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Melatonin: A Promising Natural Agent in the Prevention of ALS
A number of years ago, experimental studies suggested melatonin could block key steps in the development of Alzheimer's disease, primarily by acting as a brain antioxidant and inhibiting the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain.
Treat Every Patient as an Athlete
Frontal-plane movement pattern dysfunction can set the stage for musculoskeletal injury. Frontal-plane stabilization is essential during the normal activities of daily living: think single-leg stance and gait cycle.
Online Marketing Basics: Google Ranking, Part 1
We all know there is so much opportunity with online marketing. And, let's face it, if you don't have a presence online with a website and social media, you are probably not where you want to be.
Lower-Extremity Overuse Injuries: Primer on Causes and Corrections
From ankle sprains to stress fractures, shin splints to plantar fasciitis, the research is clear: These common overuse injuries of the lower extremities – among dozens of others – may be related to abnormal foot function in your patients.
Data: The New Frontier in Health Care
Your practice is empowered with the data you need to improve patient health, run a more efficient (read: profitable) practice, get paid in timely fashion and help show the efficacy of chiropractic on the national stage in the midst of sweeping changes in health care!
A War You Can Help Patients Win
The average American consumes approximately 60 percent of calories from sugar, flour and refined oils. A donut is a good example of a so-called "food" that represents these calorie sources.
ICD-10 Is Not Scary (and Not About Billing)
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Medicine as Metaphor
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The Integrative Medicine Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together
The conversation is changing in the broader healthcare community with patients actually moving the discussion toward more integrative topics. Patients today want to know their options.
Exploring and Learning from the Gift of Life
I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to teach cadaver dissection classes and workshops with Stephen Cina at the New England School of Acupuncture over the past seven years, first through the Sports Medicine Acupuncture Program and later as a NESA elective course.
Can Acupuncture Treat Knee Pain?
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Treating LBP in Golfers: Beyond Basic Assessment
The drive to master the most efficient swing demands a tremendous amount from the lower back. Maintaining stability in a flexed posture, supporting torso rotation and repetitively supporting the golf swing all put the lower back in a vulnerable position.
Making Public Health a Chiropractic Priority
As highlighted in this edition's News in Brief, Rand Baird, DC, MPH, FICA, FICC, editor and occasional author of our long-running column, "Chiropractic in the American Public Health Association", was recognized by the organization recently for 40 years of membership.
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Microneedling has taken the beauty world by storm over the last 10 years. Under the names dermaroller, microneedling or skin needling you will see these treatments listed in the services of nearly every fashionable beauty salon and day spa in the country.
The Art of Creating a Healing Space
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Our ideas about western medicine have shifted in recent decades, while the public is asking more from health care providers.
September, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 09
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
As the population of the country ages, massage practitioners should be aware of various diseases and conditions that are increasingly common in an older age group. One such condition is a connective tissue disorder that affects the palmar fascia of the hand, called Dupuytren's contracture.
The primary structure affected in Dupuytren's contracture is the palmar fascia (Figure 1). The fibers of the palmar fascia are arranged in different directions. However, it appears that the longitudinally-oriented fibers (ones parallel with the long tendons in the hand) are the ones most affected in this condition.
The palmar fascia is strongly tethered to the skin and underlying bone, unlike most of the sub-cutaneous fascia in other regions of the body. This tethering is to increase the strength of the fascia against tensile stresses between the skin, fascia, and bones that would have a tendency to pull the fascia free from its attachments. The skin and fascia of the hand are susceptible to this kind of problem because stresses occur on the soft tissues of the palm when grasping objects with strong force. These forces are significantly higher in the palm than in other areas of the body.
Dupuytren's contracture begins with a fibrous shortening of the longitudinal palmar fascia fibers. The pathological process that starts the contracture is still unclear. However, it appears to begin with a proliferation of fibroblasts, producing new collagen that forms into nodules and fibrous restrictions.
