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TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients, in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
Calculating Billable Units
I recently learned of an office that was audited based on the number of acupuncture sessions performed in one day. Is there a maximum number of sessions that can be performed in one day?
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
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.