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New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
January, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 01
Recognizing Baker's Cysts
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
The practice of massage therapy helps develop outstanding palpation skills for the practitioner. One of the great advantages of improved palpation skills is the ability to identify structural abnormalities under the skin before the client might be aware of a problem even existing. Many of these structural abnormalities may not even be painful. It is still important to be aware of those that are not painful because they may be an indication of an underlying pathology that could cause problems later on.
One such condition that may be evident during massage of the lower extremity is a fluid-filled cyst called a Baker's cyst or popliteal cyst that develops in the posterior knee region. Most Baker's cysts are benign, but they can cause pain and are frequently an indication of other pathologies so it is important to properly identify them.
Baker's cysts are the most common cysts found around the knee and the most common cysts lined with a synovial membrane anywhere in the body. They develop posterior to the knee joint and are usually found directly behind the medial femoral condyle between the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle and the semimembranosus tendon. The cyst fills with fluid and becomes a palpable mass in the proximal posterior calf.
Baker's cysts may develop for a number of different reasons, but the cause is not always clear. There seems to be a correlation between the development of a Baker's cyst and the presence of other knee pathologies. For example, these cysts routinely occur after conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, meniscal tears, cruciate ligament tears, or osteochondritis dissecans have occurred in the knee. The reason they develop after these conditions is not entirely clear, but since the lining of the cyst is intimately connected with the joint capsule of the knee, irritation of the capsular tissues may have something to do with it.
The Baker's cyst has another interesting structural feature. Examination of the cyst reveals there is a one-way valve system that communicates between the capsule and the cyst. The cyst develops as a fluid-filled pouch of capsular tissue, but there is not a free exchange of fluid between the cyst and the internal knee structures. The one-way valve only lets fluid pass from the internal knee joint into the cyst. This is one reason for so much fluid accumulating in the area. As fluid develops within the cyst, it may press on other structures in the region and produce pain. Presence of the cyst behind the knee is also likely to prevent full flexion of the knee and may cause some discomfort or limitation to full extension.
There are a number of fluid-filled cysts that occur in different regions of the body, such as the ganglion cysts found around the wrist. A primary focus of treatment for these cysts is aspiration, or drawing the fluid out of the cyst. With Baker's cysts, aspiration is not performed because the fluid is much thicker and can't be drawn through the narrow diameter of a needle during aspiration. Treatment usually relies on conservative approaches such as rest from offending activities, thermal therapies including both ice and heat, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS). The rationale for some of these approaches, such as heat or ice, is not entirely clear and is rarely given.
Since the Baker's cyst is often the result of some other pathology associated with the knee joint, it is important to address that underlying pathology. In many cases, the Baker's cyst will resolve on its own if the original problem can be resolved.
There is no benefit to treating a Baker's cyst with massage. Because it is a fluid-filled mass with a one-way valve, mechanical pressure on the cyst will not do anything to help the fluid move out of it and may, in fact, irritate the problem further. Most massage practitioners are cautious about pressure to the posterior knee region due to other delicate neurovascular structures in the region. This caution is warranted, as pressure behind the knee can damage these tissues.
Sometimes, more advanced practitioners may attempt treatment of some of the important muscles in this region, such as the popliteus and plantaris. Because the bellies of these muscles are only in the posterior knee region, they are difficult to treat in any other way. Putting further pressure on a Baker's cyst in this region could occur when attempting to treat one of these deeper knee muscles, and could aggravate the cyst. However, the palpatory skills of the massage practitioner frequently help to identify the tissue abnormality so the person can be referred to someone who can more accurately identify and treat the problem. Other conditions such as deep-vein thrombosis or popliteal aneurysms can also produce similar symptoms, and these problems are all serious enough to warrant referral to another specialist.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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