The Opioid Crisis Hits Home: An Acupuncturist's Inside Perspective of Addiction Treatment
My husband and I have four grown children, but we still sleep with a phone next to our night stand just in case they need us. But nothing could have prepared us for a 1 a.m.
Power of the Talk: A Simple Way to Attract New Patients
One of the most effective ways to bring patients in predictably, especially if you enjoy teaching, is by doing talks. Talks can also bring in another stream of income beyond just seeing more patients one on one.
Who's the "Father of Corrective Traction" in Chiropractic?
History teaches that a Presbyterian minister, Samuel Weed, coined the name for the profession of chiropractic from the Greek cheir for "hand" and praktos for "done."
How to Reduce Metabolic Endotoxemia
Approximately 50 percent of the Western population suffers from a condition known as metabolic endotoxemia (ME). The condition is characterized by increased serum endotoxin concentration during the first five hours of the post-prandial period.
The Medicine of Peace in a Land of Conflict
We often read about violence, despair, and political stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and pessimistic. And yet there are Israelis and Palestinians working together to transform conflict into cooperation.
Weight Watchers Goes Wellness
Goodbye Weight Watchers, hello "WW." The company has changed its name to reflect its new WW brand not only on its website, but also on every aspect of its public expression, including every studio.
ACA, ICA at Odds Over H.R. 7157
While the American Chiropractic Association recently penned an open letter – signed by not only the ACA, but also the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, Association of Chiropractic Colleges, Clinical Compass and a number of state associations.
Winter Joint Health: Looking at Seasonal Influences
One of the most common clinical issues I see during the winter season is joint / muscle pain. These issues often appear due to the activities of winter sports or may appear due to seasonal influences on old chronic injuries.
An East & West Perspective on Sleep
You, your patients, and people all over the world are sleeping less. In 1979 a team led by American psychiatrist Daniel Kripke did a large-scale study of over a million people, which indicated that most people slept between 7-8 hours.
Dehydration ... A Commonly Overlooked Etiology
Water covers 71 percent of the earth's surface. It's found in every living organism and is considered the "universal solvent," yet we take it for granted as the foundation for optimal health.
Historic Farm Bill Provisions Legalize Hemp ... and CBD?
Until recently, hemp was classified as a Schedule 1 drug per the federal Controlled Substances Act, putting it in the same class as marijuana (and heroin, by the way).
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and the Science of EMFs
Movement of planet Earth's molten iron core generates a weak static geomagnetic field that varies in strength over millennia but currently ranges from 0.25 to 0.65 gauss. This is the native field in which all life has evolved.
3 Tips to Get New Patients After a Talk
One of the most effective ways to bring in new patients predictably, especially when an acupuncturist enjoys teaching, is by doing talks. It can also bring in another stream of income, beyond just seeing more patients one-on-one.
Differentiating Qi Under the Needle (Part 2)
While classic sages have said a lot on this topic, I will share my own experience with the sensations under the needle with you. You, in turn, will also need to gain your own understanding of them through daily clinical observation, thinking, and practice.
Neuroscience 101: Understanding Opioid Addiction and How Chiropractic Can Help
Opioids now account for nearly two-thirds of all overdose-related deaths in the U.S. This insidious bane is no respecter of gender, age, race or ethnicity, with nearly all categories experiencing increases.
Case Study: Forefoot Pain
Patient presents with a history of forefoot pain. Discomfort has become worse in the past six months. He has difficulty completing his four-hour shifts as a part-time hairdresser.
Pain in the Butt (Pt. 1)
Many of my patients (and probably many of yours) come in with pain and/or tenderness in the buttock region. First, I assess where the painful and/or tender spots are located and what these points represent.
Flying Into the Year of the Pig: Making Way for the Impossible
The first of the new year has passed, and some of our New Year's resolutions may have already come and gone. Fortunately, we will celebrate the Chinese New Year this month, and will welcome in the Year of the Pig.
Quickie Seminar Adjustments Have No Place in Chiropractic
Recently, I observed chiropractors treating each other in the vendor area at the annual meeting of a chiropractic association. "Quickie" chiropractic adjustments and other hands-on procedures were administered without appropriate history taking, physical examination, diagnosis or informed consent.
The Role of TCM When Treating Mental Illnesses
Mental illness is common in the U.S., nearly 20 percent of adults live with a mental illness which vary in degree of severity—ranging from mild to moderate, to severe. It is not exaggerated to say that mental illness is an epidemic.
Simple Screening Tests for Stroke and Other Brain Lesions
The drift test, arm rolling and finger rolling are three useful assessments in the identification of upper motor neuron dysfunction.
Top Social Media Do's & Don'ts for Chiropractors
For years, health care practitioners have avoided embarking on the social media highway, primarily due to patient HIPAA privacy issues and the time needed to give the process due diligence.
Outcomes for Any Occasion
Outcome assessment tools (OATs) are a necessary part of documentation and patient care. They are used to show patient progress and help practitioners show changes as a result of their treatment interventions.
Quick Sacroiliac Assessment: Treating Different Types of Pain
The lower back is a generator for a number of types of pain. The lower back involves several different articulations – the lumbar spine with vertebral bodies, discs, and facets – the sacroiliac joints – and the lumbosacral junction.
