Archive for August, 2009

Acromegaly

August 5, 2009

Acromegaly is a syndrome that results when the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone (hGH) after epiphyseal plate closure at puberty. Acromegaly most commonly affects adults in middle age, and can result in severe disfigurement, serious complicating conditions, and premature death if unchecked. Because of its slow progression, acromegaly is difficult to diagnose early on and is often missed after many years of progression. It is characterized by elongation and enlargement of the bones of the extremities, face, and jaw. First, it is crucial that the massage therapist obtains clearance for massage from the client’s health care provider. With the enlargement of the bones and associated muscles, it is possible that the client will experience a significant amount of pain due to the stress of the larger, heavier structures on the joints. The goals of the massage should be to decrease pain and increase relaxation. The techniques most appropriate would be gentle gliding strokes and kneading.

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Alzheimer’s Disease

August 5, 2009

One of the most fascinating nervous pathologies in my opinion is Alzheimer’s disease. I first learned how it manifested itself about 20 years ago when my grandpa acquired the disease. It showed its first symptoms when he got lost driving and ended up almost in another part of the state. It is characterized by confusion, memory failure, disorientation, restlessness, delusions, speech disturbances, and an inability to execute purposeful movements. Alzheimer’s typically begins in later middle life with slight defects in memory and behavior, then eventually progresses. A full body massage will help relax and soothe the client. The length of the massage should normally not exceed an hour and a half. As the disease progresses, the purpose of the massage should essentially be to prevent joint stiffening and muscle contractors, as well as to maintain mobility.

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Muscle spasms

August 3, 2009

An increase in muscle tension with or without shortening, resulting from excessive motor nerve activity, may terminate in a rigid zone in the muscle called a spasm. Some additional causes include straining of a muscle, dehydration, and trauma. The contraction that occurs during a muscle spasm is involuntary. The brain sends signals to the muscle to contract, which are not willed by the body. When we exercise, we use voluntary contractions of muscles to execute the work. In a muscle spasm, the brain sends a mixed signal to the muscle to contract that is not willed by the person. Upon meeting with the client, the therapist must ask the client the cause of the muscle spasm to help establish all of the muscles involved. Massage can then increase local circulation to the spasm and mechanically lengthen and spread the muscle fibers apart. A responsibility of the therapist is to communicate to the client about the pressure and the effectiveness of the techniques being applied.

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Skin assessment

August 3, 2009

For massage therapists, the integumentary system is an extremely essential system to be studied and understood. Not only do many disorders display themselves on the skin, in terms of symptoms as well as the disease itself, but also because it is the first body structure contacted directly during the massage. It is imperative that during the premassage interview that the therapist conducts a general survey of the exposed skin. It should be checked for color, condition, and temperature. In terms of color, the therapist should ask his or herself if the color is normal for the client’s race, is it ischemic, cyanotic, jaundiced or inflamed? The questions pertaining to condition are moistness or dryness, stretching, shine, or swollen? And finally, is the skin temperature consistent throughout the client’s body and is it warm or hot (inflammation), or cool (ischemic)? If any of these questions are answered abnormally, the client must contact their health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.

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The Virus

August 3, 2009

One agent of disease that has always intrigued me is the virus. My interest in viruses initiated when Magic Johnson, my favorite player at the time, disclosed to the world that he had contracted HIV. As I began to research what a virus was, I was stunned to discover that is a nonliving entity. Essentially, they consist of a core of DNA or RNA, enclosed by a coat of protein, yet have no metabolic processes. They invade a cell by attaching to its plasma membrane, then subsequently inject their genetic material into the cell. Consequently, the cell then makes new viruses due to the new genetic code transmitted by the virus. What is astonishing to me is that the virus accomplishes this feat and is deemed nonliving. My question in conjunction with this thought is how and why do they mutate so easily? Because of the job requirement of touching an unclothed client, the virus is one of the most likely pathogens a massage therapist may contract. The therapist may not only contract the virus, but spread it to other parts of the client’s body. Viruses can also spread through inhalation of infected droplets. Regardless of the work setting or style of treatment, the massage therapist must be familiar with all of the sanitary procedures, such as hand washing, glove use, and disinfecting of equipment.

