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Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
May, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 05
Understanding Central Sensitization and Pain
By Leon Chaitow, ND, DO
Central sensitization is defined as 'an augmentation of responsiveness of central pain-signalling neurons to input from low-threshold mechanoreceptors' (Nijs 2009). The evolution of chronic pain has been shown to have strong association with the process of central sensitization, in which there is enhanced sensitivity to various modes of painful and non-painful stimuli (Buchgreitz et al 2006).
Staud (2006) has described the ways in which peripheral pain impulses can lead to central sensitization. In many chronic pain states, including chronic migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia syndrome, repetitive, persistent or recurrent peripheral nociceptive features can lead to neuroplastic changes in the spinal cord and brain, that results in central sensitization and consequent pain.
Yi-Meng Xu et al (2010) have explained that even the nociceptive input from latent trigger points can contribute to central sensitization, and that only minimal nociceptive input (resulting from touch, pressure or heat) may be required to maintain the chronic pain state, once central sensitization has evolved.
A generalized central sensitization is identified as operating in fibromyalgia syndrome which is also common accompanying diagnosis in patients with chronic headache. Yunus (2007) has described the overlap of a number of chronic pain as Central Sensitivity Syndromes - asserting that in such conditions hyperexitability exists of central neurons resulting from the influence of various neurotransmitter and neurochemical activities, with this (central sensitization) itself being contingent - for both development and maintenance – on abnormal or continued peripheral inputs.
Background to sensitization
Selye (1984) defined both the general adaptation syndrome (GAS) affecting the individual as a whole, and the local adaptation syndrome (LAS), affecting a local area of the body that is subjected to stressors demanding adaptation. The GAS and LAS models explain how adaptation progresses, over time, with modifications to function occurring, leading eventually to adaptive capacity becoming exhausted, and symptoms emerging.
Neuromusculoskeletal adaptive changes involved in such processes can be seen to represent a record of the body's attempts to adapt and adjust to the multiple and varied stresses which have been imposed upon it, over time. The results of repeated postural and traumatic insults over a lifetime, combined with the somatic effects of emotional and psychological origin, will often present a confusing pattern of tense, shortened, bunched, fatigued and, ultimately, fibrous soft-tissues. Some of the many forms of biomechanical stressors that affect the body include the following (Lewit 2009).
Widespread functional changes develop – for example, affecting respiratory function and posture – with implications for the total economy of the body. (Timmons & Ley 1994) In the presence of a constant neurological feedback of impulses to the CNS/brain, from neural reporting stations, there will be increased levels of psychological arousal and a reduction in the ability of the individual, or local hypertonic tissues, to relax effectively, with consequent reinforcement of hypertonicity, and inevitably relative ischemia – an environment ideal for myofascial trigger point evolution (Shah 2005).
Functional patterns of use, of a biologically unsustainable nature, are likely to evolve, leading to chronic musculoskeletal problems and pain. (Crockett et al 2002) At this stage, restoration of normal function would require therapeutic input to address both the multiple changes that have occurred, as well as there being a need for re-education of the individual as to how to use the body, to breathe, and to display posture in more sustainable ways.
For more on the topic of adaptation the following two links will take you to some of my blog postings on this subject:
Soft tissue changes
Soft-tissue changes involving pain, hyper- or hypotonicity, joint dysfunction, antagonist muscle imbalances, overactive synergist muscles, lead to localized areas of hyper-reactivity, in the form of myofascial trigger points, and/or neural entrapment. (Lewit 2009) Additionally, pain due to damage or inflammation of peripheral tissues is clearly capable of causing chronic widespread pain. Another example of a local musculoskeletal disorder associated with chronic pain, frequently seen in manual therapy practice, is arthritis, possibly causing continuous activation of local nociceptors that initiate or sustain, central sensitization.
Reducing the nociceptive barrage Yunus (2007) has suggested that effective manual therapy in sub-acute cases of musculoskeletal dysfunction should be capable of limiting the afferent barrage of noxious input to the central nervous system, so preventing chronicity. Nijs et al (2009) goes further and affirms the importance of decreasing the afferent nociceptive barrage of trigger points, by means of soft-tissue mobilization, in comprehensive care of cases of chronic pain.
Neuromuscular therapies (NMT) aim to reduce the effects of adaptation/compensation as described above, by enhancing musculoskeletal function – including improved posture, respiratory function, and general mobility and stability, and by reducing noxious inputs resulting from the active presence of, for example, myofascial trigger points.
Recognizing Central Sensitization in patients Nijls et al (2010) have summarized the many associated features of central sensitization;
The presence of some or all of these symptom, together with information gathered during the history taking and the medical diagnosis, and confirmatory results from assessments listed below, can all help in recognition of the existence, in a given patient, of central sensitization. In this assessment the following tests have been suggested (Yunus 2007):
Symptom exacerbation, at both symptomatic and distant sites, indicates central sensitization. It is important to note that a variety of other indications may also suggest this, including increased pain during, or following, exercise
A fundamental principle emerges from current understanding of the sensitization process – sensitization can be reversed.
Affaitati et al (2011) have clearly demonstrated – in fibromyalgia - that therapeutic strategies that reduce the overall stress burden, whether these relate to biomechanics, biochemistry or psychosocial features, will reduce central sensitization.
Click here for more information about Leon Chaitow, ND, DO.
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