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Decompression-Traction: A Core Treatment Method in Chiropractic's Future
We're all competing for new patients. We're competing for new patients with physical therapists, massage therapists, medical specialists and hospital fitness centers. We're even competing with side-effect-ridden medications that quit working every four hours.
Building the DC-MD Bridge
From MDs practicing integrative holistic medicine to the family internist, many DCs are enjoying unprecedented attention from their allopathic colleagues.
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.
Watch Out for Red Herrings
In clinical practice, when one condition mimics another, it makes it difficult to obtain an accurate and timely diagnosis.
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.
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.
Take Care of Your Skin: Tips to Pass on to Your Patients
Many of our patients are not aware that the largest organ in the human body is actually the skin. Accounting for 16 percent of total body weight and covering up to 22 square feet of surface area, the skin is more than just a "covering," as originally thought.
Ringing in a Fiscal New Year With a Recommitment to Cost-Effectiveness
Back when the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research was in its heyday, I used to send out New Year's greetings and virtual noisemakers to some close friends on July 1 – the beginning of our new fiscal year – wishing for prosperity in the year ahead.
From the Other Side of the Table
People come to us to gain freedom from pain, to feel better, to live better. As D.D. Palmer stated, "We Chiropractors work with the subtle substance of the soul." Therein also lies the rub.
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?
How to Find Your Ideal Patient – and Help Your Ideal Patient Find You
Just imagine: You're at the front desk looking at the scheduler and a smile creeps across your face. Row after row, name after name, hour after hour; you're blessed with an entire day of ideal patients. Every day should be like this, you whisper. Exactly!
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.
Your Patients' Best Health Resource
There is nothing as powerful as information. The right information has won wars, saved lives and changed hearts; lack of information has led to hesitation, poor decisions and unintended consequences.
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.
Detoxification for Athletes: The Key to Winning Performance
One of the most dangerous culprits that affects an athlete's ability to perform at an optimum level also happens to be one of the most elusive.
The Life & Legacy of James Sigafoose, DC (1933-2014)
Surrounded by his family and closest friends, Dr. James M. Sigafoose passed away quietly on Thursday, July 3, 2014. With his wife of 60 years, Patsy, along with his children, Tina, Daun, Kieth, Selina and Carey – all chiropractors – at his side.
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.
News in Brief
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (a medical doctor, no less) proclaimed October 2014 "Oregon Chiropractic Health and Wellness Month" in an official proclamation signed Aug. 25, 2014.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Don't Forget About the Performers
Donald Petersen Jr.'s recent article, "Your Chance to Go Back to High School" [May 1, 2014 DC], focused on the injuries incurred by high-school athletes and the subsequent opportunities for the chiropractic profession.
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.
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!
February, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 02
Sources of Neck Pain
By Anita Boser, LMP, CHP
Clients usually think that pain is the "X" that marks the problem spot. As therapists, we know the source of pain is often somewhere else. In other words, "Where it is, is where it ain't," a colloquialism attributed to Ida P. Rolf. In the realm of a connective tissue matrix, internal pulls and compensations often create a symptom distant from the source of dysfunction.
As the pinnacle of the spinal cord, the neck has to accommodate for every weakness, imbalance and misalignment below, in addition to resolving direct trauma such as whiplash. There literally are thousands of sources of neck pain. In my practice, two are the most common: limited range of motion in the shoulder girdle and restrictions in the thorax.
Scapular Restrictions Limit Arm Flexion
When raising the arm overhead, the scapula must rotate 60 degrees to achieve full range (180 degrees of flexion). Not only does scapular rotation make full flexion possible, the glenoid cavity is then also in the proper position to provide support to the humerus. See Figure 1. The serratus anterior and upper and lower fibers of the trapezius contract to rotate the scapula. The costal fibers of the pectoralis major, the latissimus dorsi, and levator scapula also need to lengthen.
If the scapula can't fully rotate, the body will get the job done another way, usually by elevating the entire shoulder girdle. The levator then activates when it should release, and the scalene muscles often contract in an effort to assist. See Figure 2. The result is rigidity in the neck at the trapezius, levator and scalene cervical attachment sites, and often trigger points in the rotator cuff muscles which have to work through abnormal alignment.
Allow for Extension, Latissimus Dorsi
With your client on your table in a side-lying position, ask him to raise his upper arm in front of him and then up alongside his ear. Observe the rotation of the scapula. When the inferior angle stops moving anteriorly and superiorly assist the movement with a stroke to lengthen the latissimus and increase proper rotation of the scapula as you direct your client to rotate his elbow toward the ceiling. See Figure 3. (If the client's movement is very limited and/or his arm is weak, place a pillow under the upper arm to help support the weight.)
Scapula Coordination, Serratus Anterior
Turn your attention next to the serratus anterior. Have your client bend his elbow and place his hand on the table in front of his face or even under his head. With the back of your hand or soft fingertips, contact the fibers of the serratus on the lateral ribs. Ask your client to press into his entire hand so that the elbow moves slightly away from the shoulder joint. Feel for where the serratus is stuck or inhibited and use your touch to facilitate functional involvement. See Figure 4.
That's the Spot, Levator Scapula and Trapezius
Your client will certainly appreciate it if you address the adhesions that have most likely developed between the upper trapezius and the levator scapula. First release the superior edge of the trapezius from any underlying adhesions. Then, as your client extends his arm overhead again, release the levator, starting at its tendinous attachment to the scapular superior angle and directing it inferiorly. It also helps to work the length of the levator to its attachments on the transverse processes of the cervical spine, which are just posterior to the attachments of the scalene muscles, which will want some attention, too.
Thoracic Spine Immobility
While restrictions in the shoulder girdle place extra stress on the neck, lack of mobility in the thoracic spine often causes the cervical spine to exceed its range of motion. For example, if all of the motion to look over the shoulder, to side bend, or to look down comes from the neck, then the cervical spine muscles and ligaments get overworked and overstretched. The result is increasing stiffness as a means of protection.
Get in the Laminar Groove
The answer is to mobilize the thoracic spine and ribs, usually from T1 to T8. With your client in a sidelying position, you can use your knuckles to extricate the spinalis and paraspinal muscles at their attachments to the transverse and spinous processes. As you work, have your client make small unstructured movements under your hands. Use your pressure to stimulate the erectors and paraspinals and encourage more glide in the layers of tissue. Follow through to release restrictions in the myofascia between the ribs from their attachments to the transverse processes all the way to the sternum.
Shoulder restrictions and thoracic spine immobility are obviously not the only sources of neck pain, but adding these two assessments to your tool chest will expand your therapeutic potential and maybe even your reputation as a miracle worker.
Anita Boser graduated from the Institute of Structural Medicine and practices in Issaquah, Wash. She is the author of Relieve Stiffness and Feel Young Again With Undulation and Undulation Exercises. The exercises in this article are excerpted from her book. You can contact Anita at
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