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Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
June, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 06
Dry Eyes, Dry Mouth: Sjogren's Syndrome
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
My February article, "Bariatric Surgery," about working with clients who have had various forms of bariatric surgery really seemed to hit a cord. Here are some of your responses:
"I read with interest your article on bariatric surgery. I especially am thankful that you mentioned colon massages. I learned abdominal massage in massage school and improved on it by working with other massage therapists to get greater sensitivity in that area. Now I can feel the colon and surrounding tissue, the peristalsis and what's going on in the rest of the abdomen, as well as helping clients to be more knowledgeable about their own bodies. I understand that there are massage therapists who would rather not address this area, don't have time to do so, or don't feel that they know enough. I would suggest then, to just practice with your colleagues and get the colon massages for yourself. You never know when you may be of assistance to a client with a chronic backache, who really only has a colon ache."
"I started receiving weekly massage therapy shortly after my surgery and continued through the summer of 2008. I found it invaluable to assist me in keeping in touch with my changing body. My massage therapist did Swedish, deep tissue, and stretching. We would also talk about my experience of losing weight and having the band in my body. He was a real support to me through this process. Bottom-line: Massage can be very helpful to someone going through this process."
Roger Bartman, LMT
For this article, I am answering the request of a reader (Hi Karen in Virginia!), whose client has a relatively common autoimmune disorder called Sjogren's syndrome. Sjogren's syndrome is usually manageable, but in rare cases it can be a serious and potentially threatening condition.
Sjogren's Syndrome: What is it?
Sjogren's syndrome, named for Swedish doctor Henrik Sjogren who first identified this pattern in the early 20th century, is an inflammatory condition that usually affects the eyes and mouth, but can have impact on many tissues throughout the body. Most experts agree that Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder with a strong genetic component. In this situation lymphocytes invade and rogue antibodies attack two major sets of glands: the lacrimal glands that produce tears, and the salivary glands. In some cases, antibodies may attack other tissues as well--especially in joints and blood vessels--but this is relatively rare.
Sjogren's syndrome has some features in common with other autoimmune diseases. While some people experience this as a chronic, low-grade, slowly progressive condition, others find that it runs in a cycle of extreme and severe flares followed by periods of remission. Like most other autoimmune conditions, Sjogren's syndrome is more common in women than in men by a ratio of about 9-to-1. It usually affects women between 45 and 55 years of age, but it has been documented in patients both older and younger. Statistics on its incidence in the United States vary; it may affect anywhere from 400,000 to 3 million people. Sjogren's syndrome often appears with other autoimmune disorders: about half of those with Sjogren's syndrome may also be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, or lupus.
Signs, Symptoms, and Complications
Signs and symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome revolve around inflammation of tear and salivary ducts, leading to a decrease in important secretions. Without adequate lubrication the eye can feel gritty and painful, it can become vulnerable to bacterial or viral infection, and the cornea can be permanently damaged.
Inadequate production of saliva makes it difficult to swallow, especially dry food. Teeth become vulnerable to cavities and infection, the tongue may develop fissures, and the mouth is generally more vulnerable to a fungal infection called thrush.
Some people experience similar drying effects in other areas, notably the nasal sinuses, vaginal canal, and the skin in general. While nosebleeds and dry skin are irritating, even more severe manifestations of Sjogren's syndrome can lead to joint pain, a type of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) that can contribute to kidney damage, lung damage, and nervous system damage ranging from mood swings to strokes.
Treatment Options for Sjogren's Disease
Sjogren's disease is often categorized as secondary (occurring as part of some other autoimmune disease) or primary, occurring as a freestanding condition. Secondary Sjogren's syndrome is treated symptomatically, but only as a side-issue to the underlying pathology.
Primary Sjogren's syndrome may be benign, mild and non-progressive, but it may be systemic and potentially threatening. Benign and systemic cases are also treated according to symptoms, but specialists now recognize that Sjogren's syndrome has the potential to cause serious problems and it requires careful and thorough follow-up to manage its progression and the tissue damage that it can cause.
Treatment options usually begin with artificial tears, aggressive oral hygiene care, and medications that promote the production of saliva. Room humidifiers can help with dry mouth and irritated nasal sinuses. If these are insufficient, other strategies include medications that suppress immune system activity, steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and drugs that address organ-by-organ problems that systemic Sjogren's syndrome might involve.
What about massage?
When a client's Sjogren's syndrome is connected to other autoimmune disorders, the therapist must gather information about these conditions before making choices about massage. Lupus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis all affect the connective tissues, and bodywork practitioners need to be sure that their work is not exacerbating symptoms or problems. It is generally suggested to save rigorous mechanical types of bodywork for periods of remission with autoimmune diseases. During flares most clients are better off with reflexive or energetic types of bodywork that invite stability rather than challenge homeostasis.
Most people who have primary Sjogren's syndrome experience this as a mildly annoying but manageable condition that doesn't significantly impact their quality of life. In these situations choices about massage are not specifically influenced by this condition. However, in those rare cases where it is associated with very severe symptoms, then accommodations for bodywork may be necessary.
For next time: it's up to you, readers. If anyone is interested in more information about Sjogren's syndrome partners (lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis), let me know. Alternatively, I've sensed some interest in the role of massage in the context of cosmetic surgery. Do you work in a plastic surgery office? Have you seen massage as a post-operative strategy to reduce swelling after liposuction or facelifts? Do you have clients who use botox as a cosmetic intervention? What do you find about massage in that setting?
Use this column as a way to share your wisdom with your colleagues and let me know: what's on your table? Until then, many thanks and many blessings.
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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