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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Upper Back and Thoracic Spine Trauma

By |May 29, 2012|Chiropractic Care, Diagnosis, Evaluation & Management, Neck Pain, Spinal Manipulation|

Upper Back and Thoracic Spine Trauma

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Clinical Monograph 23

By R. C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC


Upper-thoracic spasms and trigger points are common within the milder complaints heard in a chiropractic office. Typical posttraumatic injuries of the posterior thorax involve the large posterior musculature, thoracic spine, spinocostal joints, and tissues supporting and mobilizing the scapula (especially the rhomboids). Upper right abdominal quadrant ailments (eg, gallbladder, liver) commonly refer pain and sometimes tenderness to the right scapular area.


BACKGROUND

Severe biomechanical lesions of the thoracic spine are seen less frequently than those of the cervical or lumbar spine. But when they occur, they may be serious if related to disc protrusion or a dynamic facet defect. Shoulder girdle, rib cage, spinal cord, cerebrospinal fluid flow, and autonomic visceral problems originating in the thoracic spine are far from being scarce. Common biomechanical concerns are the prevention of thoracic hyperkyphosis, flattening, or twisting, as each can be suspected to contribute to both local and distal, acute and chronic possibly health-threatening manifestations.

Thoracic Fixations

The study of the thoracic spine is often perplexing. It was Gillet’s opinion that many fixations found in the thoracic spine were secondary (compensatory) to focal lesions in either the upper cervical spine or the sacroiliac joints. Thus, a maze of potential variables exists. Empiric evidence has suggested that many thoracic problems have their origin in its base, the lumbar spine or lower, while others are reflections of cervical reflexes. Also, a thoracic lesion may manifest symptoms in either the cervical or the lumbar spine. Foremost in an examiner’s thoughts should be the recognition that the thoracic spine is the structural support and sympathetic source for the esophagus, heart, bronchi, lungs, diaphragm, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, and much of the pelvic contents. Referred pain and tenderness from these organs to the spine are common.

Screening Thoracic Vertebral Fractures (more…)

A Basic Rehabilitative Template

By |May 24, 2012|Chiropractic Care, Clinical Decision-making, Diagnosis, Evaluation & Management, Evidence-based Medicine, Nutrition, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation|

A Basic Rehabilitative Template

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Clinical Monograph 1

By R. C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC


INTRODUCTION

Injuries can be classified into 13 types: abrasions, contusions, strains, ruptures, sprains, subluxations, dislocations, fractures, incisions, lacerations, penetrations, perforations, and punctures. This paper will not detail the management of burns or injuries requiring referral for operative correction, suturing, or restricted chemotherapy.

Objectives

Except for the most minor injuries, traumatized neuromusculoskeletal tissues are benefited by alert restorative procedures. The more serious the injury, the more prolonged is and the greater the need for professionally guided rehabilitation. The first step in rehabilitation is to explain to the patient that rehabilitation is just as important as the initial care of the injury. The goal is not only to restore the injured part to normal activity or as near normal as possible in the shortest possible time but also to prevent posttraumatic deterioration. It is an individualized process that requires patient dedication. The author recognizes that it is easier to write about comprehensive planning than to motivate some patients to follow prescriptions after pain has subsided.

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Chiropractic Rehabilitation

Most authorities would agree with Harrelson when he lists the goals of rehabilitation as:

  1. decreased pain;
  2. decreased inflammatory response to trauma;
  3. return of full pain-free active joint ROM;
  4. decreased effusion;
  5. return of muscle strength, power, and endurance; and
  6. regain of full asymptomatic functional activities at the preinjury level (or better).

(more…)

Joint Trauma: Perspectives of a Chiropractic Family Physician

By |May 23, 2012|Chiropractic Care, Degenerative Joint Disease, Diagnosis, Evaluation & Management, Spinal Manipulation|

Joint Trauma:
Perspectives of a Chiropractic Family Physician

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Clinical Monograph 8

By R. C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC


INTRODUCTION

The general stability of synovial joints is established by action of surrounding muscles. Excessive joint stress results in strained muscles and tendons and sprained or ruptured ligaments and capsules. When stress is chronic, degenerative changes occur.

The lining of synovial joints is slightly phagocytic, is regenerative if damaged, and secretes synovial fluid that is a nutritive lubricant having bacteriostatic and anticoagulant characteristics. This anticoagulant effect may result in poor callus formation in intra-articular fractures where the fracture line is exposed to synovial fluid. Synovial versus mechanical causes of joint pain are shown in Table 1.




