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What They Don't Say Could Hurt You
I have written previously regarding the difficulties of drawing information from patients who are poor historians, forgetful or just plain uncooperative. The thought to revisit the topic occurred recently during preparation for an upcoming seminar.
Economics of Complementary/Integrative Care
Although this column doesn't usually feature a book review, we're going outside of our usual public health format to discuss a new book written by Patricia Herman ND, PhD.
Going Shoeless: The Pros & Cons of Barefoot Running
With the subculture of barefoot runners and the products catering to them growing daily, just about every chiropractor has been asked at one point or another about their opinion regarding barefoot running.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
Patient Perception and the Farce of "Fast Relief"; A Fly in the Ointment; Persecuted for Choosing to Practice Chiropractic.
What the Science Says About Magnesium Stearate
It's often been said that scientific studies can be used to support just about anything. But discoveries are never made one study at a time.
The Potter's Wheel: Reflections on Practicing in a Technology-Driven World
In my very early years of practice, an older patient named Cora would call me at home, usually late Sunday night after she had consumed an unknown quantity of beer.
Helping Patients Through Pregnancy Loss
There is a lot of focus in the acupuncture world on fertility and helping women get pregnant. It's exhilarating to hear the news that a patient is expecting a baby. The other side of that is pregnancy loss. That includes abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Research Abstracts From the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics
Effect of Pain Relief on Lumbar Muscle Function and Activation; Effects of Thrust Amplitude and Duration of HVLA Spinal Manipulation; Immediate Effects of Upper Thoracic Manipulation on Cardiovascular Response.
There Are No Secrets: Treating Complicated Conditions with TCM
Including standardized extra points, there are just over 400 acupuncture points on the body. You get 400 and I get 400 - same. Yet, time and time again treatment protocols are coveted as if they were some secret formula only intended for the right and privileged.
Side Effects From Big Pharma: Wellbutrin – Dangerous for You and Your Baby
Are some of your pregnant patients taking Wellbutrin? If so, it could be a danger to them and their baby. This drug is extremely popular, but it has a serious history.
A Building Block of Healthy Aging
Coenzyme Q10 has gained enormous attention in recent years, and with good reason —it's the Energizer Bunny of the cellular world.
Happenings in Our Evolving Profession
Good things seem to be happening for our profession and recent developments show we are all on board. Talking about being on board, this September The Veterans Express-Purple Heart Tour is expected to make its way out of the station.
Some Thoughts on the TMJ
The temporomandibular joint is an interesting and dynamic articulation that can cause a lot of problems.
Correcting Kid Logic in Health Care and Research Design
A recent broadcast on public radio described a fascinating phenomenon known as kid logic.
Helping Infertility Patients with the Spirit Essence
As many of you know, when it comes to treating infertility, we are dealing with a patient population that is, generally speaking, in emotional turmoil. These patients often experience fear, anxiety, despair, hopelessness, grief and anger.
You are What You Eat Part II: Integrative Protocols
In the previous installment of this article I discussed important ideas concerning gastrointestinal health and foundational ideas from TCM, which can provide key insights into creating effective protocols for healing the gut.
SOAP Notes: It's Time for a Cleaning
I have been planning for some time to write an article about how traditional SOAP notes do not fit chiropractic practice, and the unfairness of holding DCs to a model clearly created for and primarily applicable to medical physicians.
Herbal Medicine: Go Mainstream
When it comes to practicing herbal medicine in a mainstream setting, there are a number of important points to understand when it comes to prescribing formulas. Some important questions to ask are - what method of prescribing and dispensing is most effective in this setting?
News in Brief
Controversial Florida PIP Law Under Review; D'Youville Chiro. Students Learning Art of Co-Managing; And the Award Goes To...; F4CP Recognizes Major Contribution by ChiroTouch.
Peer Points: Stories of Practice Success
When patients go see Arizona-based acupuncturist Jing Liu, it is to get top care from an practitioner well versed in all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Have a Heart: Say No to Soda
It's not enough that soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to cavities and weight gain, among other negative health consequences.
Energy is a hot commodity. Society pays dearly for it and for the expertise of those who know how to cultivate it.
Medicine Presents: A Great Opportunity
The changing nature of health care presents both opportunities and challenges. While we tend to focus on our profession, we can sometimes forget the impact other health care professions can have on us.
Chiropractic: The Right Choice for Relieving LBP
"Low back pain (LBP) is a common threat to medicine and a reasonable threat to all national health care systems. ... Reducing ineffective treatments is necessary to decrease the LBP associated costs."
Are They Finally Fixing Medicare Reimbursement?
Even with federal sequestration cuts taking effect in March, including a 2 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement to health care providers, hope may be on the horizon in the form of a much-anticipated, perpetually suggested overhaul of Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which serves as the basis for determining physician reimbursement.
Why You Should Get to Know the National Vaccine Information Center
Barbara Loe Fisher has been a diligent advocate for providing parents with the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding the usage of vaccinations for their children.
Remembering Joe Weider (1920-2013)
With the death of Joe Weider, the world's most famous body-building visionary, crusader, fitness magazine publisher and icon, on March 23, 2013, chiropractic has lost one of its greatest friends and supporters.
