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Herbs for Digestion: The Power of Bitter
Many cultures (and indeed herbal clinicians) around the world have long respected the role of bitter herbs and foods for promoting digestion. For example, aperitifs – drinks consumed before a meal to stimulate appetite and digestion – were originally derived from bitter herbs.
End of an Era Looms at NYCC
New York Chiropractic College recently announced that Dr. Frank Nicchi will retire in August 2017 after 36 years with the college, the past 17 as president.
Branding: Set Your Practice Apart
Dr. Brad started his practice seven years ago on a shoestring budget. He created his generic logo in five minutes using a website because he didn't have the time to figure out how to make something special.
Can a Multivitamin Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence?
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multivitamin supplements in cancer prevention. However, with respect to preventing breast cancer recurrence, an important study was published in the Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment in 2011 by Kwan ML, et al.
A Q & A About Updated Codes
Yes, indeed there was an update to ICD-10 on Oct.1, 2016. This is a regular update to the diagnosis coding system and this type of update will occur every Oct. 1, just as it did when the ICD-9 system was in place.
2016: A Year in the Life of Acupuncture
Happy Holidays, may you, your family and friends have peace, joy and blessings throughout this special time of year. As 2016 comes to a close, we can look back and celebrate the many events and accomplishments for the profession of acupuncture.
Chiro School Reunion: Whatever Happened to...?
I opened the door to the closet slowly, carefully, since I knew it contained a large number of precariously stacked file boxes. It also held numerous outdated gizmos with electrical cords of various lengths that could trip or strangle a person.
Dedicated to Defending Chiropractic
Whether you're a veteran DC or a first-trimester student, the name George McAndrews should be part and parcel of your professional vernacular, as familiar as the word chiropractic.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Pt. 2)
Most overuse injuries are benign, but there are some high-risk injuries that, if unrecognized or inappropriately treated, can result in significant loss in time from the sport or even require leaving the sport.
A Letter to the Profession from the New President at AAAOM
Volunteering for a national, nonprofit organization brings with it such highs, lows, and accomplishments, as well as a steep learning curve.
6 Steps to Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet
People often ask me what defines success. Success, for me, is simple: doing exactly what you want to do in life. Whether it's the kind of practice you run, your life at home, your hobbies or something else, it's achieving anything you put your mind to.
Another Chance to Make a Difference
Just a few months ago, "the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy" hit Louisiana. During this storm, one area experienced 31 inches of rain in 15 hours as almost 7 trillion gallons of water rained down in just one week across the state.
A First for the Profession: CCE Accredits First Chiropractic Residencies
The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) has awarded accreditation to all five chiropractic residency programs currently administered at Veterans Administration facilities, "the first residency programs in the nation ever to be awarded this distinction, a significant advancement in the evolution of chiropractic education," according to a VA press release announcing the milestone.
DVT: Know the Signs and You Could Save a Life
I lost a friend several months ago. He died from a pulmonary embolism (PE) secondary to a deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) that originated in his lower leg. Bobby was in his mid-60s, soft-spoken and had a big heart.
Little Sticker, Big Impact
It's the end of an election year. Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump were the subject of conversation for everyone, everywhere for the entire 2016 calendar year. I don't think any of us can deny that this election affected us all very deeply on a personal level.
News in Brief
New President / CEO Takes Office at Yo San University. Electroacupuncture for Constipation?
What We Can Learn From Spine Surgery
Patients with lumbar stenosis presumably present for conservative care to improve their quality of life and avoid surgery. However, providing clear guidance to these patients can be difficult for a number of reasons.
Southwest Acupuncture College Brings It to Division 1 Athletes
When Michael Phelps' photograph with the distinctive round marks left by cupping went viral, the Division 1 student athletes treated through the Dal Ward Athletic Center at the University of Colorado (CU) could relate.
A Simple Protocol for Holiday Stress
It's winter, a time when we should be deep in reflection, eating warming foods and sleeping long hours. Following nature's rhythms, we restore our bodies and minds in preparation for the renewal of spring.
All Fiber Is Not Created Equal
Sometimes the best place to start is at the end. So, the conclusion of this article is that all fiber is good ... but some fiber is better. Let's break it down. There are two main types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Assessing Core Stability and ROM: 5 Basic Checks
One of the first steps in addressing core stability is assessing static posture, ranges of motion, and motion of the pelvic bones, sacrum, femurs, lumbar spine and thoracic spine.
Meshing TCM With Environmental Pediatrics: Where's the Overlap?
Pediatrics has a long history within Chinese medicine dating back to the late Han dynasty (i.e., the late 200s CE), with the two primary areas of emphasis being herbal medicine and xiao er tui na (pediatric massage).
Molecular Motors: Tiny Machines Behind the Rhythm of Life
In the clinic, we aim to restore healthy patterns of movement for qi that has gotten trapped or misdirected, or may have even collapsed. We may be focused on freeing stagnation, releasing heat or redirecting counterflow qi, but it often comes down to helping re-establish a flow of sorts.
