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Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
June, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 06
Surgical Intervention Averted with CranioSacral Therapy
By John Matthew Upledger
Imagine going from a diagnosis for which brain surgery is recommended to a diagnosis of perfect health, all within a three-week period. That's what happened to one young man named Matt after receiving just two sessions of CranioSacral Therapy.At the time of treatment, Matt was 14-years-old and had been suffering from a category 9-10 headache for nine months. He had been to see several medical doctors, but none could determine the cause. Extensive testing provided only one conclusive finding: Matt's cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure was far too high.
The doctors gave Matt a diagnosis of pseudotumor cerebri, which basically means that his body was acting as if he had a brain tumor, but he really did not have one. Drugs had no effect. The only treatment that provided some relief was a spinal tap to draw off excess fluid. The procedure was repeated every two to three weeks with progressively diminishing results. The doctors were at a loss for what else to do. That's when they proposed brain surgery to insert a shunt to drain off the excess fluid. There was no assurance that this would help, however, since they still did not know what was causing the problem.
Good fortune intervened in Matt's life at this especially pivotal time. One of the nurses in the ICU where Matt received his spinal taps just happened to be a client of Tim Hutton, PhD, LMP, CST-D, a certified CranioSacral Therapy practitioner. Pulling Matt's mother aside, she suggested that Matt try CST before they resorted to surgery.
Problem Six Years In The Making
By Matt's first visit to CranioSacral Therapist Tim Hutton, he had endured 23 spinal taps along with 23 sedations with a general anesthetic. Tim recalled, "Matt had a horrendous headache; his low back felt like a pin cushion; and his liver and kidneys were struggling to detox all the drugs he had been given. Needless to say, he was not a happy camper." The first order of business was to assess Matt's craniosacral rhythm. What Tim discovered shocked him. There was no discernible rhythm anywhere. "It felt as if the craniosacral system did not even exist," Tim said. "I have never felt that on a client before or since."
Placing his hands on top of Matt's head, Tim felt his hand pulled strongly into Matt's left parietal. That's when Tim asked the pivotal question, "Did you ever hit your head?" The reply was yes. When Matt was 9-years-old he was riding his bicycle when he hit a rock and took a dive over the handle bars. The impact broke Matt's right arm and shattered the helmet he was wearing, directly over his left parietal. A possible connection had been made. This could be the source of Matt's headaches. Tim continued to follow the pull into Matt's jammed left parietal, assisting the bone to unlatch.
"This only took a couple of minutes," Tim said. "Once the parietal released, Matt immediately had good craniosacral rhythm throughout his body. I spent the rest of the session just encouraging things to move." When Matt returned a week later, Tim said, "Things were still moving, so I simply encouraged everything to move a bit further." Within three weeks of his first session of CranioSacral Therapy, Matt was headache free. As you can imagine, Matt's parents were more than a little curious to know what was going on in Matt's body. They scheduled an appointment at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, where Matt received a full medical work-up. After a thorough examination and testing, the doctors declared Matt to be in perfect health. There was no evidence to indicate any problem.
Key To Healing
From a CranioSacral Therapy point of view, Matt's headache is easy to understand. It is founded in the pressurestat model, a theory developed in the mid-1970s by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger with neurophysicist Ernst Retzlaff.
By design, cerebrospinal fluid is a filtrate of the blood. It is filtered out of the high-pressure arterial blood and reabsorbed into the venous system. Through their research, Dr. Upledger and Dr. Retzlaff discovered that the body controls CSF pressure by a mechanism called a pressurestat — a semi-closed hydraulic system with a regulated inflow and outflow — located within the craniosacral system. They theorized that within this environment, fluid reabsorption is constant while fluid production is intermittent.
When fluid production is occurring, the pressure in the skull rises, causing the skull to expand to a very small degree. This stretches the sagittal suture ever so slightly. When the pressure has risen to a certain level, stretch sensors within the suture send a signal to the brain to stop fluid production. Once the production stops, the pressure drops and the sagittal suture closes slightly. Because the CSF is constantly draining away, the pressure receptors eventually trigger the brain to resume fluid production. This entire process is repeated every 5 to 10 seconds.
During each cycle, only about 0.01 ml of fluid is produced. This slowly pushes the CSF through the system, replacing the entire fluid volume three or four times a day. As the fluid moves through the brain and spinal cord, it carries away metabolic waste from the tissue. If the fluid is prevented from doing this, a buildup of waste occurs in the tissue, ultimately resulting in inflammation.
When Matt hit his head, he jammed his sagittal suture, shutting down his pressurestat system. The signal to shut off fluid production was never sent, so the fluid production continued as long as it could. When the CSF pressure matched the arterial pressure, no more fluid could be produced, and the system shut down. The CSF became stagnant and there was a buildup of metabolic waste in the central nervous system, causing inflammation and ultimately Matt's headache. Once Matt's system was freed up and the fluid could move again, it took a few weeks for the body to eliminate all the waste. Once the waste was removed, the inflammation died down and Matt's headache went away.
Tim said, "The most fascinating thing about this case is that Matt hit his head when he was 9 years old, but his headache did not start until he was 14. His sagittal suture was jammed the entire time, but he obviously was able to get enough signal to run his pressurestat. Something happened when Matt was 14 that rendered his pressurestat incapable of compensating any longer." Tim suspects it was puberty — a process that is difficult under the best of circumstances!
"I believe that all of Matt's hormones got stirred up and his body was no longer able to maintain the pressurestat," Tim said. "To me, this one case provides strong evidence for the validity of the pressurestat theory." Matt's case is also a prime example of how our bodies hold tension from every trauma we have ever experienced. So long as we can compensate around those tensions there will be no symptoms. Only when we can no longer compensate do symptoms appear.
John Matthew Upledger is the CEO of Upledger Institute International. For 25 years, he has been actively engaged in all aspects of the organization — from education to clinical services. For more information about CranioSacral Therapy and other modalities offered for study through Upledger Institute International go to www.iahe.com.
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