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TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
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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