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Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
February, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 02
Giving a Big Thumbs Up for Healthy Thumbs
By Judith DeLany, LMT
The thumb is one of the most practical and necessary implements of the body. It is the first self-comforting tool to be used, often seen thrust into the mouth of a fetus in the womb. Throughout life, the thumb is constantly used without conscious thought, making it easy to forget just how vital the thumb is in daily life. That is, until it is injured.
Imagine holding a glass of water without a thumb, or pulling up your pants, writing with a pencil or using a paintbrush. Although those who are thumb-challenged can usually improvise, one can readily experience the difficulties by simply duct-taping the thumbs to the palms for a day.
The thumb pad is richly endowed with sensory receptors and is associated with more brain receptors for receiving information than most other body parts. This makes the thumb a particularly useful palpation tool. While articles abound excluding the use of the thumb in massage, this article offers insights as to how to protect the thumb in order to use it for a lifetime.
Anatomy of the Thumb
The osteo-articular column of the thumb is comprised of five bones – scaphoid, trapezium, first metacarpal and two phalanges. The four joints within the column allow for flexion–extension, abduction–adduction, rotation and circumduction of the thumb. Only a ball and socket joint offers more range than the saddle joint of the thumb, which permits angular motion in almost any plane. Because the thumb is attached more proximally than the fingers, it also offers the hand an inherent architectural advantage, particularly in grasping, opposition and apposition.
In contrast to its profound mobility, the thumb can also be used as a solid structure for compression of myofascial tissues. As a solo instrument, the columnar thumb can statically compress muscle fibers into underlying tissues. In conjunction with the other digits (particularly the index and ring fingers), it can be used to grasp the tissues and to apply pincer compression (like a C-clamp), flat compression (like a clothes pin) and manipulation (the international hand signal for money). Each of these techniques offers ample opportunity to assess the tissues and also a standing opportunity for injury, repetitive strain and subsequent dysfunction of the thumb joints.
While the thumb is undoubtedly a useful tool in massage therapy, it can be misused and abused by poor mechanical habits. Gliding strokes applied with thumbs placed side-by-side (ulnar surfaces touching) project pressure through the osteo-articular column and onto the joint surfaces in a manner that is protective of the ligaments. However, gliding strokes applied with the thumbs touching tip-to-tip produce valgus forces on the thumb joints and can lead to a slow, insidious stretching of the thumb's ulnar ligaments.
Skier's thumb (also known as gamekeeper's thumb) develops due to a sprain or strain of the (usually strong) ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpophalangeal joint. This may result in instability and weakness of the thumb, painful joints and, ultimately, arthritis and joint deterioration. This type of injury can happen abruptly, such as when falling onto the outstretched hand (particularly if gripping something, like a ski pole), or it can occur over time due to chronic repetitive stretching of the ligament, as occurs with poor biomechanics when performing massage.
Following an abrupt injury, the thumb may swell and be bruised, however, sometimes pain may not occur until a day or two later, or even over a period of weeks. When ligaments are torn, surgical repair may be necessary or treatment might consist of splinting or casting and rest. Exercises might be required to regain range of motion, although it may take weeks or even months for complete range and strength to be restored. This type of injury is usually more tangible than the similar results that occur with a repetitive overstretching of the ligaments through poor habits of use. Nevertheless, their outcomes may be similar, with painful loss of function being the ultimate consequence.
Besides sprains associated with falls and poor thumb mechanics, thumb dysfunction can also stem from hitting with clenched fist, bowling (which can also produce neural damage to the digital nerve from the edge of the hole of the ball) and chronic strains associated with excessive use when texting and playing video games. The following tips may be useful in preventing injury.
Judith DeLany serves as director of NMT Center, writes textbooks for Elsevier Health Sciences, and lectures internationally in the field of neuromuscular therapy. For more information regarding her work, visit www.nmtcenter.com or call toll-free at (866) 571-7942.
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