resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
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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