Exploring Charcot Marie Tooth Disease
The longer you stay in practice, the more likely it is that you will encounter a wide array of compromised health conditions that your clients present with. Sometimes a case that might look like a simple tendinosis or common carpal tunnel syndrome is exactly what it seems. But don't get caught in that trap! Often, what might look like a common or familiar problem on the surface may be something very different. For example, systemic nerve conditions are often mistaken for local nerve compression problems because the symptoms can be quite similar.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is a perfect example of a systemic disorder that can masquerade as one or several nerve compression pathologies. While this condition may sound like a dental issue, it is actually a hereditary neurological disease named after three physicians living in 1886 — Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Marie, and Howard Tooth. CMT is a genetically inherited disorder and does not result from overuse or mechanical nerve compression like many other common nerve problems. Although it is a genetically inherited disorder, generation skipping is not uncommon. It is a fairly common neurological disorder estimated to affect about 125,000 people in the U.S. alone. It is about as common as multiple sclerosis (MS) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). However, because CMT is not life-threatening, we don't hear about it as often.1
This pathology may sometimes go by other names as well. It is often called hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy. It is also referred to as peroneal muscle atrophy; however, this nomenclature can be a little misleading. Several of the sources that describe this condition as peroneal muscle atrophy cite a drop-foot gait as the most significant early indicator of the condition, and ascribe the drop-foot gait to peroneal muscle atrophy. However, a drop-foot gait occurs when there is inadequate nerve supply to the dorsiflexor muscles of the foot. Although the small and sometimes absent peroneus tertius muscle is a dorsiflexor, the primary peroneal muscles (peroneus longus and brevis) are plantar flexors, and therefore atrophy in these muscles does not produce the drop-foot gait.
CMT is usually divided into two predominant types, although recent clinicians have further divided these types into other subgroups. Type 1 is a neuropathy (pathological condition of the peripheral nerves) that occurs from demyelination of the nerve fiber. Nerve fibers in most of the peripheral nerves are covered by a myelin sheath, and it is the myelin sheath that is essential for proper transmission of the neurological signal (Figure 1). In type 1 CMT, there is a mutation in the myelin structure that causes it to become unstable and spontaneously break down. When the myelin breaks down, it is not able to transmit neurological signals properly.
Type 2 CMT is not a demyelinating disorder, but rather a neuropathy that occurs from what is called wallerian degeneration. The process of wallerian degeneration involves not only a breakdown in the myelin structure on the outer surface of the nerve fiber, but also destruction in the continuity of the axon. It is difficult to determine which type of CMT a client has without more specific laboratory evaluation procedures.
EVALUATION AND TREATMENT
One of the most problematic features for assessment of a condition such as CMT is the similarity of its symptoms to other peripheral nerve pathologies. For some reason, symptoms are usually perceived first in the distal lower extremities. It was mentioned earlier that the peroneal muscles are often affected. CMT appears to have the most significant effect on muscles innervated by the deep and superficial peroneal nerves. In this condition, the motor effects of nerve fiber disruption are much more significant than the sensory effects. Therefore, important symptoms to watch for include muscle weakness and lack of coordination rather than numbness or paresthesia. However, this may also be true for other compression neuropathies of the common peroneal nerve. Disruption of signals to the dorsiflexors of the foot is frequent, and that is the reason that foot drop is a common symptom.
Symptoms of CMT usually occur during the second decade of life and may initially present as a general awkwardness or clumsiness, especially in the lower extremities. This is commonly a period of awkwardness for many adolescents as they are growing, so detection is often not made early in development. Motor nerve damage resulting from CMT commonly progresses with age so the condition frequently gets worse as the person gets older.
It is common for clients to develop a pes cavus foot (excessively high arch, shown in Figure 2) as well as hammer toes. Observation of the leg will often indicate thin, "stork-like" legs due to visible muscle atrophy. The client is often able to walk on tip toes (primarily using the plantar flexor muscles), but will have great difficulty walking on his or her heels (primarily using the dorsiflexor muscles). The clinician should also take a detailed and thorough history because certain medications and even vitamins in high dosages may cause an aggravation of CMT symptoms.1
As mentioned earlier, most of these muscular symptoms appear in the lower extremity first, although some may appear in the upper extremity as well. When symptoms affect the upper extremity, the client primarily displays motor effects. S/he will usually report difficulty in operating zippers, buttons, or doing precise movements with the hand.
There is no current cure for CMT, although it is most commonly managed with conservative treatment that is aimed at stabilizing symptoms. Conservative treatments like physical therapy or orthotics are used to address the motor dysfunction in the lower extremities. In some cases, surgery is used to address more severe foot alignment problems like the severe pes cavus foot. However, because motor function may continually change with progressive degrees of nerve damage, surgical procedures may have limited effects. If the biomechanical alignment problem is changed with a surgical procedure and then motor function continues to alter with further nerve damage, the alignment in the foot may be changed rendering the surgical intervention less effective.
Due to the nature of this problem, it is not one that is likely to be corrected by massage therapy. Massage might be used to treat various distal extremity neuropathies and it may appear that there is some type of compression neuropathy occurring, when in fact the client has a hereditary neurological problem that cannot be corrected with physical intervention such as massage. There is no evidence that massage is harmful for CMT but, in the best interest of finding the true source of a client's complaint, it is valuable to know about this condition and consider it as a possible cause for the client's symptoms. If there is evidence that CMT may exist it is important to refer the client to a physician for evaluation.