resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
March, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 03
Prenatal Massage and Pre-Treatment Evaluations
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
In addition to learning what to do to support your pregnant/postpartum clients and relieve their common discomforts, part of the prenatal professional training must include how to recognize when a massage should not be provided. And part of the dialogue that you have to establish with your clients is that when you feel a massage should be postponed until after they have been checked by their care providers, you mean it and stand behind your decision. It is not easy to tell a deserving client that her much-coveted massage is not going to happen, but if your pretreatment evaluations are positive, that is the only safe and responsible choice you can make.
But upon what standards or guidelines do you base your decision? The answer comes from understanding prenatal and postpartum anatomy and physiology. By the end of the pregnancy, most women have an increase of up to 40 percent more interstitial fluid. This excess fluid generally pools in her extremities, especially the legs and feet. In most cases, this "gravity" edema can be treated effectively with manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) and elevation of her legs. And although the swelling can be extensive due to poor posture, poor diet, excessive sodium in the foods she eats, standing a great deal during the day, weather conditions, and restrictive clothing to name a few contributing factors, it poses no health risk. Appropriate massage (MLD) will reduce the swelling by enhancing lymph absorption.
Assessing Serious Conditions
There are times, however, when the swelling is a symptom of a more serious condition - preeclampsia. This hypertensive condition is extremely dangerous for mother and her baby. Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by swelling of the face, hands, and feet, elevated blood pressure, excessive fluid retention, and protein in the urine. It is sometimes accompanied by severe headaches (or migranes) with or without optical "floaters." If preeclampsia is suspected or confirmed, all massage must be avoided until her blood pressure stabilizes and her care provider affirms that she and her baby are out of danger.
In order to test for the presence of this potentially life-threatening illness, we assess the swelling by pressing on the lowest part of each leg, just above the ankle. Press for a count of 5. If the indentation does not fill, or remains pitting, and the ischemic region does not appear red again within 10-30 seconds, massage is contraindicated and the client must see her care provider immediately. Some women develop preeclampsia during postpartum recovery, so the test for pitting edema must continue for the first six weeks, or during the puerperium recovery.
In order to protect against hemorrhaging during childbirth, pregnant women produce more blood clots. During the second trimester, there is an increase in the synthesis of plasma fibrinogen (coagulating factors VII, VIII, IX, X, and fibrinogen) that continues throughout the first few months (8-10 weeks) of postpartum. The potential in blood clot formation (thromboembolism) is five to sixfold during pregnancy and up to three months postpartum. These clots primarily appear in the deeper veins of the legs: the femoral, iliac, and saphenous veins. In order to prevent dislodging these clots, the safest and most effective modality to employ is, once again, MLD.
The risk factors for clots during pregnancy include a sedentary lifestyle, being confined to bed rest, a maternal age of 30 or older, being over-weight, having an autoimmune disease like lupus, and being pregnant with the fourth (or more) child. In addition, clots may develop because of the weight of the gravid uterus slowing iliac and femoral circulation, sluggish blood flow, venous stasis, increased blood volume, and higher levels of progesterone relaxing the smooth muscle fibers. (Although many of these changes reverse soon after childbirth, fibrinogenic activity doesn't normalize until 8-10 weeks postpartum.)
Illness and death from venous thromboembolism occur 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 2,000 pregnant and postpartum women. These figures do not reflect deaths which occur after the traditional 6-week recovery period.
Deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which occurs mostly in the left leg and its resultant pulmonary embolism are the leading causes of preventable in-hospital mortality in the United States. In general (not necessarily related to pregnancy and postpartum), the signs of DVT are commensurate with the degree of blockage in the vein and inflammation of the vessel wall. Many people, including those who are pregnant, are asymptomatic, but it is important to evaluate both legs before massaging your pregnant or postpartum mother for the signs that we can assess.
Surgeries, like Cesarean sections, increase the risk of thromboemboli and the sequelae of a pulmonary embolism. After surgery, most clots occur in the left leg, although both legs must be evaluated.
While lightly placing your hand(s) down the back of her leg (you can perform this before she gets on the treatment table or through the sheet with your client lying on her side), palpate for localized unilateral swelling, heat, pain (which occurs only 50 percent of the time), tenderness on the over-lying dermatome (50 percent of the time), muscle contraction, and possible redness. Keep in mind that the edematous leg will feel hot all over; remember that you are feeling for localized symptoms. In addition, her legs will feel hotter around the joints where the fluid tends to aggregate and in areas where the veins are superficial like the backs of her knees or her ankles.
The second test is specifically for the calf muscles and evaluates the presence of clots in the saphenous vein. However, this Homan sign or Homan check is present in less than one-third of patients with confirmed DVT and is positive in more than 50 percent of patients without DVT, so it is nonspecific. Still, it is a relatively fair barometer to use. With her leg extended, flex her knee to about 5 degrees. Dorsiflect (bend or flex backward) her foot. Any sharp pain in her calf may indicate a positive result. If you suspect that a blood clot is present, do not massage and refer her to her care provider immediately.
To effectively use these pretreatment evaluations, let your pregnant (postpartum) clients know that you will be doing them before each treatment. Once you become proficient, they will take less than one minute to do collectively. If you suspect pitting edema or the presence of a blood clot, explain this to your client in a calm manner and suggest that she seek immediate medical confirmation. I usually suggest that these evaluations are not absolute medical diagnoses but rather indicate that caution should be exercised, and massage should not take place. Instead, I offer my clients an opportunity to book another appointment, once the situation has been addressed, "on the house." However, it never fails that my clients return and pay, regardless of my offer.
Make these pretreatment evaluations a part of your prenatal/postpartum practice. You will feel more confident about giving the massage and your clients will be grateful that you are taking appropriate care of them and their babies.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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