Monthly Archives: January 2014

Can Chiropractic Care Help Cancer Patients?

Chiropractic treatment is usually sought for back pain, neck pain or pain in the joints and treatment comprises of manual manipulation or adjustments of the spine. When the bones of the spine are adjusted and are in alignment with each other as well as adjoining muscles and ligaments, the musculoskeletal system is perfectly balanced and improves a person’s efficiency by improving his posture and gait.


How chiropractic can help a cancer patient?

It is commonplace now to see cancer patients looking for an integrated approach for care and considering therapies like acupuncture and mind body medicine as well consulting dieticians and naturopaths to boost overall wellness during the course of cancer treatment. What many people are not aware of is that chiropractic care can also be an important part of healthcare for cancer patients.

Chiropractic focuses on the nervous system and musculoskeletal system of an individual. Jeffrey A. Sklar, who is the medical director of chiropractor services in Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), Philadelphia, explains that chiropractor believes that overall health can get affected by injuries or dysfunction linked to the nervous system and musculoskeletal system. It is a very gentle therapy that treats a person as a whole and aims at solving the health problem from the root, instead of just treating the symptoms.

The first issue that chiropractic can help a cancer patient with is pain management. Pain is something that no cancer patient can avoid. Regular visits to a chiropractor can be the best option to reduce pain levels and feel better. It should not be considered as a one-visit treatment. Bringing balance back to the body takes time and chiropractic helps the body to do this on its own, without external inputs like drugs. As this happens gradually, you can feel pain levels decreasing and with every visit, you might feel more energetic.

Chiropractic can also help a cancer patient manage the side effects of cancer treatments. According to Dr. Sklar, patients opting for chiropractic care can get many benefits. In the very first place, the news of cancer can cause a lot of stress for a person and may cause tightness of the muscles and impact spinal motion. This can be a cause of chronic discomfort, but chiropractic care can help you get relief from this discomfort.

Along with this, side effects arising from chemotherapy, which may be nausea, headaches, stiffness of the joints and muscle ache, can also be controlled with chiropractic therapy. Radiation therapy causes changes in the muscle tissues, which can be quite painful. This can also be managed with chiropractic therapy. Chiropractic can also help alleviate symptoms like backaches, neck pain, numbness of hand and feet.

An effective chiropractic treatment reduces pain and muscle stiffness, aligns the spine properly and restores nerve function. It helps decrease stress and improves a person’s mobility strength, flexibility and function; so that the quality of life is improved and overall well being is enhanced. Chiropractic can help caregivers also- they are the ones who are most stressed and need some care themselves.

Chiropractic as a complementary therapy for cancer patients

Though chiropractic care cannot treat cancer, it can be a part of the complete plan for wellness of the patient so that he or she can derive optimal results from cancer treatment. Chiropractic can help manage pain and help the patient to be as strong as possible so that he can respond well to treatment. For this, it is important that the chiropractic and the other members of the patient’s cancer care team be in touch and work together with the aim of providing maximum comfort to the patient.

It is important that the chiropractic should know if there are any issues like bone deterioration in any part of the spine or thrombosis because of cancer or the treatment, so that manipulations of those parts can be avoided. This is why communication between the chiropractic and other members of the cancer care team is vital.

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Teen Depression Treatment and Art Therapy: Options for Healing

The challenges of the teen years are well know and the biological and hormonal changes of puberty well documented.  Despite the plethora of information, few—teens and parents alike—are prepared for the physiological, emotional, and attitudinal fluctuations that characterize adolescent growth.  Some parents wonder if their once happy-go-lucky child has been hijacked or invaded by a testy doppelganger; some teens wonder if they are alone in experiencing the flood of emotions and moods, wonder if they are “normal.”  Because they are not practiced in the broader range of emotions, many teens lack the verbal skill to effectively communicate their thoughts and feelings. They can feel as if there this something “wrong” with their reactions and thereby engage in a self-imposed censorship for fear of judgment or being different. For these reasons, the onset of mental health symptoms, like those of adolescent depression, are often missed or wrongly attributed to “just being a teenager.”

It is difficult for young people who are experiencing teen depression to understand what is happening to them.  On one hand, they are told it is puberty, on the other hand, they know their internal experience is vastly different from their peers.  This confusion, paired with the challenge of giving expression to their emotional turmoil, not only makes identifying teen depression difficult but may impede the effectiveness of traditional psychotherapy, “talk therapy,” for many teens.

Though research indicates that psychotherapy—especially, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)—is effective in treating teen depression, it is important for parents and teens to know that there are adolescent depression treatment options beyond talk-based therapy.  For example, dance movement therapy (DMT) is believed to balance the sympathetic nervous system and neurotransmitters associated with depression, whereas Art Therapy, by being imagery based, allows teens to give expression, conscious and unconscious, to feelings and experiences which they are unable to access with words. Additionally, many teens, who have experienced abuse or neglect, have been conditioned “not to tell.”  Expressive arts therapies, such as DMT or Art Therapy, provide teens an opportunity to give voice to the unspeakable. The internalized fear and restriction associated with speaking their stories have not been assigned to movement or drawing, thus making these therapeutic approaches safer and more accessible means of addressing the drivers of a teen’s depression.

Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) and Art Therapy as just two types of Expressive Arts Therapy that are available.  Music Therapy is also an effective approach to treating teen depression.  Adolescent social groups and individual identity expression is often connected to musical genres, and many teens find respite and expression through music.  A trained Music Therapist can make inroads in addressing a teen’s depression through the music the client prefers.  Many studies have established links between music, emotion, and mood.  There is confirmed evidence that music can induce mood and allow for expression of emotion making it a powerful therapeutic tool in the hands of a skilled Music Therapist.  Many teens can benefit greatly from these therapeutic options, but it is important to find a therapist who is trained and licensed in these specific modalities.  DMT, Art, or Music Therapists are mental health professionals who have undertaken additional education to specialize in these areas.  For effective teen depression treatment, it is suggested that you confirm that your provider is licensed or credentialed.  Some teen providers will employ art, dance, movement, and music without having the professional training and acumen to do so in a therapeutically beneficially manner.


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