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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.).
July, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 07
Osteoporosis: Another Insidiously Silent Progression
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
At the age of 83, my mother died on July 25, 2009, five days after fracturing her left hip. Her silent progression of osteoporosis had shown itself many years before, but I failed to fully comprehend its true implications.This series is dedicated to the memory of Shirley M. Lloyd. Her life has provided me with many significant lessons and has served as a case study for me to write about the subject.
To my sensibilities, our role as massage therapists is to educate our clients and to refer them for medical testing when their physical histories or chronic somatic problems indicate it. It is my intention to offer our profession the perspective and information that would have helped me to be a more effective health advocate. And, to further explore how normal age-related bone loss may progress into what is called osteopenia (bone thinning) and then into osteoporosis (porous bone). This progression is considered silent because we do not feel the weakening of our skeleton.1
After six months of research into this subject, I am unable to offer any definitive answers. Yet, there are markers of the progression for us as massage therapists to consider. There exists a broad continuum of opinion of how to prevent, treat, and/or how one might stabilize or reverse this progression.
As we age, our ability to absorb nutrients becomes less efficient, the bone remodeling process (breaking down old bone and building new bone) slows down. Other health-related difficulties, associated medical procedures and lifestyle choices can influence the speed of this progression. The reasons for these changes are many and certainly include genetic predisposition.
In fact, one of the questions to ask clients over age 50 and especially those dealing with chronic somatic difficulties is whether their parents experienced any bone fractures and whether their posture became stooped forward and lost height as they aged. The postural decline was true of my mother's mother. Also, it is important to inquire with your clients as to whether they have had any bone fractures.
Fractures are the most severe complication to the progression of osteoporosis. Then, for some, as was the case for my mother's hip fracture, it heralds the beginning of a slide toward the end of their life. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF): "Hip fractures result in 10 to 20 percent excess mortality within one year. Approximately 20 percent of hip fracture patients require long-term nursing care, and only 40 percent regain their pre-fracture level of independence."2
The most common osteoporosis related fractures tend to occur at the wrists, within the thoracic or lumbar vertebrae (commonly referred to as compression fractures) or, as fractures of the pelvis and/or the femoral neck. Other fracture sites are of the ribs, the ankle and the foot. These are especially correlated if the fractures occur after the age of 50 and the intensity of the trauma seems unlikely to have induced a broken bone.1
My mother's trauma history is as follows: At age 71, she fractured her wrist and left foot in a fall; at 79, she fractured her left ankle and foot in another fall; at 81, she experienced a T7/8 compression fracture while bending over; and finally, at 83, she experienced an inter-trochanteric fracture (the base of the femoral neck) in a lateral fall to her left side.
I assure you that you are currently working with clients over the age of 50 and some even younger who are affected by this insidiously silent progression of osteoporosis. According to NOF, more than 10 million Americans have osteoporosis (about 2 million men and 8 million women) and an additional 33.6 million have low bone density of the hip.
As the demographics of our aging population increases, there will be more who come to you with this as an underlying difficulty in their somatic profile. "The Surgeon General estimates that the number of hip fractures and their associated costs could double or triple by the year 2040."2
Very often clients come to us seeking to relieve their pain and to improve their function, yet have little or no understanding of how these somatic complaints may reflect the subtle physiological degradation of their skeleton or, other degenerative progressions.
It is with some humility and humor that I share that Shirley only tolerated my more holistic orientation to preventative care. She was a fiercely independent person who, like many in her generation, did mostly what her physician(s) told her to do. She had taken the hormonal replacement therapy during her post-menopausal years until that was officially deemed risky, then was given Fosomax after her bone mineral density (BMD) test showed that her bone density was declining. Not unlike many who have taken such medications, she developed esophageal and gastritis difficulties for which proton pump inhibitors were prescribed. The functioning of the osteoblasts (the cells in the bone remodeling process which build new bone) depend on the proton pumps to do their job.3
Gillian Sanson, author of The Myth of Osteoporosis,4 states that most individuals who do experience osteoporotic-related fractures do not die of this as a primary cause if they are otherwise healthy. Shirley's health was compromised at the time of her death. Her gall bladder was removed in her early 40s which resulted in severe scar tissue formation. She had been diagnosed with COPD in 1999 and with cirrhosis of the liver in 2004. These and other health challenges, the medications to manage them and surgeries are considered to be secondary causes, which accelerate the progression of osteoporosis.1
The three most common lifestyle factors associated with the progression of bone loss are lack of exercise, smoking, and drinking alcohol. Yes, Shirley did smoke cigarettes and did drink alcohol for most of her adult life. (Food, or the lack of, and its possible contribution will be addressed in a future article.)
In short, Shirley's stooped posture, thinness, additional health problems and being a female reflect a poster-child picture of someone at risk for a severe osteoporotic related fracture.
Encourage your clients who show indications of bone loss, as discussed, to request their physician to do a complete review of their medical history. Next, we will discuss the bone remodeling process and will touch on the sea of controversy surrounding what we may do to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
Click here for more information about Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD.
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