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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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 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?
January, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 01
The Potential Dangers of Taking Medications During Pregnancy
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
We tend to think that if the Food and Drug Administration approves a medicine, it is safe for us to take. And we don't give a second thought to the potential side effects of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines since they don't require prescriptions.But are these popular medications safe for pregnant women and their developing babies? Since very few drug trials involve pregnant women, how can anyone be sure that there are no harmful side effects or birth defects from these seemingly innocuous medicines?
Conception occurs about two weeks before the next menstrual cycle is due, and a positive confirmation of pregnancy may take another few weeks, so there is a window of extreme vulnerability for the growing baby if mom takes certain medicines (drinks or smokes) during this sensitive time. OTC drugs are used by many pregnant women and, as a rule, are generally safe. Some, however, have what are considered to be unproven safety and/or potentially harmful effects on the growing babies. Since an estimated 10% or more of birth defects are a result of maternal drug exposure, the FDA has assigned a risk category to each drug.
OTC medications that are considered relatively safe during pregnancy include most antacids, Acetaminophen, Chlorphenramine, Kaolin and Pectin preparations - although all expectant women should discuss the use of any and every medication (and herb) with their care providers. As an example, seemingly harmless Vitamin A (Retinol) used for skin conditions has shown to contain powerful teratogens which may cause serious birth defects. On the other end of the safety spectrum are drugs like H2 blockers, Pseudoephedrine, and Atropine/Diphenoxylate, to name a few, which are dangerous for developing fetuses.
During the 1940s – 1970s, DES (diethylstilbesterol) was often prescribed during pregnancy to prevent a miscarriage. That was until the daughters (and sons) of these DES mothers developed all sorts of reproductive anomalies and cancers during puberty. Then the use of this drug during pregnancy was immediately discontinued. But not until after the reproductive lives of thousands were adversely affected.
And for those of us old enough to remember the 1960's when thalidomide was prescribed to treat nausea during pregnancy, the images of those deformed babies was seared into our collective memories (remember the picture on the cover of Life Magazine?). Its use was quickly stopped after nearly 10,000 babies (mostly in Europe) were born with major physical disabilities – phocomelia, or seal-like flippers for arms and legs. Of course, the way these drugs received approval was very different 50 years ago than it is now.
The general rule is to avoid all drug exposure (including herbs and aromatherapy) during the first trimester when the fetal organs are developing (organogenesis) to prevent structural and functional abnormalities. Most drugs can cross the placental barrier (this includes pain medications and nerve blocks received during labor) and expose the developing embryo and fetus to harmful effects.
There are certain factors affecting placental drug transference and teratogenic effects:
Even one intrauterine exposure can have harmful effects. Thalidomide, for example, had catastrophic effects after brief exposure. When it comes to over-the-counter medications, some of them have unproven safety records or are known to affect the fetus. More than 80% of pregnant women take OTC or prescription drugs during pregnancy. Pain medications are widely consumed during pregnancy for relief of common aches and pains. A Danish study reported a direct link between the use of prescribed NSAIDS and miscarriages. Kaiser Permanente Medical also concluded the use of NSAIDS during pregnancy increased the risk of miscarriage by 80%, particularly when they were taken around the time of conception.
Categorized for risk during each trimester (1/2/3), this is a list of common analgesics used in pregnancy: Acetaminophen (B/B/B), Aspirin (D/D/D), Ibuprofen (B/B/D), Ketoprofen (B/B/D), and Naproxen (B/B/D). All of these drugs cross the placental barrier. Cold medicines, such as decongestants, expectorants, and antihistamines, may be unsafe during certain trimesters or their risk profile is unstudied.
Since most drugs taken while nursing are found in breast milk, all drugs and medications should be used carefully, conservatively and under medical supervision. The good news is that the concentration of the drugs in breast milk is low and the baby's exposure is less than what would be considered to be a therapeutic dose. If medication has to be taken while nursing, it is advisable to take the dose 30-60 minutes after nursing and 3-4 hours before the next feeding. This provides adequate time for the drugs to clear out of mother's blood, so the concentration in her breast milk will be minimal.
Pregnancy is a time of excitement and change. As the baby grows, mother's body adapts to the posture of pregnancy which can lead to aches and pains. Instead of reaching for that pill bottle, if she can, mom would be well-advised to pick up her phone and make an appointment with a qualified prenatal massage practitioner. So much safer and so much more pleasant.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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