Monday, February 18, 2019

A Painful, Sore Spot on the Scalp

A persistent sore spot on the head, painful to pressure, may be a “trigger point" in the scalp muscle.  It may feel like a spot of irritation, and when pressed, pain may seem to spread out from it. This is called “referred” pain, and is a characteristic of trigger points, which can appear in any muscle.
The spot may feel taught, tight, like a nodule or a tiny muscle spasm. The patient will not describe having had an injury or blow to the head, or any kind of spider or insect bite, so the source of the pain may seem mysterious. In addition, the spot may have been sore for quite some time.
Dr. Janet Travell, M.D., an American physician who did extensive research on trigger points and produced two extensive textbooks on the subject, defined predictable patterns of referred pain from trigger points in muscles throughout the body.
Her detailed “maps” of referred pain caused by trigger points serve as guides for doctors in distinguishing the causes of muscular pain. 
Dr. Travell’s recommended treatment included injections of pain relieving medication, as well as application of hypercoolant sprays. 
I recommend application of ice to the sore spot, 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, repeating until the trigger point is relieved. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Head-Forward Postures---a NO-NO!

 Any position of the body in which the head is forward of the body’s center of gravity is a potential troublemaker---causing neck, upper back, and shoulder tension and discomfort.
Watch out for any of these postures or positions:
----bending the head forward, whether sitting or standing,
----straining the chin / head forward ("leading with your 
              chin"), such as when using a computer, 
----pivoting forward from the hips when sitting.
In all of these positions, the head is forward of the body’s center of gravity, forcing posterior cervical muscles to work overtime to support the weight of the head.
This results in muscle fatigue, tension, chronic reduction of blood flow into contracted muscles, build-up of cellular toxic wastes / inability of cells to rid cellular metabolic wastes because of impeded blood circulation, and pain.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Temporal Arteritis

When a patient comes in with headache and / or jaw pain, especially if the pain is on just one side of the head, it is important to rule out inflammation in the blood vessels, also called “vasculitis.”
Vasculitis in the temporal arteries, which are in the areas of the temples on each side of the head, is known as temporal arteritis, and it should be recognized, because it is serious. A Chiropractor who suspects this should immediately refer the patient to an M.D.
This condition can have serious consequences, such as inflammation spreading to blood vessels of the eyes, possibly causing blindness.
The inflamed vessels are swollen, painful, and may be constricted, or narrowed. The temple area(s) may be tender to touch, the patient may say their jaw hurts after chewing, and there may be diffuse muscle aches and fatigue. These symptoms, as well as fever and a throbbing headache, are “red flags” for temporal arteritis.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Patient Feedback--Essential to Medicare

    As a doctor serving Medicare patients, it is incumbent upon me to make sure I have careful, complete documentation for every patient visit. This includes detailing the patient’s response to the treatment plan.
Medicare wants to know whether the treatment plan is working, or not, and they want the patient to report whether they feel better, whether their pain is less or worse or unchanged, and what daily activities of their life they can do better, or still can’t do, as treatment progresses.
At every office visit, my Medicare patients fill out a brief form reporting all this.

Monday, January 21, 2019

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

Just transitioning 10 percent of agricultural production to best practice regenerative systems will sequester enough CO2 to reverse climate change 
and restore the global climate.” 

Regenerative Agriculture uses farming and grazing methods that rebuild the soil’s organic matter, restore soil biodiversity (organisms and microorganisms), sequester more carbon in soil, and increase the amount of water the soil can hold.
It’s done by:
---disturbing the soil as little as possible; aka “no-till” farming. No plowing, which disturbs healthy soil fungi & microorganisms & increases erosion,
---cover crops, composting, & crop rotations to feed nutrients into soil,
---managed grazing to stimulate plant growth & increase soil fertility. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Nerve Impingement

Something that “impinges” a nerve is something that---usually negatively---affects the nerve. Common results of nerve impingement are numbness, tingling, pain, hyperesthesia (excessive, or pronounced, sensation), or hypesthesia (diminished sensation). 
Often nerve impingement is conceptualized as pressure on a nerve, but there are also other kinds of mechanical impingement. Abrasion, stretching, twisting are some examples. Temperature changes or chemical impingement are also possible.
In my practice, the goal of relieving pain usually involves relieving mechanical nerve impingement, accomplished by careful, gentle, precise adjustments with the Activator instrument.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Managing Scoliosis

  For scoliosis (a lateral spinal curvature), one of the best self-care techniques is a special yoga designed by Elise Miller, a Palo Alto, CA yoga teacher who herself has a severe scoliotic curve in her spine Elise developed this yoga as a way to manage her own discomfort, and now teaches it, as well as training other yoga instructors how to do this work. 
Santa Cruz is fortunate to have a local teacher who is certified in Yoga for Scoliosis, Karyn Bristol at Yoga Within 
On March 30, 2019, Elise will be at Karyn’s Aptos studio  and there will be an afternoon session of Yoga for Scoliosis.
In my practice, with scoliosis patients, balancing their pelvis and spine is an important first step, and then regular, intermittent full-body balancing to encourage stabilization.  As an adjunct to my chiropractic care, I then refer these patients for Yoga for Scoliosis.