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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.
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.
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?
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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?
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?
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."
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
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.
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.
November, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 11
Examining the Anterior Pelvic Tilt
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
We are all aware that posture or body position plays an important, if not crucial, role in the healthy function of our musculoskeletal system. Some types of compromised or dysfunctional posture are easy to evaluate.Elevated shoulders or forward head posture, for example, are frequently cited as key components of upper back, neck and headache pain.
Pelvic alignment is frequently noted as a key factor in many soft-tissue disorders as well. Yet determining ideal pelvic alignment is challenging and there is often misinformation about what actually produces pelvic misalignment. Let's take a closer look at specific biomechanical characteristics of pelvic alignment and their importance in constructing an appropriate treatment plan.
Pelvic Tilts Defined
The most common pelvic misalignments are referred to as pelvic tilts. There are three types of pelvic tilt: anterior, posterior and lateral. This article takes a detailed look at the anterior pelvic tilt, and explores key principles of how they develop, common misunderstandings and treatment considerations.
Let's clarify some anatomical and biomechanical principles first. The pelvis is composed of two halves which join anteriorly at the pubic symphysis and posteriorly at the sacroiliac joint on each side. Each half of the pelvis is also referred to as an innominate bone (consisting of ilium, ischium and pubis). Each innominate moves independently of the other, although most frequently we see pelvic misalignments involving the two innominates moving together. For our purposes in this article, assume that both innominates are moving together.
Each of the pelvic tilts involve rotary motion whereby one bone is rotating around an axis point of another. A simple analogy is a pinwheel which rotates around a point at the center of the pinwheel. The point at the center of the pinwheel is called the axis of rotation (Figure 1). It is crucial to understand the anatomical axis of rotation for pelvic tilts, because this is one of the key factors that leads to common misunderstandings about how a pelvic tilt functions biomechanically.
In an anterior tilt, the pelvis tips downward in an anterior direction so the pubic symphysis moves inferiorly (Figure 2). A common misconception about the anterior pelvic tilt is that the axis of rotation is at the sacroiliac joint. There is only a minor degree of movement capable at the sacroiliac joint and not enough to provide significant rotary motion. The actual axis of rotation for anterior pelvic tilt is at the iliofemoral (hip) joint.
An anterior pelvic tilt is most commonly caused by the combined actions of muscles on opposite sides of the body which act together to create the dysfunction. Tightness in the iliopsoas and rectus femoris (hip flexor) muscles combined with tightness in the erector spinae, multifidus and quadratus lumborum (back extensor) muscles produce the anterior tilt. These muscles act like a force couple to produce the anterior rotation (Figure 3).
The anterior pelvic tilt simultaneously creates an exaggerated lumbar lordosis. Many individuals with this postural distortion are told they have weak abdominal muscles and need to focus on strengthening exercises to offset the postural distortion. However, if the underlying muscular dysfunction of the hip flexors and low back extensors is not addressed, strengthening exercises of the abdominal muscles will have little benefit.
There are other detrimental effects that result from the anterior pelvic tilt. When the lumbar lordosis is increased, there are greater compressive loads on the posterior vertebral arch structures. The increasing compressive loads on these posterior vertebral structures can lead to facet joint irritation, stress fractures in the vertebrae, increased disc pressure and early disc degeneration.
Unfortunately, there is no highly reliable method for determining the presence of an anterior pelvic tilt and, if present, how severe it is. The lack of a reliable method for identifying this postural dysfunction has led to a number of erroneous theories and misconceptions about causes and treatment. Let's take a look at one of the more common erroneous theories.
It is a common misconception that an apparent leg-length discrepancy is caused by one innominate being excessively anteriorly rotated and "pushing" the lower extremity of that side in an inferior direction. If you envision a person supine on the treatment table, it's easy to see how one might come to that theory. If the innominate on the right side is anteriorly rotated, it seems that it might push the right lower extremity in an inferior direction and produce an apparent leg-length discrepancy.
The problem with this theory is that it discounts two key issues: the axis of rotation at the hip joint and the difference between pelvic movement in weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing positions.
Because the axis of rotation for an anterior pelvic tilt is at the hip joint, the pelvis rotates around the hip and therefore does not push the lower extremity in an inferior direction. Just as we would not expect the pinwheel to push its stem farther from the center, rotary movement around an axis does not cause the stem (lower extremity in our case) to be pushed inferiorly (Figure 4).
The assumption that an anterior pelvic tilt would push the lower extremity inferiorly also discounts the fact that when you are standing on the lower extremity, the pelvis physically cannot push the leg down. Instead, the pelvis rotates around the hip joint. A leg length discrepancy which is caused by muscle imbalance is far more likely to result from tightness in the quadratus lumborum muscle which pulls one side of the pelvis (right or left) higher. We will explore the ramifications of lateral pelvic tilt in another article.
The reason it is important to accurately understand the causes for these postural distortions is that our perception of their cause directs our treatment. A focus on the iliopsoas muscle as the primary cause for an apparent leg-length discrepancy would be unsuccessful when the true source of the problem is the quadratus lumborum.
In most cases, the anterior pelvic tilt is produced by dysfunctional muscular mechanics. Treatment should focus on reducing hypertonicity in the lumbar extensors and hip flexors. However, any treatment that reduces tightness in these muscles is unlikely to be successful by itself. Postural retraining is almost always an essential component to ensure that the same dysfunctional patterns are not repeated and re-engaged immediately after treatment.
Pelvic biomechanics can be challenging to accurately identify, but a fundamental awareness of these anatomical and biomechanical principles will help direct treatment in the right direction so the most beneficial results may be achieved.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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