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Notes from the Practice of Harold Goodman, D.O.

It sure is hard to treat a label.  Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Today I treated a man whom I had treated a few years ago for symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. His symptoms went away for a few years and just started to return. They were all on the left side.

Boy, was I surprised and shocked to find his left sacro-iliac joint, left diaphragm, left temporal bone, left atlanto-occipital joint, left shoulder, clavicle and other joints all with major problems.

Notice a pattern here??

He talked at length about MS. I told him that I find what the body is doing that could cause this and treat it. I don't try to treat the disease; it's just a label, which is something we often forget.

You can't treat a label , though many physicians still haven't figured this out apparently.

It's a lot easier to treat the body than a label. Well, at least that's my experience.

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Update.  Saturday, September 20, 2008

Update.

I am now accepting new patients.

The initial appointment is 9:15 am and the last one in the early afternoon.

Patients of all ages are welcome; neonatal, pediatric, adolescent, adults, older patients and those who are ageless, as well.

Just contact me if you have any questions about my practice. See the e mail contact below.

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How a head injury can lead to abdominal problems  Thursday, March 22, 2007

Did you ever see a spider web? They are actually quite intricate in design. Starting from one point the spider creates an enormous mosaic of crafted spittle. Sit and contemplate the web. It is really a work of art. These insects build them to catch other insects.

The web must be of a certain size. Some are quite large. It must have a great degree of bounce. If a fly crashes into it the web must not break. It must absorb the kinetic energy generated by the impact and deftly imprison the hapless fly. The fly must be trapped, unable to escape. The web is designed with all of this in mind. For what it does it functions perfectly.

Consider the human body as a vast spider web. If you pull on a part of the web the entire web responds. It will conform to the impact and absorb it. The web, if pulled at one point, will change shape to accommodate itself to the deformation. Say you grab one piece and gently shift it around in space. The entire web rearranges itself. Every single piece of the web shifts. It works as a single unit.

This is exactly how the human body functions. The body is actually a vast web. The various pieces of the web have many shapes and different tissues. However, they are all part of the same web. If one piece is shifted, every part is shifted no matter how far away from the point of impact or seemingly unrelated.

A blow to the head effects the membranes which make up the skull. Originally, the skull is membranous. The outer layer of membrane becomes bone. The inner layers remain membrane. They have the consistency of shoe leather. They can be bent, twisted, and moved about. They cannot be stretched without tearing which really takes an enormous amount of force. So, in the normal course of life, the membranes get twisted and strained a lot. We call this cranial membranous strain or sprain. It is like a sprained ankle ( which remains vulnerable to reinjury even after the swelling, pain, and other acute symptoms are gone) . You can have these membranous or tissue strains anywhere in the body. They always are accompanied by body dysfunction.

So, again, imagine the spider web. If one piece is twisted upon itself or pulled asymmetrically the entire web mirrors and compensates for this. It's health in action, always finding a perfectly balanced response to the stressor.

The cranium is struck. The membranes in the gut follow suit. The person, sooner or later, experiences gastrointestinal and pelvic problems. No one but a trained-osteopath realizes the connection. No one but a classical osteopath is trained to think, diagnose and treat in this way.

I have seen hundreds of such cases over the last seventeen years. It just reaffirms the intrinsic somatic - visceral connection for me. The body works like a big spider web. Tweak one part, everything else responds.

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Osteopathy is just common sense  Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Over sixty percent of the body mass is comprised of the musculoskeletal system. This system not only functions as the primary support for everything else but also is what allows us to perform actions and express ourselves. Whether it's vision, eating( one of my favorites),moving about, hearing, speaking, or just about any activity including digestion, elimination, and so on, the musculoskeletal system does it. It also connects everything else in the body. We might expand it to call it the neuromusculoskeletal system.

You might guess that an important system like this would be a central focus for physicians. Guess again. It's not. Medicine, as you will have noticed, concentrates on the organ systems ( heart, lungs, liver,etc.). Also, the medical paradigm, the way medicine views patients and the world is reductionistic. That of course reflects the entire attitude of almost all areas of our society. Things are separated from one another and seen as unique, vaguely related entities. Then we have specialists for the heart, the glands, the liver and so on. Unfortunately, the body was never informed of this and it operates as one unit. What a drag!

The body just doesn't get it. It just doesn't understand that it is supposed to operate as a bunch of separate parts. Obviously, God is inept. Right? I don't think so. Maybe we, as physicians, need to pay more attention to what the body actually does....on its terms and in its language, not our own conceptual overlays.

So, along came Andrew Taylor Still, MD, a nineteenth century physician and surgeon. He lost three kids to spinal meningitis. It was a horrible experience for him and his family. The best doctors were called and the children all died. Dr. Still was a very spiritual man. He asked, Is it possible that God has created man to suffer like this? Maybe there is something for us (him) to learn in all of this.

Of course, great discoveries always happen in this way. A single wo(man) asks an obvious question. Unlike others, they are propelled to actually seek out an answer. Dr. Still quit medicine and decided to start from scratch. Just to study and learn from the body as it actually functions. To let Nature be his teacher.

