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Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Low Back Pain: Posture and Movement Analysis
When performing static and dynamic movement analysis of the lumbopelvic hip area, begin with standing visual posture analysis of the pelvis, and then perform lumbar range of motion and assess what you might see during normal versus abnormal lumbar flexion motion.
A Reality Check – and a Chance to Educate
Imagine working in the public relations department of nutrition retailer General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) and reading the The New York Times announce...
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Primary Spine Care: Addressing Concerns & Criticisms
The Dec. 1, 2013 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic included an article describing the implementation of a training program for primary spine practitioners (PSP) within a metropolitan region and supported by a large BC/BS plan.
Interpersonal Skills 101: Enhancing the Value of Our Patient Interactions
Recently, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper titled "The Value of Human Interaction." The article presented comments from a senior editor for Fortune magazine who discussed "Civility in the Business World."
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Atypical Femoral Fractures and Bisphosphonate Use: What to Watch For
Bisphosphonates (BP) are popular drugs, with more than 8 billion in sales in 2008; however, profits have declined as patents began expiring. Nonetheless, BP remain the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients at risk of osteoporotic fractures, with several million prescriptions written every year.
Impacting Chiropractic's Future With Technology
When it comes to electronic health records (EHR), Robert Moberg and Dr. Steven Kraus are two of the leading industry experts on the topic.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Avoid Random Treatment of Trigger Points (Part 2)
We must acknowledge that the fascia, which surrounds literally everything in our bodies, including every muscle fiber, is more than just a covering.
Help Update the LBP Practice Guideline
The Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters has announced the release of an updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Chiropractic Management of Low Back Pain for stakeholder review and comment.
Expanding Access, Branch by Branch
The big news coming from Capitol Hill isn't merely the recent introduction of a pair of bills designed to expand chiropractic services in the Veterans Affairs and military health care systems; after all, similar legislation has made its way through Congress before, never reaching the Oval Office for presidential signature.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
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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