a few patients in their homes. I went with him.
Waist Circumference: A Conversation Starter
New estimates suggest more than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. The medical significance of this statistic is astounding.
Gather & Grow
I recently attended a faculty seminar held by one of the acupuncture schools. There was a facilitator who led us through some very interesting experiences. The attendees were a diverse group with varying opinions.
Advancing the "Whole Organ" Spine Model
Historically, the human spine has been organized by body region utilizing specific anatomical landmarks and transition zones.
Helping Patients With Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD), a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects motor function, has a slow onset over time.
News in Brief
The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) board members recently met with the Korean Customs Service, which is similar to the FDA, to discuss herbal safety and importation issues.
Near-Infrared Therapy for Diabetic Neuropathy
The pain experienced by people with diabetes is a symptom of diabetic neuropathy. The impact on quality of life is significant. Pain makes walking difficult, sleep troublesome, and eventually contributes to a decrease in social interaction.
Treating the Lower Pelvis (Pt. 2): Midline Structures and Fascia
My previous article [October 2016 issue] outlined evaluation and treatment of pelvic issues involving the sacrotuberous ligament and the pubic symphysis. Now let's discuss two case studies that illustrate how to address additional problematic areas of the pelvis.
AOM Residency at NUNM
Imagine you're a recent acupuncture graduate, worried about making enough income as you forge your new career and seek more in-depth training in a particular treatment style.
Paperwork Done Wrong, Done Right
I was visiting a doctor's office recently and a member of his staff brought a stack of forms to his private office and laid them on the doctor's desk. She informed him he needed to complete the forms for patients and a few third parties.
Reader Beware: Consider the Source
The aftermath of last year's presidential elections brought a running conversation on the role played by "fake news" that was largely presented via social media.
4 Things Every DC Should Know About Levels of Care & Prevention
As health practitioners, we help people with their health problems and assist them with health promotion and disease prevention.
VF Works / DMX Works Epilogue: Almost Two Decades Later, the Lawsuits Continue
An article in the March 8, 1999 edition of Dynamic Chiropractic examined whether then-VF Works / Nu-Best Franchising was selling its franchises illegally to doctors of chiropractic.
Getting Unstuck: Healing From Trauma With TCM, Qigong & Movement
We all come into this world vulnerable, with seeds to grow into our strength. Some of us — through a combination of good fortune (i.e., family and culture we are born into, constitutional inheritance, or ability to learn) grow with minimal interruption from traumatic injuries and experiences.
ICA Goes on the Vaccine Offensive
Have you watched the vaccination documentary, "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," by Andrew Wakefield MD, director, and Del Bigtree, producer? This is the documentary Robert DeNiro was pressured to remove from his Tribeca Film Festival.
Chiropractic in Texas Is Under Attack
The profession of chiropractic faces an unprecedented challenge in Texas, an attack that is more aggressive, sustained and dangerous than anything previously seen. The medical lobby has launched a coordinated, multi-front assault.
The Acupuncture Channel System (Part 2)
The primary channels (main channels) are introduced in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, these channels are referenced in many chapters throughout the Su Wen and the Ling Shu. The primary channels have become the main channel system used in TCM.
June, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 06
The Danger of Mastitis
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
While flying home to New York from a trip to California to introduce my 6-week-old son to his uncle, aunt and cousins, I struggled with nursing him. It wasn't until two years later, when we got his diagnosis of fragile X, that his failure to latch on and global hypotonia made any sense.
However, my breasts were bursting and I decided to bring my breast pump into the bathroom to fill a bottle and feed my son. I looked around for an electrical outlet and was stunned to find they had all been removed for fire safety reasons. I attempted manual (breast) expression, but that wasn't very effective, and I sat for the remainder of the five-and-a-half-hour flight in agony as my breasts engorged and a fever developed. Luckily, I didn't develop mastitis, but the discomfort was intense nonetheless. (Since that time, I have suggested to my clients they carry a battery-operated pump for such eventualities.)
It's not at all uncommon for women in late pregnancy and/or new mothers to feel their breasts engorge, especially when they first start nursing. When the tenderness becomes painful, a serious breast infection or mastitis might be the problem. Mastitis, or inflammation of the breast, used to be called "milk fever" or "milk leg," and there actually might be a genetic component for susceptibility to this painful condition.
This infection, which generally affects only one breast, usually occurs two to three weeks postpartum, but it might occur after only one week. It's caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli bacteria.1 These bacteria often are carried on the mother's or (hospital) staff's unwashed hands, or in the newborn's mouth.2 The bacteria enter the mother's body through an open, injured area of the nipple, although in some cases there might be no discernible wound.