Let's face it – patient evaluation takes time. Unless you are really into the diagnostic evaluation game, you probably have found the formal exam protocol tedious if not downright annoying.
Positional Release Self Care for Soreness and Other Pains
If your patients are anything like mine, they will report to you that there is commonly a degree of discomfort, soreness or stiffness a day or so following manual treatment no matter how gentle or appropriate that treatment might have been. As a result, I offer advice regarding home care of such problems, and I tend to repeat a mantra to most patients who have received treatment for musculoskeletal problems as they depart. I ask them to largely ignore any soreness they might feel the next day. I tell them that it is perfectly normal for there to be an adaptive reaction/response to treatment for a day or so of their knee, neck, or whatever focal point of distress brought them to see me and that it will probably not be until around 48 hours later that they will know whether today's treatment was helpful.
And of course, if your patient happens to have a chronically painful problem, it's highly likely that a degree of sensitization will have occurred, making their responses and reactions to treatment far less predictable and potentially excessive. For more on that subject please see my May 2011 article, "Understanding Central Sensitization"
How common are short-term adverse effects following manual therapy? Bronfort et al (2010), conducted a major review of the effectiveness of manual therapies and it also looked at negative effects: "Adverse events associated with manual treatment can be classified into two categories: 1) benign, minor or non-serious and 2) serious. Generally, those that are benign are transient, mild to moderate in intensity, have little effect on activities, and are short lasting. Most commonly, these involve pain or discomfort to the musculoskeletal system. Less commonly, nausea, dizziness or tiredness are reported."
Carnes et al (2010), also conducted a detailed review of the evidence relating to the safety and side-effects following use of manual therapy modalities and concluded that: "Nearly half of patients after manual therapy experience adverse events that are short-lived and minor; most will occur within 24 hours and resolve within 72 hours. The risk of major adverse events is very low, lower than that from taking medication."
Even in relation to muscle energy technique (MET), one of my favorite modalities because of its extreme versatile efficacy, gentleness and safety, there are commonly minor degrees of discomfort for a day or two following treatment, even when appropriately applied. Greenman (2003) has explained some of the processes leading to post-MET-treatment discomfort: "All muscle contractions influence surrounding fascia, connective tissue ground substance and interstitial fluids, and alter muscle physiology by reflex mechanisms. Fascial length and tone is altered by muscle contraction... The patient's muscle effort requires energy and the metabolic process of muscle contraction results in carbon dioxide, lactic acid and other metabolic waste products that must be transported and metabolized. It is for this reason that the patient will frequently experience some increase in muscle soreness within the first 12 to 36 hours following MET treatment. Muscle energy procedures provide safety for the patient since the activating force is intrinsic and the dosage can easily be controlled by the patient, but it must be remembered that this comes at a price. It is easy for the inexperienced practitioner to overdo these procedures and in essence to overdose the patient."
In other words, when correctly applied, MET will commonly lead to mild discomfort for several days, BUT, when incorrectly applied (contractions too strong, stretching too vigorous, etc.) more severe reactions may result and without the bonus of benefits that correct usage might offer! For more on muscle energy techniques, you can visit my web site, www.leonchaitow.com/muscle.htm.
Are there strategies that you might be able to teach patients to manage this adaptive stage? What else might you offer your patients as self-care for minor reactions to treatment? Depending on the specifics of the individual's problems, a number of options are available, ranging from simple hydrotherapy (hot and cold compresses, ice massage) to relaxation methods, self-stretching (if appropriate) and from my perspective the most potent self-care we can teach patients in pain is self-applied positional release.
Derived from osteopathy, Positional Release Technique (PRT), or that version of it known as Strain-Counterstrain (SCS), can relieve pain by relaxing tight (shortened) tissues and improving local circulation. Unlike massage and stretching, PRT is safe to apply even on damaged or inflamed tissues. If painfully shortened (hypertonic) soft tissues can be gently placed into a position in which they are made even shorter, pain is usually temporarily removed. If that "position of ease" is maintained for a minute or so, the tight, tense muscle (and often trigger points housed there) are likely to release and relax, sometimes permanently, but at least for a while with pain diminishing subsequently.
Try the following exercise, self-treatment of tense suboccipital muscles, and consider teaching it to patients as an example of this remarkable method of self-care. This is adapted from Chapter 5 of my book, Positional Release Techniques.
Patient instructions for suboccipital self-treatment using SCS:
General Guidelines For SCS Self-Care Of Pain Anywhere Else
If a painful point/local area is on the front of the body, bend forward to relieve it; the further it is to one side, the more you should slowly turn toward that side. If the point is on the back of your body, bend slightly backward until the pain reduces a little, then turn away from the side where you feel the pain, and "fine-tune" to release the discomfort. If the point is on a limb, try to shorten the relevant muscles (don't stretch them) by slowly moving the area to find the position in which the pain is most reduced. When there are many areas of pain it is often best to start with those nearer the head and nearer the middle of the body, using this extremely noninvasive and effective form of treatment.