This month I’ll turn my attention to an article I found online researching the effects of acupuncture for the treatment of stomach pain. Even though this article focused on acupuncture, the results of this study help explain why other manual methods may produce beneficial results in patients. Acupuncture has been accepted to effectively treat pain related disorders by inserting needles into specific acupuncture points. Some practitioners connect these needles to an electrical current (electroacupuncture) or manipulate them by hand by twisting or turning motions. Pain, discomfort, and a sense of bloating in the upper abdomen were frequently reported by individuals with stomach disorders. In clinical practice patients will often describe an improvement in these disorders after completing a course of acupuncture. To cut a long and complicated article short, the authors placed a small balloon inside the stomach of an anesthetised rat. They also placed a probe into a part of the spinal cord which transmits pain signals to the brain, these pain signals were measured by the probe. To recreate stomach pain the scientists inflated the balloon by a small amount to distend the stomach and measured the electrical signals passing up the spinal cord. After inflating the balloon, an acupuncture needle was inserted into the right hind limb of the rat which corresponded to the acupuncture point for the stomach. After the needle was inserted a small electrical current was activated through the needle at different frequencies. The researchers discovered that when the balloon was inflated the pain signals through the spinal cord were elevated, indicating the rat was feeling pain. When the acupuncture needle was inserted and an electrical current was passed through it, the pain signals measured in the spinal cord significantly reduced. This demonstrated that application of electroacupuncture to the rats leg improved the rats stomach pain. This is important research as it demonstrates that electroacupuncture applied to a specific acupuncture point can reduce pain from an organ. This helps us understand the mechanisms behind how acupuncture reduces a patient’s pain. It also helps understand how other manual therapies like Chiropractic and Massage techniques can improve a patients pain levels and perceived general health.
For this month’s article I was inspired by a Halloween competition we ran at the clinic. The question was how many bones are there in the adult human body. The answer is 206. Additionally there is a network of other structures that connect the bones together, this system performs a number of vital functions such as giving the body its form, assisting with bodily movements and producing new blood cells. So this got me thinking what other interesting facts I could find about our skeletal system. The skeleton of a newborn baby has approximately 270 bones, which are a mixture of bones and cartilage. Over time, these additional bones in infants fuse in a process called ossification to form larger bones, reducing the overall number of bones to 206 by adulthood. Bones come in all shapes and sizes, and are not evenly distributed throughout the body. Each hand has 27 bones, and each foot has 26, which means that together the body's two hands and feet have 106 bones, which is more than half of the bones in your entire body. The hyoid, a horseshoe-shaped bone in the throat, is the only bone in the human body not connected to another bone. The hyoid works with the larynx and tongue to help create speech, interestingly Neanderthals are the only other species to have hyoids like humans, its presence has led scientists to speculate that the Neanderthals had complex speech patterns similar to modern humans. Bones are made of active, living cells. And like other cells in your body, the cells of your bones are susceptible to tumours. Modern humans and their relatives have dealt with tumours for thousands of years. In 2013, scientists found a tumour in a Neanderthal rib bone dating back 120,000 years. It is the oldest human tumour ever discovered. Organisms with a bony skeleton, Vertebrates, account for only 2 percent of all animal species on the planet. As our skeleton is so amazing, its best to look after it as well as we can as we age, don’t wait till a minor skeletal issue becomes a more severe problem, see a local CAA NT Chiro today.