resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
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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