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There Are No Secrets: Treating Complicated Conditions with TCM
Including standardized extra points, there are just over 400 acupuncture points on the body. You get 400 and I get 400 - same. Yet, time and time again treatment protocols are coveted as if they were some secret formula only intended for the right and privileged.
Energy is a hot commodity. Society pays dearly for it and for the expertise of those who know how to cultivate it.
History Repeating Itself in Wisconsin?
Thirteen years ago, the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association (WCA) "agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that [the association] orchestrated a conspiracy among WCA members to increase prices for chiropractic services and to boycott third-party payers to obtain higher reimbursement rates."
Happenings in Our Evolving Profession
Good things seem to be happening for our profession and recent developments show we are all on board. Talking about being on board, this September The Veterans Express-Purple Heart Tour is expected to make its way out of the station.
Economics of Complementary/Integrative Care
Although this column doesn't usually feature a book review, we're going outside of our usual public health format to discuss a new book written by Patricia Herman ND, PhD.
In a previous column, I discussed the history and definition of evidence-based practice (EBP), and expressed concerns with how the concept has been narrowly construed by some academics and payers.
You are What You Eat Part II: Integrative Protocols
In the previous installment of this article I discussed important ideas concerning gastrointestinal health and foundational ideas from TCM, which can provide key insights into creating effective protocols for healing the gut.
Business Building: What's Your Strategy?
I know some in our profession love to debate about whether or not spinal curvatures change as a result of our chiropractic adjustment, but I have a question that hits a little more close to the belt than that: Are chiropractors capable of change?
Covering Chiropractic as a Profession, Not a Single Service
Recently Dynamic Chiropractic published a front-page article about various state essential health benefits and referred to Oregon and four other states not currently providing chiropractic as a covered benefit.
News in Brief
Cancer Treatment Centers of America Continues Support of Chiropractic; ACBOH Announces 2013 Practical, Written Exam Dates; PCORI Approves Funding for Research on Spinal Stenosis; Macquarie University to Cease Offering Chiropractic Program.
The Pallof Press for Core Stability Evaluation
Many people become injured because of instability, weakness and poor neural-sequencing patterns in the core. Lack of bracing and support from the inner core cylinder during coronal and transverse movements makes the body vulnerable to compensation injuries.
The Spirits of the Points: The Gall Bladder Official
The Gall Bladder is known as The Official of Decision Making and Judgment. In any given day, this Official makes countless decisions – conscious and unconscious, which influence every aspect of our being.
Telecommuting and Technology: Ergonomic and Worker's Comp Considerations
As our world becomes more and more reliant on technology, equipment becomes more dependable and we become increasingly more comfortable with e-mail, the fax machine, the Internet and the smartphone, it is becoming easier and easier to work away from the office.
Spinal-Cord Injuries: Saying No to Steroids
With steroids, epidural and otherwise, in the news lately for their overuse when treating back pain (and their danger when tainted by fungal meningitis), it was high time for a policy change, and we've got one, from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
Repeating Bone-Density Tests
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women older than age 65 undergo bone-density testing. However, organizations in general have not stated when repeat bone-density testing should be done.
Medical Payola (Part 2)
Not only has Medtronic made billions selling expensive screws and hardware for highly controversial spine fusions, but a Senate investigation also found Medtronic felt compelled to write and edit medical journal articles attributed to outside physicians that downplayed the risks of the company's best-selling bone graft, Infuse.
Wisconsin Exam in the Spotlight
You've passed your national boards with flying colors, including Part IV, the practical examination, at a combined cost of more than $3,000.
Herbal Medicine: Go Mainstream
When it comes to practicing herbal medicine in a mainstream setting, there are a number of important points to understand when it comes to prescribing formulas. Some important questions to ask are - what method of prescribing and dispensing is most effective in this setting?
Let's face it – patient evaluation takes time. Unless you are really into the diagnostic evaluation game, you probably have found the formal exam protocol tedious if not downright annoying.
Peer Points: Stories of Practice Success
When patients go see Arizona-based acupuncturist Jing Liu, it is to get top care from an practitioner well versed in all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Chiropractic Research: A Moral Issue
This year I've had the opportunity to go to three great chiropractic research conferences; the ACC-RAC, the Fédération Internationale de Chiropratique du Sport (FICS) Congress and the World Federation of Chiropractic Congress.
Calcium Supplements and Mortality
When the National Institutes of Health's AARP Diet and Health Study reported that men who took calcium supplements had a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared those who didn't, it was the third large cohort in six months with alarming findings regarding calcium supplements.
Helping Patients Through Pregnancy Loss
There is a lot of focus in the acupuncture world on fertility and helping women get pregnant. It's exhilarating to hear the news that a patient is expecting a baby. The other side of that is pregnancy loss. That includes abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Exercises for Back Pain: Low-Compression Training Program
This program is intended for two groups of people: 1) those who want to engage in resistance exercises for the major regions of their body without developing back pain in the process; and 2) those who already have back pain and want to do resistance exercises, but consistently re-irritate their back when trying to do so.
March, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 03
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
The encouraging news about uterine fibroid tumors is that they are almost always benign, especially for women in their 30s and 40s. However, they can cause a multitude of discomforts, including heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea), backaches, and/or abdominal or pelvic bloating and heaviness.If the fibroids grow large enough to protrude into the pelvic cavity, other pelvic organs may be involved, resulting in urinary frequency and urgency, or constipation. Most fibroids, however, are asymptomatic and many women don't know they have them until they cause a problem or a gynecological exam detects them.
Uterine fibroids are solid, noncancerous tumors made of fibrous and smooth muscle tissues. The preeminence of fibrous tissue gives these tumors their name. Their etiology is unknown, but they seem to be estrogen-dependent because they don't develop before a woman gets her first period and they decrease in size and occurrence after menopause, when estrogen levels are low. Oral contraceptives that contain estrogen compounds, and pregnancy can stimulate the growth of these tumors. (I have seen pregnant women who looked as if they were carrying twins when, in fact, one mass was a fibroid.) There also might be a predisposition based upon genetics.
The sizes of fibroids vary from microscopic to ones that takes up the entire abdominal cavity. Fibroids affect nearly 20 percent of women over the age of 20 and approximately 40 percent of women 35 to 45 years of age. In the United States, Asian-American and African-American women are two to five times more likely than Caucasian women to have them.
There are several different types of uterine fibroid tumors based upon their location within the pelvis:
The diagnosis of fibroids usually is made when the provider palpates a mass during a routine gynecological exam. An ultrasound confirms the diagnosis and determines the type of fibroid.
When a client with a confirmed fibroid comes for a massage, it is important to avoid massaging the abdomen with any deep strokes. If any type of pressure causes pain, the abdominal massage should be stopped. Client positioning also is determined by comfort level. If prone positioning is uncomfortable, position her side-lying with a pillow under her neck and others placed between her knees.
Women have many options to treat uterine fibroids. The most extreme is a hysterectomy to remove the uterus. Only about 10 percent to 20 percent of fibroids require surgery. While it is certainly an effective way to remove the fibroids that have been causing pain, it puts women into an immediate surgical menopause if the ovaries also are removed and, like any surgical procedure, has many risks. An incision is made in the lower abdomen, although it can sometimes be performed vaginally. Recovery from this major surgery can take as long as six weeks.
A less invasive treatment is a procedure known as myomectomy. During this surgery, which may be done as an outpatient procedure depending on the number, size and location of the fibroids, the uterus is left intact. If an abdominal incision is made, the recovery takes as long as a hysterectomy. It may be performed using a laparoscope - lighted surgical tubes inserted near the navel - or through the vagina with a hysteroscope.
Rather than going under the knife, some women opt for embolization of the fibroids. This nonsurgical procedure cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids, which effectively shrinks them, although they don't necessarily disappear. A catheter is inserted through the patient's femoral artery and gently moved to each affected uterine artery. Tiny pellets are inserted through the catheter which blocks the blood supply. A woman must remain in the hospital for a day or two and is able to resume normal activities within the week. Embolization studies have found an 85 percent to 95 percent reduction in fibroid symptoms, while not actually eliminating them.
Prior to undergoing any type of surgery or medical procedure, women might opt for acupuncture, with or without herbal remedies, to treat their fibroids. The first mention of uterine fibroids in traditional Chinese medicine was in the Ling Shu (ca. 100 BC), which described them as "stony tumors." Chinese medicine categorizes fibroid tumors as zheng xia, or "masses in the uterus with a feeling of pain, swelling or fullness, and with bleeding in severe cases." TCM recognizes three patterns of uterine fibroids and treats them accordingly: qi stagnation and blood stasis; yin deficiency and empty-fire blazing; and liver qi stagnation and spleen deficiency. Once the appropriate pattern has been determined, acupuncture and specific herbs are provided. TCM is very effective in reducing or eliminating many types of uterine fibroids, especially if they are caught early.
Pharmaceutical drugs also can be taken to reduce the size of these fibroids and control the bleeding they often cause. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be taken alone or with the addition of progesterone. A synthetic form of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Lupron) controls the supply of estrogen and progesterone, which causes the fibroids to decrease in size. However, its use is limited because long-term use contributes to osteoporosis and once a woman stops taking Lupron, the fibroids grow back. It is more effective when used prior to a myomectomy to shrink the tumors and make the surgery easier.
A cutting-edge procedure (which is not necessarily covered by insurance) is an MRI-guided ultrasound. High-intensity ultrasound is directed at the fibroids, heating them and breaking down their outer walls. The procedure takes a few hours and the patient has to remain in a prone position in an MRI machine with her head outside of the machine and her abdomen submerged in a pool of water. Risk factors include burns and nerve damage, and the effects of this intensive ultrasound on future pregnancies have not been determined.
Uterine fibroids are not life-threatening growths, but the symptoms they cause can have a major impact on a woman's quality of life. Thankfully, there are many options available today, and women can make their decisions based upon their own needs.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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