resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
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.
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.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
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.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
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.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
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.
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.
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.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
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.
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?
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.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
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.
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.
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.
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