resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
April, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 04
A Reflexogenic Relationship: The Muscle/Joint Battle, Part 1
By Erik Dalton, PhD
Reflexogenic - Producing or increasing reflex actions between muscles and joints.
Myoskeletal - All soft tissues forming from the mesoderm including muscles, ligaments, joint capsules, discs, fascia and bones.
Surprisingly, the "key" that unlocked the door to this muscle/joint mystery initially was revealed in a presentation to the American Back Association by the legendary osteopath Dr. Philip Greenman when he stated, "In the presence of vertebral dysfunction, palpable fourth-layer muscle hypertonicity will always be found." The fourth-layer transversospinalis muscles include the rotatores, multifidus, levator costalis and intertransversarii (Fig. 1). These phylogenetically old laminar-groove muscles are the first structures neurologically stressed by joint blockage, and often are the very same tissues that prolong the dysfunction.
Working with the understanding contained in Greenman's statement, the massage therapist can maximize therapeutic outcomes by:
Under normal conditions, the superior vertebra of each joint smoothly flexes, extends, sidebends and rotates on its inferior neighbor. Too often, however, hypertonically short spinal muscles bind one side of a joint altering its axis of rotation and center of gravity (Fig. 2). When therapists continually palpate lumpy, stringy or wiry fourth-layer intrinsic muscles session after session, underlying joint dysfunction is present and must be addressed.
According to John Mennell, MD, all of the body's synovial joints must have at least 1/8 inch of movement not controlled by voluntary muscle contraction. The term "joint play" was coined to describe this essential principle of normal, pain-free, non-restricted vertebral movement. Deep-tissue myoskeletal techniques focus on restoring joint play and stopping the reflexogenic battle between muscles and joints.
This article offers an overview of current theories and myoskeletal strategies for preventing and correcting "catch 22" pain/spasm/pain cycles perpetuated by abnormal muscle/joint reflex actions.
Fourth-Layer Spinal Muscles
Working through the bulky paravertebral muscles and fascia, bodyworkers' sensitive fingers frequently encounter small, hard and sometimes tender knots in the deep transversospinalis muscles of the erector spinae group. These highly innervated tissues located in the medial groove adjacent to the spinous processes contribute to rotation, sidebending and extension in each spinal segment. According to Greenman, "Fourth-layer muscles are dense in spindles and function more as proprioceptors than prime movers. When dysfunctional, they alter joint mechanics locally and alter the behavior of the larger muscles of the erector spinae group." Therefore, muscles such as the multifidus and rotatores (and suboccipitals) are perceived as dynamic ligaments designed to stabilize the spine. Acting as supporting, information-gathering ligaments, they allow the brain to coordinate more gross movements of the vertebral column via longer-lever muscles that have greater leverage and mechanical advantage.
The power generated by short fourth-layer spinal muscles is easily underestimated. These highly innervated little critters readily pack enough punch to lock spinal joints open or closed with their strong torsional forces (Fig. 3). Holding a telephone with the shoulder to one ear is a perfect example in which prolonged cervicothoracic sidebending unilaterally compresses joint surfaces, creating reflex transversospinalis and erector spinae spasm. This predictable neurological firing pattern represents the beginning of many functional scoliotic cases seen in the clinic. However, specially designed deep-tissue massage techniques can be very effective in releasing hypertonic myofascia and recovering joint play to fixated facets. Regrettably, some of the tightest transversospinalis muscles are buried deep to more superficial groove muscles such as the multifidus and spinalis, making it difficult and sometimes impossible to mobilize them with fingers and thumbs (Fig. 4). So, how can massage therapists access and release short, concealed spinal muscles that bind joints and perpetuate aberrant pain and posture problems? In part two of the "Reflexogenic Relationship" series, I will demonstrate innovative soft tissue techniques for creating joint-play in fixated facets.
Editor's Note: Part two of Erik Dalton's article, along with a complete list of references, will appear in the May 2006 issue of Massage Today.
Click here for more information about Erik Dalton, PhD.
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