Monday, February 25, 2019

The Secret Life of Beavers

 Yes, those chubby, “paddle-tailed, bucktoothed, dam-building” rodents who chew off young trees and drag them into streams to build dams, slowing water flow, and effectively engineering whole wilderness landscapes----those critters. 
Who knew that beavers are masters of ecological restoration? Their dams, in slowing stream flows, allow water to seep into the land, helping to recharge aquifers, reducing erosion and flooding, and restoring marshes and wetlands. 
Their ponds become habitat for myriad other critters---birds, fish, insects, etc.---a diversity of life in “a lush, soggy paradise.”

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.