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NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
July, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 07
Giant Cell Arteritis
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
My previous column looked at polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), an idiopathic condition affecting mainly Caucasian women from 50 to 80 years old and characterized by sudden onset of muscle and joint pain, especially around the shoulders and hips.This month, we will address a very different condition, giant cell arteritis (GCA), which has a very different etiology and symptomatic profile, but occurs so often in the same people affected by PMR that many researchers wonder if the two conditions might be connected.
What Is It?
Giant cell arteritis, also called granulomatous arteritis, is a condition in which medium and large-sized arteries become inflamed. This inflammation might be body-wide, but symptoms often center around the face and head, so synonyms for this condition are temporal arteritis and cranial arteritis.
GCA usually affects a specific population: Caucasian women between the ages of 50 and 80. (Men can have it, too, but they account for a small percentage of diagnoses.) In this group, the incidence of the condition ranges from 0.5 to 27 per every 100,000 people. The further north, the higher the incidence. Scandinavia has the highest rate of GCA in Europe, while Mediterranean countries have a low rate.
The causes of GCA are not well-understood. Most experts agree it probably is a combination of genetic predisposition and dysfunctional immune response that might be triggered by a pathogenic exposure.
A high overlap exists between people who have GCA and people who have had polymyalgic rheumatica. Statistics vary, but about 15 percent to 25 percent of those with PMR have GCA and vice versa. This raises the question about whether these two conditions truly are freestanding, or if they indicate different stages of progression in immune system anomalies.
The vessels most at risk are the superficial temporal arteries, the ophthalmic arteries, and more rarely, the aorta, subclavian and brachial arteries. The inflammation permeates disconnected patches of the tunica media of these arteries, and biopsies reveal characteristic abnormal "giant cells" that give the condition its name.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
The most predictable sign of GCA is a slow or sudden onset of a headache in a new pattern. It usually is restricted to the temporal-occipital area of one side, but it can be diffuse and bilateral. The pain feels superficial rather than deep. Sometimes, simply stroking the hair on the affected side can elicit symptoms.
The headache seen with GCA might be preceded by "prodromic" symptoms that resemble polymyalgia rheumatica: general muscle and joint pain, especially at the shoulders and hips. The jaw might become extremely painful, leading to problems with chewing and swallowing. Loss of appetite, weight loss and fever also might be present, but these are not consistent for every patient.
Perhaps the most alarming symptom of GCA is a change in vision including blurring, double vision or complete vision loss in one eye. It's important to act on this symptom immediately, as the vision loss with GCA might be permanent.
How Is It Diagnosed?
GCA is diagnosed through several measures. Blood tests look at the erythrocyte sedimentation (SED) rate and levels of C-reactive protein as indicators of inflammation. These tests are informative, but not conclusive; a biopsy of the temporal artery is necessary to confirm the diagnosis. This is a simple procedure that can be performed in an outpatient setting, but because the complications of GCA are so serious, treatment might be initiated before the results of the biopsy are obtained.
What Are the Complications?
The most common complication of GCA is permanent vision loss. This usually is the result of a condition called anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. In other words, the optic nerve is damaged because of ischemia. This occurs in up to 50 percent of all people diagnosed with GCA. In addition, inflammation of the major blood vessels can cause blood clots in the brain (leading to transient ischemic attack or stroke) or the larger arteries can weaken and bulge (aortic aneurysm).
How Is It Treated?
High-dose steroidal anti-inflammatories are the first recourse for someone with GCA. The sooner this regimen is begun, the better the chance of saving the patient's vision, so it's worth being aggressive. Low-dose aspirin often is recommended as well, to reduce the risk of forming dangerous clots in inflamed arteries.
The steroid prescription for GCA typically is a long-term commitment: two years or more, tapering off when inflammatory markers in the blood come back to normal ranges. The consequences of prolonged steroid use, especially for mature women, can be serious. They include bone loss (which might be mitigated with medications to increase bone density), hypertension, muscle weakness, cataracts, hyperglycemia, risk of diabetes, immune system suppression and thin skin with easy bruising.
What About Massage?
A client in her 50s or older who reports a headache in a new pattern, especially with vision changes, should go to a doctor before going to a massage therapist. A client with polymyalgia rheumatica must be vigilant about visual disturbances, as this is considered a medical emergency. Because the vision problems with GCA can be permanent, it's important to begin anti-inflammatory therapy as quickly as possible.
A client being treated for GCA might be a candidate for massage, but here the concerns shift to the consequences of long-term steroidal anti-inflammatory use: bone density loss, skin damage, hypertension and other side effects. Furthermore, these medications can interfere with pain responses (their job, after all, is to suppress inflammation!), so the practitioner must be conservative to avoid the risk of overtreatment.
For Next Time
The table is clear and I have no specific requests in the pipeline. So, dear readers, I leave it up to you. What would you like to talk about? What's on Your Table?
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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