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Endocrine Pathologies

August 3, 2009

In this chapter six, our textbook talks about the endocrine system. Here are some of the things I learned. The endocrine system is one of the regulatory systems of the body, it helps maintain homeostasis. Some of the chemicals released by endocrine glands are responsible for stress responses in the body. The endocrine system works along with the nervous system to coordinate the functioning of all body systems. The endocrine system uses chemicals called hormones. The nervous system takes less time than the endocrine system to respond. The effects of the endocrine system are longer lasting than the effects of the nervous system. The endocrine system, by contrast has a more widespread effect – it regulates all types of body cells. The overall effect the endocrine system include regulating the activity of smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and some glands; altering metabolism; regulating the chemical composition and volume of body fluids and fluids inside cells; regulating growth and development; help regulate reproductive process; and participating in circadian rhythms. The body contains two kinds of glands, exocrine and endocrine. This concludes chapter 6.

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Nervous System Pathologies

August 3, 2009

In this chapter five, our textbook talks about the nervous system and how the nervous system is an important system for massage therapy. Massage can directly affect the nervous system and help promote client relaxation and muscles release. Massage can give an overall sense of well-being and help in the connection between mind and body. The nervous system helps maintain homeostasis. The nervous system uses nerve impulses to cause change in the body. To help maintain homeostasis, the nervous system is responsible for mental process such as perceptions, cognition, and memory. The nervous system has a highly organized structure. It’s made up of billions of neurons and supporting cells called neuralgia. Neurons generate nerve impulse or action potentials. The nervous system has huge complex activities. Everything it does can be grouped into 3 basic functions; sensory, integrative, and motor function. The spinal cord and brain consists of 4 main parts; brainstem, cerebellum, diencephalons, and cerebrum. All nervous tissue outside the CNS is considered part of the PNS. The PNS can be further subdivided into the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system. This concludes chapter 5.

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Musculoskeletal Pathologies

August 3, 2009

In chapter 4, our book talks about the musculoskeletal system. And I have learned in Dr. Johnson’s class that the muscles and joints of the body are most directly affected by massage. Massage techniques not only loosen tight muscles, they can also "smooth out", lengthen, and untwist the fascia surrounding the muscles, as increase blood and lymphatic flow locally within the tissues. Techniques such as stretches and joint mobilizations help nourish joints and increase range of motion. Although all of these effects are important in healthy clients, they are essential in clients with various musculoskeletal disorders to maintain flexibility and mobility. There are 3 types of muscle tissues: cardiac, skeletal, and smooth. Cardiac muscle tissue is found only in the heart and is and is responsible for the pumping action. It operates involuntarily; its contraction and relaxation are not consciously controlled. The smooth muscle tissue is found in the walls of hollow structures such as blood vessels, air passageways, and most abdomihopelvic organs. It is also involuntary; its contractions are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. The skeletal muscle tissue makes up skeletal muscles, most of which moves the bones of the skeleton. Other skeletal muscles move the skin or other skeletal muscles. Skeletal muscle tissue is voluntary; it’s consciously controlled by nerves from the somatic division of the nervous system. Some skeletal muscles are controlled unconsciously, for example the diaphragm, which is the main muscle of inspiration, continues to contact and relax. I have also learned about muscle tissue and how it has 4 important functions. One it produces body movements. Two, it stabilizes body positions (standing and sitting). Three, the function of muscle tissue is to store and move substances within the body. And four, the last function of muscle tissue is the generation of the heart. This chapter also talks about bones and how bones are living tissue. They are strong, flexible, and relatively light. The human body has 206 bones. Bones can be classified according to shape. These categories are long, short, flat, irregular, and sesamoid. And this concludes chapter 4.

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