resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
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.
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.
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
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.
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.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
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.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
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.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
November, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 11
Adaptation Perspectives and Low Back Pain
By Leon Chaitow, ND, DO
A prospective patient arrives with a problem for you to manage – say a backache (a not uncommon scenario!). Where do you begin? I would suggest you begin by viewing the problem through a broad lens.The tissues of your (and your patient's) body respond to applied demands (stressors) deriving from backgrounds of overuse, misuse, abuse (trauma) and disuse, overlaid onto a combination of developmental and maturational experiences of life – the inherited and acquired habits and patterns of use (for example postural or respiratory), ergonomic, work and leisure stresses, as well as the results of injuries, surgeries, emotional burdens and more.
These features and experiences will have blended to create tissues that may gradually have changed from a state of normotonicity to a palpably dysfunctional state, at times involving hypertonicity, and at others hypotonicity, along with altered firing sequences, modified motor control, abnormal postural and/or movement patterns and ultimately dysfunctional chain reactions. What emerges is a picture of impaired or altered function of related components of the somatic framework; skeletal, arthrodial, myofascial, as well as related vascular, lymphatic and neural features, all examples of adaptational overload.
But to the patient, it is simply "a backache." Such changes almost always demonstrate functional, sometimes visible, often palpable, evidence, that can frequently be assessed in order to guide you towards clinical decision-making, as to what form of management may be most appropriate. What therapeutic and rehabilitation strategies, in the context of acute and chronic somatic dysfunction, may be able to assist in normalization of dysfunction, pain management and rehabilitation? Parsons & Marcer (2005) note that "it is through the summation of both quantitative and qualitative findings that one obtains an indication of the nature and age of the underlying dysfunction"
Repetitive Lumbar Injury: An Example of Adaptation Overload
In discussing a form of low back pain that they describe as Repetitive Lumbar Injury (RLI), Solomonow, et al (2011a), outline the etiology of a complex multi-factorial syndrome that fits the model of adaptive overload. This involves an adaptation sequence, in which prolonged cyclic loading of the low back can be shown to induce a process of creep – defined as continued deformation of a viscoelastic material under constant load over time - in the spinal tissues (Sanchez-Zuriaga 2010), reduced muscular activity, triggering spasms and reduced stability, followed by acute inflammation and tissue degradation (Fung et al 2009), as well as muscular hyperexcitability and hyperstability (Li et al 2007).
These adaptive changes are seen – in animal studies (Solomonow 2011b) and in humans (Solomonow 2003) - to be a response to rapid movement, high loads, numerous repetitions and short rest periods. Behaviours that are not uncommon in many common work and leisure/athletic activities. The conclusion is that viscoelastic tissues ultimately fail via a process involving the triggering of inflammation, due to overuse, a process that appears to initiate the mechanical and neuromuscular characteristic symptoms of the disorder.
In contrast, Solomonow, et al (2011a), found that low magnitude loads, short loading durations, lengthy rest periods, low movement velocity and few repetitions do not constitute significant risk factors, yet nevertheless triggered transient stability deficits and pro-inflammatory tissue degradation. It is suggested that it might be more appropriate to designate these conditions as low risk instead of no risk. In perspective, Repetitive Lumbar Injury – manifesting in your patient with backache - is seen to be a complex multi-factorial syndrome. A clear example of adaptation to imposed demands that exceed the ability of the tissues involved to respond. Repeated bending activities in daily living appear to change both structure (ligaments, discs) and function (protective spinal reflexes).
Therapeutic interventions in such a spectrum of progressive dysfunction (such as myofascial release, muscle energy technique etc) need to offer various potential benefits, for example improving restricted mobility (Lenehan et al 2003), possibly reducing excessive inflammatory responses (Fryer & Fossum 2010), while simultaneously enhancing motor control (Wilson, et al 2003). But, unless the patterns of use that fuelled this degenerative process are modified, the manual interventions will offer short-term symptomatic relief at best.
Grieve's Decompensation Model
In 1986, Grieve presciently offered a perspective on the evolution of chronic dysfunction. He described the example of a typical patient, presenting with pain, loss of functional movement, or altered patterns of strength, power or endurance and suggested that, all too commonly, this individual would either have suffered major trauma which had overwhelmed the physiological tolerances of relatively healthy tissues or might be displaying "gradual decompensation, demonstrating slow exhaustion of the tissue's adaptive potential, with or without trauma." As this process continued, Grieve explained, progressive postural adaptation influenced by time factors and possibly by trauma, would lead to exhaustion of the body's adaptive potential, resulting in dysfunction and ultimately, symptoms.
Grieve correctly noted that therapeutic attention to the tissues incriminated in producing symptoms often gives excellent short-term results, however "unless treatment is also focused towards restoring function in asymptomatic tissues responsible for the original postural adaptation and subsequent decompensation, the symptoms will recur."
A Therapeutic Formula: Reduce Adaptive Load And Enhance Function
A therapeutic formula is proposed for the clinician who is confronted with chronic adaptive changes, of the sort highlighted by Solomonow or Grieve, who may well walk into your office with a backache. It is suggested that the focus should be on both reducing adaptive demands; altering the patterns of behaviour that have produced, or which are maintaining, dysfunction, while at the same time focusing on enhancement of function, working with the self-regulatory systems of the body, so that those adaptive demands can be better managed by the body (Chaitow et al 2005). The only other therapeutic possibility would seem to be symptomatic attention.
In simple terms, musculoskeletal tissue absorbs or adapts to forces applied to it and many manual and movement approaches are capable of modifying these changes – for example the use of Muscle Energy Technique (MET) in dysfunctional shoulders of the elderly (Knebl 2002); following sporting injuries (Bolin 2010); hamstring problems (Smith & Fryer 2008), or even in backache (Licciardone et al 2010)! Why do I emphasise MET? Because its track record is excellent (see citations) and because it is safe and easy to use. But I admit to being biased – and acknowledge that other modalities may be equally useful, but not unless underlying stressors are also dealt with.
Click here for more information about Leon Chaitow, ND, DO.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.