Know Your Clinical Flags: 5 Different Colors to Consider
In health care, the term red flag is used to describe signs and symptoms that can indicate the presence of serious health conditions. These conditions generally carry an increased likelihood for serious complications, disability or even death.
July, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 07
Have Chronic Headaches? Get a Massage
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed by Jolie Haun PhD, EdS, LMT; Beth Barberree BA, RMT; Derek Austin, PT, DPT, MS, BCTMB, CSCS
Chronic headaches can be debilitating. Though it seems intuitive that massage therapy may be an effective treatment for chronic headaches, little research has been conducted to validate the use of massage therapy for managing chronic headaches.In this month's research review provided by the Massage Therapy Foundation, we take a closer look at one research team's attempt to examine massage therapy as a nonpharmacological approach to treating chronic headaches. Quinn and colleagues conducted a pilot study with individuals to "determine whether a regimented massage therapy program could have beneficial effects on the frequency, intensity, and duration of pain associated with chronic tension headache."
Though the cause of chronic headaches is unclear, evidence cited by Quinn and colleagues suggests that these headaches may originate from sustained contraction of head and neck muscles, resulting in local nutrient deficiencies due to ischemia. Ischemia can generate trigger points within muscles, which can remain contracted for an extended period of time and collectively result in a tension headache. Because the activation of myofascial trigger points has been implicated as a cause of headaches, the authors focused on the role of trigger points in treatment of chronic headaches with the hypothesis that reducing trigger point pain may result in decreased headache pain. Quinn and colleagues suggest massage treatments that aim to increase blood flow to tissue may reduce the activity of a trigger point. Thus, it is possible that headaches that have this origin may be reduced with massage therapy.
Ten chronic tension headache sufferers participated in an 8-week study beginning with baseline headache measures recorded for the first 4 weeks that allowed each participant to serve as his or her own control. In the remaining 4 weeks, the participants received 30-minute massage therapy sessions twice a week. Each participant was asked to complete a nightly logbook in which they recorded their number of headaches, intensity of most severe headache, and duration of longest headache for each day. Headache intensity was measured using a visual analog scale (0–100mm; 0 = no pain; 100 = most pain).
The treatments were directed toward neck and shoulder muscles, specifically the "upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, suboccipital, splenius capitis, levator scapulae, and temporalis." The massage protocol consisted of six distinct phases within the 30-minute time frame: preparatory tissue warm-up; myofascial release; axial cervical traction; trigger point therapy procedure; facilitated stretching techniques; and session closure. The full article provides complete detail of each of these phases of the treatment protocol.
Due to incomplete data, data was analyzed for four of the original ten participants. Within-subject analyses (i.e. participants are their own control) indicated headache frequency was significantly reduced within the first week of the massage protocol, which held for the remainder of the study. Though not statistically significant, duration of headaches decreased during the massage treatment period (p = .058). Headache intensity was unaffected by massage treatments.
Anecdotally, on four occasions when a participant began the massage session with a headache, the headache was alleviated by the end of the 30-minute treatment. This suggests that massage administered during a headache episode might result in immediate beneficial effects and that patients should be instructed in appropriate self-massage techniques.
Overall, Quinn and colleagues suggest, "The muscle-specific massage therapy technique used in this study has the potential to be a functional, nonpharmacological intervention for reducing the incidence of chronic tension headache." Notably, they suggest the protocol was successful in reducing pain associated with chronic tension headache, but they cannot state the massage portion directed at relieving trigger point activity was the causative agent rather than the stretching or relaxation techniques.
Implications for Research and Practice
The most impressive aspect of this study is the highly standardized massage treatment protocol. The authors recognize that the protocol complicates the question of which component of the treatment was most effective. While this research does not clarify what is the most effective massage technique for headaches, the overall protocol was shown to be effective at treating chronic headache symptoms. The authors suggest that treatment protocols validated for their efficacy can be later examined to determine which aspects of massage have a clinically significant therapeutic contribution.
Though this pilot study is unique in its examination of chronic headaches with a highly standardized protocol, its usefulness is greatly limited by its extremely small sample size. With only four subjects used for analysis, there is almost no power – proof of validity – in the findings. Though this may sound discouraging at first, it is important to realize that small studies such as this one provide foundational knowledge to determine if a large scale study is warranted. In the case of this pilot study, data indicate that the use of massage therapy as a nonpharmacological treatment for chronic headaches is worthy of further exploration.
Practitioners now have a data to support the recommendation of massage therapy for the treatment of clients with chronic headache pain. Furthermore, maybe the greatest contribution of this publication is the detailed protocol. Massage and bodywork practitioners may find the detailed protocol used in this study useful for delivering a standardized treatment in their own practice. This study, and others like it, continue to support the ever-expanding scope of conditions for which massage therapy can be delivered as an effective nonpharmacological adjunctive treatment to alleviate pain and suffering.
Are you interested in learning more about the uses of massage therapy to alleviate pain and promote wellness? To learn more about the effects of massage therapy, you can review the Massage Therapy Foundation review article archives, read accepted MTF Research Grant abstracts, or search PubMed for massage therapy studies.
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