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Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
January, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 01
Positional Release Techniques: What are the Mechanisms?
By Leon Chaitow, ND, DO
At its simplest, positional release techniques as used in manual therapy settings, involve the unloading of tissues, placing them into less-stressed, "ease" positions. In such a comfort state, a number of beneficial changes may emerge including reduced pain perception and reduced inflammation,15 greater local muscular strength, reduced fascial stiffness,1,2 reduced pain-medication use and number of days of hospitalization, as well as enhanced peripheral circulation, post-surgically.11
There are four main forms of PRT methods:3
The benefits of reduced stimulation, applied to the whole body may help us to understand the effects of PRT. For example, time spent in a flotation tank, immersed in neutral temperature water, of high salt concentration to increase buoyancy - described as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) – reduces anxiety, depression and pain in individuals suffering chronic pain.
In 2001, Kjellgren et al, described 37 patients suffering from chronic pain who were randomly assigned to either a control group (17) or an experimental group (20) who received nine REST treatments over a 3-week period. The most severe pain intensity was significantly reduced, but low perceived pain intensity was not influenced. REST treatment elevated optimism, reduced the degree of anxiety or depression, and improved sleep.
In another study, Edebol et al (2008) reported the benefits of the REST method in the management of the chronic effects of whiplash injuries. And of course, relaxation, mindfulness, meditation approaches – are all known to be useful as means of reducing general over-sensitive states, whether mental, or physical. Here are some suggested mechanisms for manually induced stimulus reduction.
Neurolophysiological changes might involve muscle, fascial and joint mechanoreceptors (e.g. Ruffini corpuscles, Golgi tendon organs, muscle spindles),10 as well as pain receptors. To explore the role of muscle spindles, and the hypothesis that sensitivity of the deep tendon stretch reflex contributes to range-of-motion restrictions, Howell et al. (2006) measured stretch and H-reflex latency and amplitude before and after strain counterstrain treatment. The results suggest that SCS affected the sensitivity of the muscle spindle, thought to be heightened by the existence of tendonitis.
Proprioceptive theory is probably the most commonly discussed explanation for the efficacy of SCS. It is suggested that when a disturbed relationship exists between muscles and their antagonists, following strain, the positioning of these tissues into an unloaded, ease, position, may allow spindle resetting and partial or total resolution of inappropriate motor impairment.9
Mechanotransduction: Altered fibroblast responses resulting from changes in the shape and architecture of cells through mechanotransduction can be anti-inflammatory. Meltzer et al.14, observed that traumatized fascia disrupts the normal functions of the body, causing myofascial pain and reducing ranges of motion. Resulting inflammatory responses - involving fibroblasts - can be reversed in as little as 60 seconds by changes in load on the tissues, delivered either by counterstrain or myofascial release. In 2007, Standley & Meltzer observed that "fibroblast proliferation and expression/secretion of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory interleukins may contribute to the clinical efficacy of indirect osteopathic manipulative techniques..." such as SCS. Standley and Meltzer (2008) also reported that "it is clear that strain direction, frequency and duration, impact important fibroblast physiological functions known to mediate pain, inflammation and range of motion."
Ligamentous reflexes: Solomonow13 identified the sensory potential and major ligamento-muscular reflexes that have inhibitory effects on associated muscles. He states, "If you apply only 60 to 90 seconds of relaxing compression on a joint... an hour+ of relaxation of muscles may result. This may come not only from ligaments, but also from capsules and tendon" (personal communication 2009). A possible clinical application of this ligamentous feature may be seen when joint "crowding" is induced as part of Facilitated Positional Release and/or SCS protocols. Such effects would be temporary – 20 to 30 minutes – but this would be sufficient time to allow an enhanced ability to mobilize or exercise previously restricted structures.
Wong16 summarizes current thinking regarding ligamento-muscular reflexes and SCS: Ligamentous strain inhibits muscle contractions that increase strain, or stimulates muscles that reduce strain, to protect the ligament.7 For instance, anterior cruciate ligament strain inhibits quadriceps and stimulates hamstring contractions to reduce anterior tibial distraction.7
Hydration: Crowding (compression) of soft tissues – as used in SCS and Facilitated Positional Release (FPR), has an effect on the water content of fascia, leading to temporary (20 to 30 minutes) of reduced stiffness of fascial structures – with the potential for enhanced mobility during that period. This window of opportunity can be usefully employed to enhance function and for the individual to experience less painful movement.
Hysteresis: In a study at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (Barnes 2012), 240 subjects were palpated for cervical articular somatic dysfunction. This was followed by use of a durometer to objectively measure soft-tissues overlying each cervical segment pre- and post-intervention, using a single consistent piezoelectric impulse, quantifying hysteresis (tissue stiffness/densification). Various soft-tissue techniques, including SCS, myofascial release, muscle energy technique and high velocity manipulation were tested. The results showed that all methods - but not the sham intervention - improved symptoms and stiffness of tissues but that SCS resulted in the most significant beneficil changes.
To what degree all, or any, of these mechanisms are operating during application of PRT in general, and StrainCounterstrain (SCS) in particular, remains to be more definitively established. Meanwhile positional release methods are among the safest and most effective ways of easing painful symptoms and inducing a healing response.3
Click here for more information about Leon Chaitow, ND, DO.
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