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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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
May, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 05
Does Fascial Research Alter Assessment?
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Tom Myers recently wrote an article highlighting some outstanding research published by the Dutch osteopath and anatomist Jaap van der Wal. I was intrigued by the concepts Myers highlighted in this article and looked for more of van der Wal's publications.
In addition to his previous papers on the subject of fascia, van der Wal also published a paper in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork in 2009 that explores these anatomical concepts in great detail.
It is interesting to note that van der Wal wrote of these very important findings almost 20 years ago, but did not find acceptance of those ideas within the traditional scientific publishing community until recently.
The essence of van der Wal's research points out that dissection and anatomical science has for centuries focused on a very reductionistic and mechanistic view of the musculoskeletal system. However, he suggests it is a much more complicated and intricately woven web.
In his dissection studies, van der Wal demonstrates that ligaments are not discrete structures separated from muscle and fascial connective tissue. His research shows that at least some ligaments around the body's joints are actually connected in series with muscular tissues - meaning that muscles have fascial connections with ligaments and thus may not act independently.
Does this information impact our practice?
For years the dominant model of orthopedic assessment has been the foundation of James Cyriax's model of contractile and non-contractile (inert) tissues. Contractile tissues included muscle and its associated tendon, because the tendon was strongly pulled once the muscle contracted. Inert tissues were all the soft tissues other than muscle and tendon. They are called inert because they don't actively contract and they are only passively lengthened or shortened during motions of the joints.
Clinicians used this structural format to establish a systematic process of evaluating soft-tissue dysfunction. The central point of this evaluation method is that certain evaluation procedures produce pain or discomfort if a contractile tissue is at fault, while other methods produce pain if an inert tissue is at fault.
As an organizational system it makes very good sense and works quite well in the evaluation process. But there are times when the pattern of pain or discomfort does not seem to fit this classical formula. That leaves the clinician to discover and interpret what the anomaly means. Now, we may have an explanation that helps unravel some of these inconsistencies.
If there are direct fascial connections that tie ligaments and muscles together in series, then ligaments will have tensile loads applied to them when muscles contract. Traditionally, we have said that a manual resistive test applied to a particular joint motion isolates the muscle-tendon tissues, but not the inert tissues. The muscle-tendon tissues are engaged in a contraction generating a tensile load. Because there is no movement at the joint the inert tissues are not stressed at all.
With this new research, that axiom no longer holds true. If muscles have direct serial connection with ligaments, a manual resistive test with no movement could still put a tensile load on a ligament. If that ligament was damaged, pain could ensue. Under the old paradigm one would assume pain during a manual resistive test is only a muscle-tendon injury, but now we see it could be a ligamentous injury. What does this mean?
For the therapist in clinical practice these concepts have tremendous importance in attempting to identify which tissues might be the source of the client's pain. There are very important implications for both assessment and treatment from these exciting research findings.
From the assessment perspective, it means we must consider the possibility of a greater number of tissues causing client pain if muscle contraction or stretch is involved, especially if that pain is localized near a joint. From the treatment perspective, it means we must look at the extensive functional relationships between different tissues and consider how treatment of one type of tissue (muscle for example) may affect the function of another (ligament).
I have always been an advocate of staying current with research findings and looking for innovative ways to apply them to clinical practice. It is exciting because we're constantly learning new things, and these new concepts and ideas help us become ever more effective with the clients who come seeking our help for pain and injury complaints.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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