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Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
February, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 02
Positional Release Self Care for Soreness and Other Pains
By Leon Chaitow, ND, DO
If your patients are anything like mine, they will report to you that there is commonly a degree of discomfort, soreness or stiffness a day or so following manual treatment no matter how gentle or appropriate that treatment might have been.As a result, I offer advice regarding home care of such problems, and I tend to repeat a mantra to most patients who have received treatment for musculoskeletal problems as they depart. I ask them to largely ignore any soreness they might feel the next day. I tell them that it is perfectly normal for there to be an adaptive reaction/response to treatment for a day or so of their knee, neck, or whatever focal point of distress brought them to see me and that it will probably not be until around 48 hours later that they will know whether today's treatment was helpful.
And of course, if your patient happens to have a chronically painful problem, it's highly likely that a degree of sensitization will have occurred, making their responses and reactions to treatment far less predictable and potentially excessive. For more on that subject please see my May 2011 article, "Understanding Central Sensitization"
How common are short-term adverse effects following manual therapy? Bronfort et al (2010), conducted a major review of the effectiveness of manual therapies and it also looked at negative effects: "Adverse events associated with manual treatment can be classified into two categories: 1) benign, minor or non-serious and 2) serious. Generally, those that are benign are transient, mild to moderate in intensity, have little effect on activities, and are short lasting. Most commonly, these involve pain or discomfort to the musculoskeletal system. Less commonly, nausea, dizziness or tiredness are reported."
Carnes et al (2010), also conducted a detailed review of the evidence relating to the safety and side-effects following use of manual therapy modalities and concluded that: "Nearly half of patients after manual therapy experience adverse events that are short-lived and minor; most will occur within 24 hours and resolve within 72 hours. The risk of major adverse events is very low, lower than that from taking medication."
Even in relation to muscle energy technique (MET), one of my favorite modalities because of its extreme versatile efficacy, gentleness and safety, there are commonly minor degrees of discomfort for a day or two following treatment, even when appropriately applied. Greenman (2003) has explained some of the processes leading to post-MET-treatment discomfort: "All muscle contractions influence surrounding fascia, connective tissue ground substance and interstitial fluids, and alter muscle physiology by reflex mechanisms. Fascial length and tone is altered by muscle contraction... The patient's muscle effort requires energy and the metabolic process of muscle contraction results in carbon dioxide, lactic acid and other metabolic waste products that must be transported and metabolized. It is for this reason that the patient will frequently experience some increase in muscle soreness within the first 12 to 36 hours following MET treatment. Muscle energy procedures provide safety for the patient since the activating force is intrinsic and the dosage can easily be controlled by the patient, but it must be remembered that this comes at a price. It is easy for the inexperienced practitioner to overdo these procedures and in essence to overdose the patient."
In other words, when correctly applied, MET will commonly lead to mild discomfort for several days, BUT, when incorrectly applied (contractions too strong, stretching too vigorous, etc.) more severe reactions may result and without the bonus of benefits that correct usage might offer! For more on muscle energy techniques, you can visit my web site, www.leonchaitow.com/muscle.htm.
Are there strategies that you might be able to teach patients to manage this adaptive stage? What else might you offer your patients as self-care for minor reactions to treatment? Depending on the specifics of the individual's problems, a number of options are available, ranging from simple hydrotherapy (hot and cold compresses, ice massage) to relaxation methods, self-stretching (if appropriate) and from my perspective the most potent self-care we can teach patients in pain is self-applied positional release.
Derived from osteopathy, Positional Release Technique (PRT), or that version of it known as Strain-Counterstrain (SCS), can relieve pain by relaxing tight (shortened) tissues and improving local circulation. Unlike massage and stretching, PRT is safe to apply even on damaged or inflamed tissues. If painfully shortened (hypertonic) soft tissues can be gently placed into a position in which they are made even shorter, pain is usually temporarily removed. If that "position of ease" is maintained for a minute or so, the tight, tense muscle (and often trigger points housed there) are likely to release and relax, sometimes permanently, but at least for a while with pain diminishing subsequently.
Try the following exercise, self-treatment of tense suboccipital muscles, and consider teaching it to patients as an example of this remarkable method of self-care. This is adapted from Chapter 5 of my book, Positional Release Techniques.
Patient instructions for suboccipital self-treatment using SCS:
General Guidelines For SCS Self-Care Of Pain Anywhere Else
If a painful point/local area is on the front of the body, bend forward to relieve it; the further it is to one side, the more you should slowly turn toward that side. If the point is on the back of your body, bend slightly backward until the pain reduces a little, then turn away from the side where you feel the pain, and "fine-tune" to release the discomfort. If the point is on a limb, try to shorten the relevant muscles (don't stretch them) by slowly moving the area to find the position in which the pain is most reduced. When there are many areas of pain it is often best to start with those nearer the head and nearer the middle of the body, using this extremely noninvasive and effective form of treatment.
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