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Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
June, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 06
Adventitious Tissue Structures of Elevated Tissue Density
By Linda LePelley, RN, NMT
A 12-year-old boy was brought into my clinic complaining of pain in his right heel, which impaired his ability to participate in sports, even to walk normally. His doctor, having x-rayed it, diagnosed a bone spur, explaining that the pain may or may not resolve on its own and it could be surgically removed if it continued to bother him.The boy's mother had heard I'd helped a friend with a similar problem so she wanted to see if I could help her son with the pain until something could be done about the bone spur. A hard nodule the size of a pea was palpable on his right heel.
A mechanic came in complaining of right-sided upper back pain, with trouble raising his right arm. I found a large mass of dense tissue, approximately 9 cm long, 4-5 cm wide, with an approximate depth from 1 cm at the outer borders, to 3 cm deep at its center. Its presence, at the medial border of the scapula, involved all of the musculature at that region, and prevented full range of motion. Palpation indicated it was ensconced all the way through to the bones of the ribs.
A 65-year-old woman presented with severe low back pain. She stated that she had never had any problems with her back until several days earlier. She had driven for 6 hours to visit her daughter, stopping only for fuel and then going directly to bed once she had reached her destination. The following morning she awoke to find herself barely able to walk without grimacing and crying out in extreme pain. Upon palpation, I found a large, rubbery, firm area the approximate size and shape of a 5 x 3 cm oblong pancake, 2 cm deep, engulfing her right sciatic nerve and the tissues around it.
A friend showed me her left wrist where, over the period of just a few months, a knot had formed on the radius, proximal to the scaphoid bone. Her doctor had told her it was arthritis, and her sister told her that she had suffered the same thing on her wrist, and had it surgically removed – suggesting my friend should do the same. My friend was no longer able to wear her watch, due to tightness and irritation. The knot felt just as if it was solid bone.
What these seemingly unrelated conditions have in common with each other is that they all involve the formation of a new tissue structure. I refer to these tissue structures as "Adventitious" because they are extraneous and they do not belong where they occur. And while they are likely the result of a body's attempt to maintain homeostasis; their development often results in pain and dysfunction. In my previous article, "Tissue Density's Relationship to Pain and Dysfunction", from the April 2012 issue, I wrote as follows: "My thoughts regarding the etiology of elevated TD involve the lipid-rich components of our extracellular fluids, which I believe are attracted to the bio-polymeric nature of our cartilaginous tissues. This attraction, combined with a variety of dynamic factors, including body heat, compressive force, overuse, injury, hypo-hydration, torsion, sheer force, tensile force, inertia, chemical environment and fluid viscosity may cause the extracellular fluid to accumulate, thicken and eventually precipitate into gelatinous plaque. Over time, I believe that these plaques harden and become mineralized, turning into the rubbery nodules or bone-like overgrowth of arthritic joints, as well as contributing to many other conditions. The plaque may be as thin as a sheet of a single layer of fascia cells or it can form a large area of many tissue layers sandwiched together, such as those found over arthritic hip joints and the thick, tender pads which so often develop at the medial aspect of knees." (I suspect that the main component of this conglomeration is cholesterol.)
Elevated Tissue Density (TD) is, in my opinion, the first sign of adventitious tissue structure formation. It seems to continue to increase in size and hardness over time. I wouldn't characterize it as "growth," but as an accumulation. Tissue Density Restoration (TDR) massage is an effective way to prevent and reverse this condition. In most of the examples above, the structures were stable, easy to isolate, and not too difficult to resolve.
In the case of the mother who spent several hours driving, the problem was a little more complex. An adventitious tissue structure had formed and become dense at her sciatic nerve area. Because it had not impeded movement or caused her pain, she was unaware of its existence. Over time, it continued to accumulate and condense, holding the nerve firmly in place until, that is, it shifted. When my client spent several hours driving, with her right leg extended to the gas pedal, enough heat was created in the affected area to slightly melt the outer layer of the adventitious structure. She then went to bed, sleeping in a side-lying position. During the night, her tissues resumed their normal temperature and the structure re-hardened, but now it was in a slightly different position. While the structure maintained its solid grip on the nerve, it had shifted, pulling the sciatic nerve painfully out of place.
Adventitious tissue structures can form sharp points, such as the bone spur on the young man's heel; large, immobile, lumpy barriers to free movement, as found in the mechanic's back; unstable, shifting bodies such as the one experienced by the traveling mother; and some so smooth and solid one would easily believe that it was simply a large, bony prominence. Fortunately, these affected tissues can often be restored to normal density and function through the proper application of TDR massage, as happened with each of the examples listed above.
A client who has rheumatoid arthritis complained of pain in her right ankle, stating that she had erosion in an ankle bone, as explained to her by her physician, and evidenced by x-ray. She brought her x-ray in. It occurred to me that perhaps the eroded area might actually be an adventitious tissue structure, formed over the bone, which had then melted in one spot (due to the heat of RA inflammation), leaving the appearance of erosion. I applied TDR massage, relieving her pain. Our hope was to then have the ankle x-rayed again for comparison; however the health care provider was not interested in exploring the matter. Whatever the actual etiology may have been, almost a year later, the client has not suffered pain in that ankle since.
I surmise that the reason elevated TD and these adventitious tissue formations have been overlooked, is due to the fact that they are largely invisible to diagnostic imaging. They are, however, palpable and once located, treatable through the proper application of massage. Massage therapists have the ability to resolve a great deal of human suffering, literally, within their grasp.
Linda LePelley, RN, NMT is a registered nurse and licensed massage therapist with 19 years of clinical massage experience. She developed Tissue Density Restoration (TDR) Massage, an effective treatment for the pain found in hyper-dense tissues. For more information, visit www.MyHealingHands.com.
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