resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
August, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 08
A New Model for Low Back Pain and Dysfunction
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
In my 33 years of clinical experience, it has been my observation that chronic low back pain and spinal dysfunction are one of the most prevalent contributors to human suffering and reduced quality of life. I was truly surprised when my research discovered that 95% of all spinal surgeries occur at L4-5 and L5-S1.1
So, how might we enhance our capacity as massage therapists and bodyworkers to assist people with these ailments? One way is to have an expanded and clearer understanding of the anatomical variables that have clinically shown themselves to be related to the persistence of these problems. Let's explore a few of the anatomical relationships that are structurally and physiologically related to low back function. The understanding of these relationships have assisted me in helping many.
In 1987, Dr. Jean-Pierre Barral, DO and Frank Lowen, LMT, an amazing anatomical artist, detailed that the mesenteric root suspends the small intestine from two lumbar vertebrae: the anterior bodies of L2, the disc between and L3.2 If the balanced suspension of the small intestine is spasmed, might this mean that the 20 to 25 feet of the small intestine could be a variable influencing the chronic nature of low back dysfunction?
A year earlier, in my first muscle energy technique course with Dr. Richard MacDonald, DO, he proposed two exceptionally useful concepts of how biomechanics function in the human body. First, that the feet, ankles, knees and hips are all designed to carry weight. Secondly, that from the SI joints on up through the kinetic chain of the axial skeleton, the transfer of weight is designed to go through the joint spaces of the respective facet joints in the cross-crawl pattern of walking, "without loading the bones or their discs." Thus, these facet joints were theorized to function as a relay team, passing the baton of force through their respective joints spaces, thereby creating momentum and decreasing effort after the first few steps of forward motion.
However, in the presence of spinal motion dysfunctions affecting this baton hand-off, the forces of standing and movement shift from being channeled through the joint spaces and instead become "load bearing" especially to the lumbar vertebrae and the sacrum. This osteopathic theory also suggests that such shifts add compression to the discs and distorts the motions of the facet relationships, often compressing the exiting spinal nerves. Could this be a factor in the frequency of sciatica with its nerve roots beginning at L3 with contributions from L4, 5 and S1?
Over the course of my early clinical practice, the understanding and practical application of these concepts had served me very well for many years. Then, another important clinical discovery occurred that broadened the scope and depth of my understanding of how low back dysfunction occurs and so often becomes a chronic problem.
One day in 1996, an 11-month-old infant was brought to the physical therapy clinic where I was working in Eastern Ohio. The presenting problem was that an infant was developmentally beyond the time when humans naturally begin to crawl. As the infant had a deformed head, neurological reasons were suspected as the reason. After a thorough examination by the head PT, I was asked to evaluate the infant boy and after checking his GI track and palpating his iliopsoas muscles, I was holding his knees and feeling through his femurs into his hip sockets and suddenly there was an audible sound that was a cross between serial clicks and multiple soft pops. My brain flashed an amazing number of sensory pictures through my hands into my visual cortex and I turned to the head PT and softly said, "I wonder if this little boy's femoral heads just recaptured their sockets?"
Three days later, his mother called the office with great excitement that her son was crawling "up a storm" and was actually trying to walk. My subsequent clinical experience has correlated the prevalence of posterior subluxation(s) of the hip and the anterior subluxation of the shoulder joints. A recent article in my Massage Today column describes these in more detail.3 However, in summary, the principle is that when one or both hips sublux, the weight bearing and the transfer of the forces of standing and movement are shifted to the SI joints and the lower lumbar segments.
My clinical experience suggests that low back pain and dysfunction often follow. Shoulder subluxations may also participate in perpetuating such dysfunctions via the latissimus dorsi myofascial fibers.4 Now consider that the mesenteric root of the small intestine has become taut for many possible gastrointestinal reasons including chronic stress. Further, consider that the ability of L3 and then L2 is unable to make the baton pass of the forces of standing and movement up the kinetic chain. Which lumbar segments are going to carry the load? The answer is almost invariably L3, L4, 5 and S1. Maybe it is not a surprise that the discs of these segments and especially that of L4-5 and L5-S1 discs so frequently bulges or herniates.
Another revealing anatomical caveat from Dr. MacDonald's functional anatomy courses was that for women, the iliolumbar ligament extends from the posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS) to L5 and L4 whereas, for most men, it connects only to L5. You can reflect on the clinical frequency of occurrence between men and women presenting with an obvious low back side shear pattern. My experience is clearly more males than females.
So, please stop and consider how often this pattern may have exhibited itself in your clients. Unstable support from below... and a blocked ability to distribute the forces of standing and movement along the full length of the axial skeleton... concentrates these forces to bounce back down toward the most common segments associated in low back pain and dysfunction episodes... L3-4-5-S1.
A key concept of the Inside-Out Paradigm is that distribution of forces is an essential component of understanding how the body balances itself in response to traumatic mechanical distortions and in response to neurological viscero-somatic reflex arcs which use the spinal cord to express their distress and/or the onset of pathological changes. Many models of evaluation and treatment imagine that the human body is a system of guy-wires. My clinical experience suggests that many more variables need to be considered as outlined in this article. No model is complete, including this one.
Click here for more information about Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.