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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
Patient Perception and the Farce of "Fast Relief"; A Fly in the Ointment; Persecuted for Choosing to Practice Chiropractic.
Correcting Kid Logic in Health Care and Research Design
A recent broadcast on public radio described a fascinating phenomenon known as kid logic.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Some Thoughts on the TMJ
The temporomandibular joint is an interesting and dynamic articulation that can cause a lot of problems.
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.
The Spirits of the Points: The Gall Bladder Official
The Gall Bladder is known as The Official of Decision Making and Judgment. In any given day, this Official makes countless decisions – conscious and unconscious, which influence every aspect of our being.
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.
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.
The Journey to Find the Cause of a Pain in the Butt
I hope that title caught your attention because I like to get you questioning and thinking before we begin. I'm going to be talking about a possibly new term I may have just coined: sports butt. The definition is a non-specific condition that might be known as a royal pain in the Assumption. This is what I encountered recently when working with a gentleman that had pin point pain located at the ischial tuberosity, with some radiation of pain from time to time down the back of the leg and occasional groin pain.
The client is an avid walker of 4-5 miles per day, post runner and 73 years old. He presented with pain on sitting, pain on walking when his heel struck the ground, pain on straight leg raise, and pain that was chronic located in one circular area at the hamstring origin and lower hip rotator region. In addition, he had a medical diagnosis of spinal stenosis by x-ray results. He cannot have an MRI because of his pace maker. The unresolved pain sent me on this journey to find out everything there is to know about what causes a pain in the butt. So, I invite you on this journey with me to learn the many reasons behind a pain in the bum.
The Many Names Of Sports Butt
The names and definitions vary, but here are some of my favorites. In the Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction The Trigger Point Manual, you get the term "Chair-seat Victims." Think of the activity of cycling.
Another of my favorites is "Yoga Butt," a term for a range of symptoms frequently experienced in Ashtanga and other forms of Vinyasa or Power yoga. This is typically blamed on the over stretching of the hamstring.
"Weavers Bottom" is inflammation of the bursa that separates the gluteus maximus muscle of the buttocks from the underlying bony prominence of the bone that a person sits on (ischial tuberosity). Weaver's bottom is a form of bursitis that is usually caused by prolonged sitting on hard surfaces. Also known as ischial bursitis.
"Ischial tuberosity pain" is the point of origin of the adductor and hamstring muscles, as well as the sacrotuberous ligaments. The forceful pull of these muscles can happen during a variety of sports, as a result of a trauma, such as a fall or other type of injury, or through the overuse of the hamstrings, as in the case of my client an avid walker/post runner.
"Piriformis Syndrome" is another common term. The piriformis muscle is responsible for the symptoms of the piriformis syndrome and is a "double devil" because it causes as much distress by nerve entrapment as it does by projection pain from trigger points.
"Ischiofemoral Impingement" is when the lesser trochanter of the upper femur is impinging on the ischial tuberosity. The quadratus femoris muscle, which is near the piriformis deep under the gluteus maximus, is often irritated in this syndrome. An MRI is the best study of this condition which will show the measurements of the left/right distances from the lesser trochanter to the ischial tuberosity.
"Sciatica" is perhaps the most well known and its symptoms include pain that begins in your back or buttock and moves down your leg and may move into your foot. Weakness, tingling or numbness in the leg may also occur. The most common cause of sciatica is a bulging or ruptured disc in the spine pressing against the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction happens when patients usually experience pain in the low back or hips. So, which one do you think he had? Tough decision, right? There are a lot of things that can cause hip and buttocks pain. Where would you begin?
Patient History And Evaluation
Orthopedic tests and my clients test results:
I do want to remind you that the reason you still do the orthopedic tests are not to find another diagnosis (which is outside our scope of practice) but to rule-out should they be in your care and/or is there another medical referral that should be made.
Let's rule out some other things together. Since he was an avid walker, maybe it's sports related and an ischial tendonitis? He has a very small pelvis with a posterior tilt, so maybe it's ischiofemoral impingement of the quadratus femoris muscle? He also has lack of internal hip rotation and groin pain, so maybe it's DJD or a torn labrum? He had loss of strength in the gluteus maximus, so maybe it has to do with the trigger point or sciatic nerve? He had removed his orthotic that was placed in his shoe to help with his foot pronation, so maybe it's piriformis syndrome?
All of these things ran through my mind, including his diagnosis already from the orthopedist that said his pain was probably due to spinal stenosis. He was given an injection that didn't help. That is also why he asked for my help because the injection and anti-inflammatories really hadn't helped change his pin-point buttock pain. He is a winter resident and had received deep tissue massage therapy up north which, for awhile, gave him temporary relief of symptoms. He sought out an orthopedist there with no resolve. He visited a chiropractor who told him 30 visits of spinal decompression would relieve the pain. He did not go forward with this option yet.
Here is some of the therapy I used during his visit: myofascial release to the hip complex with cupping (hoping if it was impingement we could relieve some compression), PNF stretching to the psoas (thinking of helping his postural distortion), isometrics around the hip complex (helping reset the muscle spindle fibers for length), direct tissue work to quadratus femoris (possible relief of ischial impingement), hamstrings,adductors, IT band, quadriceps and muscle energy techniques for the SI dysfunction.
He was happy and thrilled for about a day. Then his symptoms returned, but were different in that the direct pin-point pain wasn't there. I was still hopeful. I re-evaluated and treated again, and got a phone call saying, "it's gone, no pain." Two days later, with one episode of prolonged sitting, it returned. I re-evaluated and treated again, for the third time and with one day of absolutely no pain. Then, you guessed it, he went for a walk and within a quarter of a mile the pain was right back to square one.
I know what you are thinking. Why doesn't he avoid things that would aggravate it? Well, he did that, too, for more than four weeks. The pain in the butt was just never relieved more than temporary. This is my personal rule if it returns after three or four visits: the patient requires another medical evaluation and opinion. What causes pain? Our choices are nerve, bone or muscle-fascia. Because we work with muscles, the therapist can sometimes get fooled into thinking that it just has to be a muscle impinging on a nerve. This is limited thinking and can be the mistake of any professional who specializes.
Well, are you ready for what it was? Finally, a CT scan revealed a ruptured disc. The doctor is confident that specific pain relieving injections will do the trick. However, the physician said he is open to further investigation to rule out ischiofemoral impingement in the event the injections don't work. Why write an article in a massage publication about something that wasn't helped by massage. Well, as therapists it is always good to look at all the possible causes of pain and postural dysfunction.
"Every master knows that the material teaches the artist," IIya Ehrenburg (1891-1967). Even with all the orthopedic assessments we have available to us today this still is not enough. We can often times be fooled by thinking it is a muscle because we are in the business of treating dysfunctional muscles and getting temporary relief of symptoms. By not over treating and encouraging the patient to seek further tests, we play a vital role in our clients' health and well-being.