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Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Challenging the Traditional Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In the light of clinical studies, and research available today, this article will take a close look at common forearm, wrist and hand problems that often seem to be diagnosed and treated incorrectly. This article is based on a true case study of a client from one of my seminars in Boston. This particular client had recently undergone surgery at both his wrist and elbow. Both surgical procedures were attempts to release the pressure on his median nerve, to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately, the actual nerve compression problem was actually in his neck and shoulder before the nerves ever branched off to become the median nerve at the elbow and wrist. Once we treated the tight muscle groups such as his SCMs, anterior and posterior scalenes, and his pectoralis minor, the numbness, tingling and parasthesia that surgery did not correct in his arm and hand went away.
The term multiple crush phenomenon refers to a condition when there is more than one compression on a nerve trunk. Sections of the nerve distal to the first site of compression become nutritionally deficient because of axoplasmic flow blockage. Consequently, these distal areas are more susceptible to irritation from even a minor degree of compression (i.e. becoming the second or third site of the crush).
If you look at a classic postural distortion pattern of someone talking on the phone, it is clear to see that poor work ergonomics can shorten muscle groups in the neck, shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. (Figure 1 ) When muscles like the SCMs, anterior and posterior scalenes, and pectoralis minor shorten, the brachial plexus of nerves get compressed under the clavicle. (Figure 2)
This is often compounded with cervical nerve compression problems. So the nerves are compressed twice already. Then at the elbow, the median nerve runs through the bicipital apeneurosis, and again through the pronator teres. (Figure 3) If there is tension or damage to the bicipital apeneurosis or teres minor, the nerves are now compressed four times before they ever reach the carpal tunnel.
Therefore, when a client complains of clinical symptoms such as parasthesia, numbness, and pins and needle sensations in their hands, the manual therapist should look at all areas of nerve compression between the brain and the fingertips. In my opinion, the assessment should start in neck and shoulder, progress to the elbow, and then end at the wrist. This approach to treatment would address what Dr. Erik Dalton refers to as descending syndromes.
Based on the photo of the woman on the telephone, let's look at a simple road map. This assumes that posturology has addressed a true leg length discrepancy, and myoskeletal alignment techniques have facilitated alignment of the bones in the cervical spine.
Step 1. Release the tight SCMs, and anterior and posterior scalenes.
This should start with myofascial release, followed by treating active and latent muscle belly myofascial trigger points, and stretching those muscles that often pull the first rib up onto the clavicle to compress the brachial plexus of nerves. (Figure 4)
Step 2. Release the pectorals major and minor muscles.
After doing myofascial release to the pectorals major (Figure 5), treat trigger points in the pectorals minor (Figure 6), and stretch the pectoralis major and minor muscles. Make sure to treat a muscle strain in the pectorals minor, if found, and address capsular adhesions of the shoulder if there is a bone on bone like end feel when stretching the pecs.
Step 3. Release the biceps (taking tension of bicipital apeneurosis). (Figure 7) If there is a strain in the bicipital apeneurosis treat that after releasing the biceps muscle belly. The median nerve will be scarred down by scar tissue in the bicipital apeneurosis if that is strained.
Step 4. Release the pronator teres. (Figure 8)
Keep in mind the median nerve passes through this muscle. In people that work on the computer, this is a posturally short muscle that often gets neglected in clients diagnosed with carpal tunnel problems.
Step 5. Release the wrist and hand flexors. (Figure 9) There are nine tendons that pass from these muscles under the flexor retinacculum. Tension in the wrist flexors cause overdevelopment of their tendons, and can compress the median nerve under the tight flexor retinaculum leading to "true" carpal tunnel syndrome.
Step 6. Free up the flexor retinaculum, and release individual tendon adhesions in the carpal tunnel. Active myofascial release is done by having the client spread and extend the fingers to help release the flexor retinaculum and flexor tendons in the tunnel. (Figure 10)
This should be followed with the client stretching those same muscles as part of client self care. Ergonomics of the work station would also be addressed. This article will flow into a series of articles, starting with complicated forearm, wrist and hand conditions, to take a more detailed clinical look at conditions like "true carpal tunnel syndrome" and the significant difference between tendinitis, tendinosis and tenosynovitis conditions. The treatment by the manual therapist cannot get optimal results if we do not understand the different pathologies of these very different basic clinical conditions of the forearm, wrist and hand. Manual therapists will get their best results with complicated clinical conditions when they learn to match the appropriate modality or manual therapy discipline to each specific underlying pathology. Our industry also needs to also take a closer look at things like multiple crush phenomenon to eliminate multiple causes of conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Editor's Note: Art images and case study information were taken from James Waslaski's new book with Pearson Publishing, Clinical Massage Therapy: A Structural Approach to Pain Management.