There are different types of collagen in the body. Type 1 collagen is most prevalent in tendons, ligaments and superficial fascia. Type 3 collagen is present in high concentrations in scar tissue. The fibrous nodules and collagen binding that occurs in Dupuytren's contracture is predominantly Type 3 collagen, which may be one of the reasons it is so difficult to stretch and elongate. As the collagen binding progresses, the fascia will further contract and draw the digits of the hand into a fixed flexion deformity (see Figure 2). The metacarpophalangeal (MCP) and proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints of the fourth and fifth digits are the ones most commonly affected.
There appears to be a strong genetic predisposition to development of Dupuytren's contracture. It is most common in people who are of northern European descent.1,2 While the condition does not appear directly related to traumatic incidents in the hand or forearm, there is some indication that some inciting disease or event may encourage development of the condition.
There are several other common factors in the symptom picture of people with Dupuytren's. It is far more common in men than in women and appears with greatest frequency for people in their 40s or 50s. The incidence of this pathology increases with smoking, alcoholism, diabetes, epilepsy or other convulsive disorders.
Information in the client history helps identify any of the risk factors mentioned above. If the condition is in the early stages, there may be some fibrous nodules that are palpable in the palm region, especially over the fourth and fifth digits. In many cases, the skin will pucker a bit in the region over the fibrous nodules. The surface of the palm is also likely to be tender to palpation.
If the condition is in an early stage, there will probably be some limitation to active as well as passive extension in the digits; the full flexion deformity, however, will not be evident. In later stages, the flexion deformity will be much more pronounced and the hand will appear more like the image in Figure 2.
Some pathologies in the hand may have similar symptoms. Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) may have movement restrictions and pain patterns similar to those in Dupuytren's contracture. However, with trigger finger you can usually force the digit into full extension, even if the action is a bit painful and the palmar nodules are usually not present.
In the early stages, massage and other forms of soft-tissue manipulation are far more likely to be helpful than in later and more advanced stages. The greatest benefits come from techniques such as deep longitudinal stripping, myofascial approaches, and vigorous regular stretching.
It is very helpful to teach the client an aggressive plan of self-stretching so the tissues can have the greatest opportunity to reduce the fibrous binding. Stretching the fingers and wrist in hyperextension is the motion to emphasize most.
Myofascial trigger points in the palmaris longus or other forearm muscles may contribute to either pain or movement restrictions that may exacerbate the fibrous restriction process.3 Therefore, when treating this problem, address the forearm muscles and any other soft tissues of the upper extremity that might also be contributing to further tension in the palmar fascia.
Other conservative treatment approaches may be used in physical or occupational therapy to address this condition. If these conservative approaches are not beneficial, surgery may be performed to reduce the restrictions of the fascia and restore proper range of motion in the hand.
Surgical treatment will most often include procedures such as a fasciotomy, involving a longitudinal incision following the course of the hand and finger tendons in order to free up any restriction between the fascia and its adjacent tissues. In other cases, a fasciectomy may be performed. This is a procedure in which a portion of the palmar fascia may be resected or removed in order to enhance mobility. This mobility can be further enhanced by a surgical incision called a Z-plasty. In this procedure, the incision looks like a zig-zag (Figure 3). Due to the disruptive nature of this procedure, there can be a long period of post-surgical healing. However, mobility is restored for most people who have this surgical procedure performed.
There may be some alternatives to the surgical procedure in advanced cases of contracture. Initial trials indicate that injection of collagenase (an enzyme that can encourage the breakdown of collagen) is helpful in reducing the fibrosity of Dupuytren's. However, further clinical trials are necessary to validate this theory.4
If addressed early in the development phase, massage is very helpful in addressing this complaint and may prevent it from becoming a more serious problem. If the condition has progressed further and surgery has become necessary, massage can still be valuable in the post-surgical phase. For example, the Z-plasty procedure runs the risk of scar tissue developing after the surgery. When sufficient time has passed, soft-tissue mobilization can be helpful to encourage free movement between the skin and adjacent fascia.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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