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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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