Table 1.   Synovial vs Mechanical Causes of Joint Pain

Feature Synovitic
Lesions
Mechanical
Lesions
Onset Symptoms fairly consistent, during use and at rest. Symptoms arise chiefly during use
Location Any joint may be involved. Primarily involves weight-bearing joints.
Course Usually fluctuates. Episodic flares are common. Persistently worsening progression. No acute exacerbations.
Stiffness Prolonged in the morning. Little morning stiffness.
Anti-inflammatory effect Aided by cold and other anti-inflammatory therapies. Anti-inflammatory therapy of only minimum value.
Major pathologic features Negative radiographic signs or diffuse cartilage loss, marginal bony erosions, but no osteophytes. Radiographic signs of cartilage loss and osteophyte developments


Periarticular Lesions


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Rehabilitation Monograph Page

Lower Back Trauma (Lumbar Spine and Pelvis)

By |May 20, 2012|Chiropractic Care, Chronic Pain, Evidence-based Medicine, Low Back Pain, Orthopedic Tests, Rehabilitation, Spinal Manipulation|

Lower Back Trauma (Lumbar Spine and Pelvis)

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Clinical Monograph 24

By R. C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC



Although it may be easier to teach anatomy by dividing the body into arbitrary parts, a misinterpretation can be created. For instance, we find clinically that the lumbar spine, sacrum, ilia, pubic bones, and hips work as a functional unit. Any disorder of one part immediately affects the function of the other parts. We should also keep in mind that an axial kinematic chain of weight-supporting segments extends from the occipital base to the soles of the feet.

Because the number of professional papers concerning the cause and diagnosis of low-back pain is voluminous, emphasis herein is placed on points that the author believes are important but not often emphasized in popular literature.


     BACKGROUND


A wide assortment of muscle, tendon, ligament, bone, nerve, and vascular injuries in this area is witnessed during posttrauma care. As with other areas of the body, the first step in the posttrauma examination process is knowing the mechanism of injury if possible. Evaluation can be rapid and accurate with this knowledge.

Low-back disability rapidly demotivates productivity and athletic participation. The mechanism of injury is usually intrinsic rather than extrinsic. The cause can often be through overbending, a heavy steady lift, or a sudden release –all which primarily involve the muscles. IVD disorders are more often, but not exclusively, attributed to extrinsic blows and intrinsic wrenches. An accurate and complete history is invariably necessary to offer the best management and counsel.

Initial Assessment

A player injured on the field or a worker injured in the shop should never be moved until emergency assessment is completed. Once severe injury has been eliminated, transfer to a backboard can be made and further evaluation conducted at an aid station.

Neurologic Levels

Neurologic assessment should be made as soon as logical. Muscle tonus (flaccidity, rigidity, spasticity) by passive movements is determined. Voluntary power of each suspected group of muscles against resistance is tested, and the force is compared bilaterally. Check pupil size, ability to follow finger motion, and reaction to light. Cremasteric (L1–L2), patellar (L2–L4), gluteal (L4–S1), suprapatellar, Achilles (L5–S2), plantar (S1–S2), and anal (S5–Cx1) reflexes are evaluated. Patellar and ankle clonuses are noted. Coordination and sensation by gait, heel-to-knee and foot-to-buttock tests, and Romberg’s station test are checked. These are typical minimal evaluations.

Initial Assessment

Tenderness.   Tenderness is frequently found at the apices of spinal curves and not infrequently where one curve merges with another. Tenderness about spinous or transverse processes is usually of low intensity and suggests articular stress. Tenderness noted at the points of nerve exit from the spine and continuing in the pathway of the peripheral division of the nerves is a valuable aid in spinal analysis pointing to a foraminal lesion. However, the lack of tenderness is not a clear indication of lack of spinal dysfunction. Tenderness is a subjective symptom influenced by many individual structural, functional, and psychologic factors that can make it an unreliable sign. An area for clues sometimes overlooked is the presence and symmetry of lower-extremity pulses.

Keep in mind that lumbopelvic tenderness as well as pain can be referred from pelvic and lower abdominal viscera.

LUMBAR SUBLUXATION SYNDROMES

Functional revolts associated with subluxation syndromes can manifest as abnormalities in sensory interpretations and/or motor activities. These disturbances may be through one of two primary mechanisms: direct nerve disorders or be of a reflex nature.

Nerve Root Insults


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Enjoy the rest of Dr. Schafer’s Monographs at:

Rehabilitation Monograph Page

The First Domino: Chiropractic Before Spinal Surgery for Chronic Low Back Pain

By |May 17, 2012|Chiropractic Care, Evidence-based Medicine, Guidelines, Health Care Reform, Low Back Pain, Rehabilitation|

The First Domino:
Chiropractic Before Spinal Surgery for Chronic Low Back Pain

The Chiro.Org Blog


SOURCE:   Dynamic Chiropractic

By Peter W. Crownfield

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan mandates conservative care before even considering surgery for chronic Low Back Pain cases.


The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health Plan, a health maintenance organization affiliated with the university’s School of Medicine, has adopted landmark guidelines for the management of chronic low back pain.

As of Jan. 1, 2012, candidates for spine surgery must receive “prior authorization to determine medical necessity,” which includes verification that the patient has “tried and failed a 3-month course of conservative management that included physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and medication.

Surgery candidates also must be graduates of the plan’s LBP health coaching program. The program features a Web-based decision-making tool designed to help plan members “understand the pros and cons of surgery and high-tech radiology.” It is the first reported implementation of such a policy by a health care plan.

Putting a Clamp on the Soaring Rates of Spine Surgery

According to the December 2011 issue of the UPMC Health Plan Physician Partner Update, which informed participating providers of the new guidelines and the rationale for their implementation, “We feel strongly that this clinical initiative will improve the quality of care for members who are considering low back surgery, and that it will facilitate their involvement in the decision-making process.”

The update also noted, “Surgical procedures for low back surgery performed without prior authorization will not be reimbursed at either the specialist or the hospital level.” (more…)