He quickly realized that the body in its unhindered state was quite able to function and repair itself as need arose. It was complete. It lacked nothing as far as function. In medical school I was taught that over 80% of all illness will resolve on its own. This is the work of the body. It has been around awhile and knows what it is doing.

The body is run by an Intelligence which unites all of us. Dr. Still realized that each of us is somehow linked to this Intelligence. Without it we couldn't exist for a second and, furthermore, would never even have been brought into existence. Man is not just a bunch of physical components. We are something more. We smile, laugh, cry, create great music, experience love and so much more. There is something more going on here than the biochemical explanation of the medical world. Dr. Still realized this.

He found that the neuromusculoskeletal system is the gateway to accessing human function. It is linked to everything, without exception, that goes on in our body. It tenses when we are nervous. It relaxes when we listen to beautiful music or see the face of our beloved. It is the mirror of every aspect of man.

Dr. Still realized that by studying the interrelationships of all parts of the body as the operation of One system he could better aid his patients. He then found how he could use his hands in very gentle ways to work with the body's own reparative forces and promote normalized function. This translates into an absence of symptoms. It comes about when the body finds balance.

He called this approach osteopathy. He said that he discovered osteopathy. Osteopathy includes all of the contributions of medicine and surgery and integrates them in a way that genuinely respects the body's Intelligence in design and function. It is a complete and humanistic approach to helping people who ask for help. It is based on the laws of Nature, not those promulgated by medical theoreticians. And, as I have found over the last seventeen years of practice, it works.

In short, osteopathy is the practice of really trusting that the body's Intelligence knows what it is doing and has created the symptoms with which the patient presents as a means to find balance. What we label disease ( the lack of ease) is really an Intelligent response to stressors. It is the best the body can do given its current resources. The osteopath understands and respects this. We listen to the body and allow it to guide us in helping it to find its perfect homeostasis or balance.

Based on the body of knowledge accumulated by medical science over the years the osteopathic physician attends to the patient as they actually are. He does not consider them as sick, damaged, diseased. He knows that Health is not the absence of symptoms. Health is a Force which is always finding our perfect balance in every situation no matter how stressful.

The osteopath seeks Health. We do not concentrate on "disease". The body doesn't know it has a problem. It just knows that in this situation it, too, desires balance. The osteopath uses his trained hands and well honed understanding of human anatomy and function ( physiology) to support the system in its perfect balance.

It is quite simple. Osteopathy is just common sense applied to the practice of medicine.

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Learning and Relearning Osteopathy  Saturday, March 03, 2007

I recently returned from Orlando,Florida where I helped teach a five day course in Cranial Osteopathy for 21 physicians, residents and medical students. I have helped teach this course before and will be helping to teach a similar course in Tucson, Arizona in June, 2007.

Maybe you have had the experience of reading the same book more than once. I have done this several times. Each time, it seems, it is like reading a totally new book. Of course, it is me that has changed, not the book. It is not the same person reading the book.

It is the same thing with teaching and medical practice in general. Every time I help teach a course I experience it differently. This last time I was taking a lot of notes. Most of the students I had around me were sitting and quietly listening. Few were taking notes. When they were it was somewhat sparingly.

One of them leaned over and asked why I was taking so many notes. " I am so excited by what I am learning. I want to write down enough to jog my memory so that I can carry this back to my practice," I told him. He was surprised, he said, that someone who has been in practice for 17 years doing this work full-time would have so much to learn from what was billed as an introductory 40 - hour course. I explained to him that it is precisely because I do this on a daily basis that I find these lectures and presentations by my colleagues to be so valuable. They are sharing what they do. We are all supposedly doing the same thing but we are all doing it in our own unique ways. I find this amazingly creative and inspiring.

When I returned to the office I thought, My patients are in for a real treat! And, indeed, patient after patient related to me how satisfying these treatments were. I told them that I had learned things which enabled me to go deeper with what I was doing.

The human skull (cranium) is formed in cartilage and membrane. The base ( bottom) is formed by compressive forces in utero in cartilage. The rest (the vault) is formed in membrane. All of the 12 cranial nerves that come from the brain and which essentially control the rest of the body function exit the bottom of the skull via the membrane. The same goes for the blood supply to and from the brain.

Because the base of the skull is formed by compressive forces it can become very hard. Osteopaths can feel the relative hardness of the bones of the skull. The harder they are, especially in the base, the more problems that patient will have in many areas of life and body function. Using very gentle cranial manipulation I am able to get these areas of the skull to soften enough so that the patient can finally begin to really feel like a human being instead of someone who is trapped in an unyielding box.

Besides compressive in utero ( before birth) forces such hardness and jamming of cranial bones can also come about from traumas both physical and emotional. The release of this tension brings tremendous relief.

When I returned to my office I found several new patients both adult and children who had extremely hard heads. The work that I was able to do was immediately noticed by the patients. I know that these people will go on to do well.

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