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The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
What's Chiropractic Research Worth to You?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fundraising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Surprising Reasons for Orthotic Efficacy
Clinical outcome studies show orthotics are effective in the management of a wide range of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
Change Lives by Supporting Chiropractic Research: Are You In?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fund-raising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
Fish Oil: A Key Component of Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
Practicing with Authenticity
To extrapolate from the above quote, patients love healthcare providers they can trust. One way to earn the trust of your patients is by practicing with authenticity. What does that mean, exactly?
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
More Chiropractors Required
An intriguing study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine examines how "chiropractic care affects use of primary care physician (PCP) services."
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
June, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 06
Muscles as Team Players
By Erik Dalton, PhD
Synergistic dominance occurs as "helper" muscles are recruited to take over function when a "prime mover" muscle fails, much like when a football coach calls in the substitute players when a key player is injured.These synergistic stabilizing muscles are designed to help, but not be primary contributors, to a particular movement. Synergistic may be defined as "acting together to enhance the effect of another force." Therefore, if muscles perform the same task at a particular joint, they are termed synergistic.
Altered reciprocal inhibition occurs when a muscle is activated (the agonist), when it should not be. Excessive stress on the agonist decreases the signal strength to the opposing muscle (the antagonist). In altered reciprocal inhibition, the agonist muscle is being activated even though it is not actively contracting. Altered reciprocal inhibition is often the culprit causing synergistic dominance. For example, in forward-head postures, the client's suboccipitals are often maintained in a hypercontracted state as they battle gravity to keep the eyes level with the horizon. As the head cocks back and moves forward on the neck, the antagonist longus capitis muscles - which bind the anterior surface of the upper cervical vertebrae to the occipital base, become overstretched and weak (Figure 1).
Sensing the longus capitis muscles can no longer carry out their duty as primary head-on-neck flexors, the brain calls on the powerful sternocleidomastoids (SCMs) as pinch-hitters. The SCMs are reliable neck flexors when allowed to fire in proper order. However, they serve as poor subs for longus capitis due to their insertion at the mastoid process. When reciprocally weakened from suboccipital hypertonicity, longus capitis muscles give way to the powerful SCMs causing them to fire first in an effort to hold the head upright on the neck. But, instead of holding the head upright, the SCMs "extend" the head on the neck, causing a forward head posture. Neural and vascular structures embedded under the posterior O-A joint aren't happy with this excessive compression.
When the neck's normal firing-order sequence is disrupted, synergistic muscles begin pulling the head in different directions, sending torsional and compressive forces through the facet joints and intervertebral discs. This often results in chronic degenerative conditions such osteoarthritis (spurring), degenerative disc disease and ligamentous laxity. The client may come in complaining of migraines, radicular pain in the arms or thorax, or even an unsightly dowager's hump (Figure 2).
At some point, the brain may get "fed-up" with the flood of noxious mechanoreceptor and possibly chemoreceptor input, and decide to lock the area down with protective spasm. Of course, this may further alter the firing order pattern causing a pain-spasm-pain cycle that's often hard to break. The client's gait may reveal certain body parts that appear frozen in time, as chronically embedded compensations have caused the brain to sacrifice complexity of movement for stability. Fortunately, simple tests help determine if synergistic dominance exists at a particular joint.
Forward bending of the head and neck with the client in a supine position should initiate the following firing-order sequence: longus capitis, longus colli, SCMs and anterior scalenes. The deepest intrinsic muscles must fire first starting with longus capitis (flexing the head on the neck) followed closely by longus colli, which initiates the beginning of neck flexion. Anterior scalenes and SCMs can then join forces to produce smooth head-and-neck flexion.
The most commonly seen substitution pattern (SCMs, anterior scalenes, longus colli and longus capitis) causes the chin to reach toward the ceiling rather than tucking into the chest during the first two inches of flexion efforts (Figure 3).
The neck flexion test alerts the therapist as to which musculofascial tissues need lengthening and which must be strengthened. By performing the head-raise test before and after each neck session, aberrant substitution patterns can be easily identified and corrected. Tension-length imbalances are usually easy to fix once proper assessment is made. The technique demonstrated in Figure 4 is one of my favorites for treating adhesions and contractures in the SCM muscles and accompanying fascia. Please visit http://youtu.be/UmS2pPZIFnw as I perform the neck flexion test and SCM release.
Click here for previous articles by Erik Dalton, PhD.
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