resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
October, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 10
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Pain resulting from nerve entrapment syndromes is a common reason for clients to seek the care of a massage practitioner. However, there are numerous neurological disorders that, at first glance, might appear to be nerve entrapment but are an entirely different pathological condition. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) falls into that category.
A brief review of fundamental neuroanatomy is helpful to properly understand what occurs in CRPS. The autonomic nervous system has efferent fibers that control activity in various smooth muscles, glands and cardiac muscle. Within the autonomic system there are two divisions, the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The primary function of the sympathetic branch is to stimulate activity, while signals from the parasympathetic branch serve to inhibit activity. Of these two, the sympathetic branch is more involved in CRPS.
The sympathetic nervous system has a vital role in protective reflexes as the body responds to stress. It is in high gear during the "fight or flight" response. However, excess sympathetic system activity can generate and maintain pain states in different regions of the body. It is this excess sympathetic activity that causes the symptoms of CRPS. While there still is not a complete understanding of how excess sympathetic branch activity causes these pain conditions, it appears there is some spillover of noxious input from the sympathetic efferents into various nociceptors, especially in the extremities.
The term complex regional pain syndrome has only recently been added to the medical lexicon. It includes two separate conditions that have similar symptoms, but are different in cause. The two conditions were formerly called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (now called CRPS 1) and causalgia (now called CRPS 2).5 The primary difference between them is how they occur. In CRPS 1, symptoms commonly occur as a result of some traumatic incident, but there is no evidence of specific nerve damage. In CRPS 2, there also is some event that initiated excess sympathetic activity, but this condition also involves identifiable damage to the nerve. Most of the symptoms of CRPS 1 and 2 are similar and are listed below:
Symptoms of CRPS
Distinguishing CRPS from other neurological disorders is aided by detailed evaluation of several clinical features in addition to those listed above. The condition can affect either the upper or lower extremity, but is more common in the upper extremity, and the pain usually is aggravated with moving the affected limb. Various myofascial dysfunctions also might accompany the extremity pain.1 Women are affected more often than men by approximately a three-to-one ratio.2 Some degree of depression or psychological dysfunction is common with CRPS. However, it is unclear if this psychological dysfunction is a causative factor or a result of the condition, because depression and similar psychological manifestations are common in severe and chronic pain conditions.4
Treatment for CRPS varies widely, but physical therapy is a primary component of most treatment protocols. The goal of most physical therapy treatments is to desensitize the area and restore normal function of the affected extremity. Massage might play a fundamental role in this process. Because myofascial dysfunction often is a part of the array of symptoms, addressing the myofascial component might interrupt the cycle of pain and dysfunction. In many cases, if the myofascial pain condition was properly addressed, the whole syndrome may resolve.3 Massage is also likely to be helpful because it is effective at decreasing overall sympathetic system activity.
If you have a client demonstrating signs and symptoms that indicate the possibility of CRPS, it is important to have them properly evaluated by a physician. There are a number of other treatment strategies such as nerve blocks and medications that are effective in addressing the problem, and it might be important to start these treatments as early in the rehabilitation process as possible.
CRPS can be a debilitating condition. Because it occurs more often in the upper extremity, it might be easy to dismiss many of the symptoms as arising from a peripheral compression neuropathy such as carpal tunnel syndrome. However, awareness of the variety of symptoms associated with CRPS allows the practitioner to look at a bigger picture and catch this condition early on, if present, so it can be most effectively treated.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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