Engorgement and milk stasis often precede mastitis, so new mothers can start paying closer attention to these warning signs. Sometimes the breasts engorge if the baby misses a feeding, when the baby starts to sleep through the night, or when mom starts to wean the baby. Other causes might be failure of the milk ducts to drain completely, underwire bras or bras that are too tight, as well as maternal stress and fatigue. Any pre-existing condition that lowers her immune system also might be a contributing factor.2
Once mastitis has developed, new mothers suffer with very sore and tender breasts. A red, inflamed spot develops and a red line can be seen that traces the clogged milk duct. Flu-like symptoms, general aches, fever (101.1 F or higher), headaches and chills accompany mastitis. If left untreated, a painful abscess can develop. This occurs 5 percent of the time.8 The milk from the affected breast might taste saltier than usual because there are higher levels of sodium within the swollen, inflamed tissue. The baby might even notice the difference and protest during the feeding.3
Some women misdiagnose plugged ducts for mastitis, although many women who have frequent bouts of plugged ducts often develop at least one case of mastitis. While plugged ducts, which are more prevalent than mastitis, can feel equally painful and require treatment, they don't hurt as much as mastitis and are not caused by bacterial infections. Milk ducts might become blocked for other reasons: an overabundance of milk, poor latch (when the baby's mouth does not form a firm seal around the nipple), a shift in nursing patterns or compressed breasts (either a bra that is too tight or from sleeping on the affected side).4
Other differences that set plugged ducts apart from mastitis are:
However, one of the best ways to treat mastitis is to continue nursing. Breastfeeding with mastitis is safe for the baby and most antibiotics used to treat this inflammation are not going to harm the newborn. La Leche League urges women not to give up on nursing because it actually shortens the duration of the infection and reduces a woman's chance of developing an abscess.3 Some women might be concerned about taking antibiotics when the child is so young. At least half of new mothers who develop mastitis don't need antibiotics.1 There also is reason to be cautious about multiple rounds of antibiotics. One study suggested repeated dosing of antibiotics might increase the risk of breast cancer.5
So, what can a new mother do to treat this painful infection? Obviously, strategies to prevent the condition need to be in place. Gentle breast massage will keep the milk ducts from becoming plugged. While in the shower or when moisturizing, the new mother can lightly effleurage around her breasts six times, lightly knead the base of the breasts and press on any areas that might feel tender. There also are some effective acupuncture points that might help reduce the discomfort. She can draw an imaginary line from the nipples vertically upward, just beneath both clavicles. These tender spots are Stomach 13. Press both points for a count of 6-10, repeating 6-10 times. From there, she can make an imaginary line about 3 inches down to the beginning of each breast. These are the Stomach 16 acupuncture points. Treat them as you would Stomach 13.
In the middle of the sternum, your client can find Conception Vessel 17. This point is going to feel tender to the touch. She should start the treatment by pressing gently and gradually increasing her pressure.6
Other natural treatments to treat plugged ducts or mastitis can be used once symptoms appear, as a way to prevent the condition from worsening. For those women who chose to avoid antibiotics, these techniques might be their best form of defense and care.
When the breast starts to feel tender, apply moist heat to the area. This will help dilate the milk ducts and prevent them from clogging. She can stand in the shower, facing away from the shower head, and let the water cascade over her shoulder(s). Anyone who has ever taken my workshop knows what to do with potatoes (I am going to keep the rest of you guessing). For breast tenderness, grate a raw potato and apply a cold poultice a few times each day to the sore spot.6 Place cold, raw cabbage leaves in the bra to reduce swelling. Rupture the veins by rolling over the leaves with a rolling pin and wear them until they become room temperature, and then change them. Some women report a decrease in milk supply from using the leaves, so the new mom needs to be attentive to that change.4
Start nursing with the sensitive breast first until it's empty and direct the baby's chin toward the tender area to create more sucking power on the clogged duct.1 Dietary changes also can have a positive impact. Reducing the amount of saturated fats and sodium in the daily diet has been shown to help some women. Certain nutritional supplements also might aid mastitis prevention: lecithin, bromelain, the vitamin B complex, vitamin C, echinacea and iron. Be sure your client discusses any and all supplements, herbs or homeopathic remedies with her care provider before taking them if she is nursing.1,3,7
Another simple remedy is to remember to drink adequate amounts of water daily. Eight to 12 glasses will help maintain the milk supply and keep the new mother's body running (internally) smoothly. Once the baby stars to crawl, bacteria can be picked up from the floor and any surfaces they touch, so moms should wash their hands and the baby's face before nursing. If mastitis persists, she should consult with her care provider. She might want to get another opinion to rule out tumors.
By paying attention to her body and heeding the warning signs, a new mother can enjoy the intimacy, nurturing and pleasure of breast-feeding her baby.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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