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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.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
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.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
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.
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.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
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.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
November, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 11
The Silent Progression of Kidney Infections and Stone Formation
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
There is a strong possibility that the chronic or semi-acute somatic complaints of your clients may have a deeper origin than biomechanical strain. In fact, their somatic difficulties may be associated with the progressing development of kidney stones or infections.
Kidney stones (also called nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis) affect about 12 percent of men and 5 percent of women by the time they are 70 years old.1 Another reference states: "One in seven men and one in 15 women will be diagnosed with kidney stones during their lifetime. On a typical day, more than 1,300 of them will end up in emergency rooms."2 In a calendar year that potentially means 474,500 people will seek emergency medical help for their kidney stones.
According to Jean-Pierre Barral, the developer of Visceral Manipulation, kidney dysfunctions are implicated in most lower back and lower extremity chronic somatic complaints, especially those that involve the groin, knees, ankles and feet.3 The next time a client comes to you complaining of chronic pain in the low back, groin, knee or foot, without a recent direct trauma to these structures, ask them the following questions: Have you or anyone in your family ever had a kidney stone or a kidney infection? Do you have a history of urinary tract or bladder infections? Have you or other members of your family been diagnosed with diabetes? Do you have high blood pressure? Have you recently been experiencing any urinary urgency, high frequency of urination, pain or burning while urinating? Have you noticed a pinkish tinge to your urine?1
A positive response to any of these questions, especially the last two, suggests that encouraging your clients to see their physician is in their best interest. Let's appreciate the amazing capacity of the human kidneys. According to the NIH: "Every day, a person's kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to sift out about 2 quarts of waste products and extra water. The wastes and extra water become urine, which flows to the bladder through tubes called ureters. The bladder stores urine until releasing it through urination."4
The important question for us as massage therapists is, how many of our present clients are progressing toward developing kidney stones? It has been estimated that it can take up to 10 years for kidney stones to form.5 Consider that low back or lower extremity dysfunction and pain may be the "voice" of one's kidneys; or the hand being raised and waving for attention. Through increased awareness, we may be able to help our clients acknowledge these signals and take appropriate action.
Silent Kidney Dysfunction
According to the Mayo Clinic Web site, "Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) is a specific type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that generally begins in your urethra or bladder and travels up into your kidneys.6 Another resource suggests that such infections may also result from the encroachment of not only bacteria but also fungi and viruses. The invasion may come from the bloodstream as well as the bladder. Kidney infections seem to occur most often in adult females who are otherwise healthy. Urinary tract infections are uncommon in males until old age, when bladder catheterization and other urinary procedures are more commonly performed.7
Similar to the intense pain of renal colic when passing a kidney stone, an acute kidney infection with its attendant fever and chills, abdominal and back pain, urinary urgency and blood in the urine will generally send an individual to the emergency room rather than to your office.
However, chronic kidney infections, which may lead to chronic kidney disease, is reflected in a gradual loss of the kidneys' ability to filter blood, usually due to high blood pressure or diabetes. When kidney function is seriously impaired, dangerous levels of fluid and waste can quickly accumulate. In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, an individual may have few signs or symptoms. Many people with chronic kidney disease don't realize they have a problem until their kidney function has decreased to less than 25 percent of normal.2 Obstruction of the flow of urine by stones, an enlarged prostate, strictures (narrowings) or cancers may also contribute to chronic kidney disease.7 Kidney pain is quite tricky because it can radiate to many different parts of the body. The pain may radiate from the organ itself but often appears as back pain.8
According to John Rothchild, MD, a kidney specialist, "The kidney has no pain receptors except in the capsule. Things that provoke kidney pain are in response to its capsule being stretched or in response to its inflammation."9 This is why kidney diseases are considered "silent." However, this doesn't mean that the degradation of the kidneys' ability to filter our blood doesn't have an effect on physiological homeostasis.
Alerting Your Client
It is my clinical speculation that the origin of kidney-related lower back and lower extremity dysfunctions probably stems from a combination of two factors: venous and lymphatic congestion as the kidneys filter blood more slowly, and through the neural network of viscero-somatic reflexes within the autonomic nervous system. This is our bodies' evolutionary genius for survival in action. On the downside, this may be how kidney stones and chronic kidney disease may seem to sneak up on us and suddenly emerge. These, among other progressions, rob our clients of their quality of life.10
Our opportunity as massage therapists is to alert our clients to the possibility that their chronic somatic complaints may be related to these dysfunctions and encourage them to seek out medical testing to rule out these progressions as possible contributors to their chronic ailments. Encourage clients to ask for blood tests specific to kidney function, and a urinalysis and a urine culture test.
An emerging theory of the Inside-Out Paradigm suggests that when the biomechanical expressions of organ or spinal-cord dysfunction are normalized such that a client's chronic somatic complaints reduce, the body will show a more classic presentation that can be medically recognized. The number of bodywork sessions needed to facilitate the expression of these dysfunctions varies wildly between a few sessions and a number of years, but the theme continues to repeat itself with chronic conditions.
Clients want their answers to be explainable in musculoskeletal terms. One intention of the Inside-Out Paradigm is to bring to our collective awareness the possibilities of progressions that have little or no direct voice. The progressions of kidney stone formation and kidney infections may play a role in your clients' chronic lower back and lower extremity problems. Early detection and prevention is the only way to stay ahead of these "silent" progressions.
I wish to express my gratitude to Jean-Pierre Barral for assisting me to see more clearly how the human body works.
Click here for more information about Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD.
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