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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?
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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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