resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
March, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 03
Manual Resistive Tests
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Many practitioners learned how to perform simple assessment procedures, such as active or passive range-of-motion, in their basic training. However, despite their exposure to these concepts, many massage practitioners don't realize the tremendous amount of information that can be derived from these simple procedures when they are performed correctly.In this article, let us focus our attention on the manual resistive test (MRT) and the valuable information we can derive from this procedure.
The MRT may also be referred to as a resisted isometric contraction, or simply as muscle testing. The primary purpose of this procedure is to investigate the nature of problems with muscles and tendons, those tissues that are actively involved in the contraction process. A MRT is performed by having the client attempt to engage in a muscle contraction against some resistance (usually offered by the practitioner). Figure 1 shows an example of a MRT for abduction of the shoulder. The practitioner offers resistance to the client's attempt to abduct the shoulder. This is accomplished by placing a hand near the client's elbow and preventing the client from abducting any farther.
The most valuable information in MRTs comes from combining information derived from the test with that derived from the other procedures. For example, if a client has pain during active motion and no pain during passive motion, you might suspect a problem with the muscle tendon unit. We can validate our suspicion with a MRT. It is likely that the client will have the same pain when a MRT is done, because it is also using the muscle tendon unit. Since a MRT consists of restricting motion at the joint, it is unlikely that the pain is originating from a joint pathology that involves tissues such as the joint capsule, ligaments, bursa, or any of the other inert tissues of the joint. An inert tissue is one that does not actively cause a contraction, such as the joint capsule or nerve.
Often a client will describe a motion that hurts, such as lifting the arm out to the side of the body while carrying a weight. For example, the client may describe that carrying a heavy briefcase causes shoulder pain. In an effort to hold the briefcase away from the legs, the shoulder is attempting to abduct slightly. When you perform an active range of motion in abduction, the client reports that it does not hurt. When you perform a passive motion in abduction, the client also reports that it doesn't hurt. This seems puzzling.
Why does it hurt when the client attempts to abduct the arm with the briefcase, but not in your office during the evaluation? The difference is the absence of weight (resistance) in the arm. The briefcase is acting as an additional resistance when the client is holding it away from the body. This is a perfect chance to use a manual resistive test to validate your suspicions. If you have this client attempt to abduct the arm against resistance, the client will describe the same pain as when lifting the briefcase.
What we see here is a common pattern. The muscle injury is not severe enough to be perceived when the client is only lifting up the weight of the arm. However, when overcoming additional resistance (applied by the therapist or the briefcase), the pain is evident. This indicates a lower level of injury to the muscle tendon unit. The pain can be felt when there is greater demand on the muscle fibers, but not when the demand is low, such as lifting the arm by itself.
Another factor that is very important to consider when using MRTs is what the information from the test actually means. For example, what might be the problem if your client reports pain during a manual resistive test? A frequent error of many practitioners is misinterpreting the results of a MRT. If there is pain during a manual resistive test, it is likely that there is a problem with the muscle tendon unit. However, the nature of that problem still needs to be identified. Practitioners like massage therapists who spend a great deal of time dealing with myofascial trigger points and muscular tension may jump to the conclusion that a myofascial trigger point is the cause of pain during a MRT. Myofascial trigger points often do not cause pain with a MRT. They are much more likely to be painful when you press directly on the trigger point itself.
The primary causes of pain with a MRT usually involve a disruption in the fibers of a muscle-tendon unit, such as a muscle strain, tendinitis, or tenosynovitis. Information that is derived during the client history and palpation of the primary region of pain will help verify suspicions as to the cause of the pain. While the manual resistive test is a simple procedure to perform, its value in identifying numerous musculoskeletal problems should not be underestimated.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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