resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
October, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 10
Your Clients With Lyme Disease
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
I am writing this in high summer, which is prime tick season. Consequently, in this installment, we will examine one of the most mysterious and frustrating conditions associated with summertime activities: Lyme disease. This comes about thanks to the comments of Joy Sablatura in response to my article about Sjogren's syndrome.
One of the things that I have a passion about is educating the public about Lyme disease. So often it is diagnosed as the symptoms that it presents with, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Bell's Palsy, Parkinson's, Sjogren's, lupus, multiple sclerosis, ALS, ADD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, meningitis or IBS. Reading about Sjogren's makes me wonder how many people with that diagnosis have Lyme as the causative agent? I think it's possible that the Lyme spirochete invades the joints, crosses the blood brain barrier, and spirals into the organs and tissues, causing inflammation. This is why the antibodies attack tissues and organs: They are trying to get to the spirochetes, which are masters of disguise and know where to hide in the body.
Lyme Disease History
In 1974 a group of children in Lyme, Conn., were diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Because this supposedly noncontagious condition occurred in such concentration in an isolated area and over a short period of time, intensive research was conducted. The conclusion was that the diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis was incorrect. Instead, these children had a bacterial infection that had settled in their joints. A scientist named Willy Burgdorfer isolated the spirochete, now called Borrelia burgdorferi. He found it in highest concentrations in the midgut of deer ticks. Burgdorfer's discovery in 1982 began a process of surveillance that continues today. The incidence of Lyme disease rises yearly. About 19,000 cases were diagnosed in 2006, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
Borrelia-carrying ticks have been found all over the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic, parts of the Midwest and in specific areas of the West coast. However, Lyme disease has been diagnosed throughout the country, because the people who have the infection often travel after their tick bite.
It is important to emphasize that a person with Lyme disease cannot transmit it directly to another person. This is a vector-borne infection. In most cases, it is a tick that carries the bacteria from one host to another, but theoretically it could also be spread through contaminated blood products or organ transplants. Humans are not the only species affected; dogs can also get Lyme disease. Of course, deer and mice are the reservoirs of bacteria that infect the ticks to begin with.
Process of the Disease
Lyme disease infection begins with exposure to a tick that carries the bacteria. Only a few species do this in the U.S., which is why the infection is associated with geographic areas where the ticks are common. Deer ticks are very small when they are in the nymph stage and when they haven't taken a blood meal: They are roughly the size of a period in 12-point font. Adult and fully fed ticks are much larger. For an excellent array of tick photos, see www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/ld_transmission.htm. Ticks are slow feeders. The risk of transmission within the first 24 hours of having a tick attach are quite low. This is why it is important to do thorough tick-checks every day when spending time in areas where they are common.
Lyme disease usually moves in three stages, although its progression may vary from one patient to another:
Stage 1: Early symptoms generally appear between 7 to 30 days after an initial tick bite. They include a circular red rash (a "bulls-eye" rash) that is hot and itchy, but not raised from the skin, accompanied by high fever, fatigue, night sweats, headache, stiff neck and swollen lymph nodes. If no rash appears, these early symptoms may be mistaken for flu, mononucleosis or meningitis. Many people with Lyme disease have no memory of a bulls-eye rash or this acute phase of the infection.
Stage 2: Systemic symptoms emerge during this phase. These include irregular heart beat and dizziness, chronic headaches, facial paralysis, numbness, tingling, forgetfulness and poor coordination, along with debilitating fatigue.
Stage 3: Many Lyme disease infections eventually involve extreme inflammation of one or more large joints, especially knees, elbows and shoulders. Most patients don't have the infection in more than three joints at a time. The inflammation can be extreme enough to damage the joint permanently, especially if it is left untreated.
Lyme disease presents multiple challenges both to the people who have it and to the health care providers who are charged with treating it. One of the most frustrating aspects of this disease is that it can be so difficult to identify. Blood tests for antibodies are often misleading, and they give no information about the timeline of the disease. In other words, a positive blood test only demonstrates a history of exposure. It doesn't explain whether current symptoms (which can be subtle and nonspecific) are related to that exposure.
Further, a certain percentage of people infected with Lyme disease don't respond to the typical 30-day prescription of antibiotics. They have what is sometimes termed "chronic Lyme disease" and are often resistant to treatment. Some experts theorize that the bacterial infection triggers an autoimmune response in these patients. In the meantime, the arthritis and central nervous system consequences of the infection can be debilitating.
Finally, the symptoms of Lyme disease are so unpredictable that it is often missed. People who are diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis or lupus might be interested to pursue the possibility of Lyme disease. Even a disease as serious as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) can be misdiagnosed when Lyme disease generates similar neurologic symptoms.
Massage therapists who work in areas where Lyme disease is common should know what deer ticks look like and proper removal techniques. With tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, pull up with steady pressure, then disinfect the puncture site. Never put noxious chemicals or a hot match head on the tick, as this may cause it to regurgitate; exactly what you don't want to have happen.
Clients who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease may have any number of infection-related problems that can be addressed with massage. Tendon, bursa and joint pain may be relieved, but of course therapists must avoid irritating inflamed areas. Headaches can be addressed, along with other neurological issues like facial paralysis and neuropathy, as long as sensation is intact and the client can give good feedback about comfort. Perhaps more than anything else, massage therapists can be receptive, supportive givers of comfort to clients who live with a frustrating and often very threatening condition.
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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