resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
September, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 09
Common Structural Oddities in the Human Body
By Neal Cross, PhD, NCTMB
There are a number of common anatomic variations and developmental changes related to aging. Some of these structural "oddities" can be mistakenly interpreted as abnormalities, or worse, a neoplastic disease of some sort.Usually these anatomic variations are nothing more than the result of normal developmental changes, daily activity patterns, or some genetic-based multivariate characteristic. Examples of each of these will now be discussed.
One common phenomenon is the presence of "extra" muscles or absence of common muscles. Perhaps the most well-known variation in this category is the palmaris longus in the anterior compartment of the forearm. This muscle lies superficial to the flexor digitorum superficialis and is roughly in the exact center of the forearm. Its tendon is long and thin and travels over the carpal tunnel to blend with the palmar fascia. You can easily determine if you have one or both muscles by flexing your wrist against resistance and looking for the prominent centrally located tendon.
This muscle is absent about 11 % of the time either bilaterally or unilaterally. More interesting for our purposes here is the fact that the position of the muscle belly can vary quite dramatically. The small muscle belly is usually situated proximally along with the muscle mass of the common forearm and digital flexors. Occasionally, however, the muscle belly of palmaris longus is situated distally just proximal to the flexor retinaculum. In this position it can be confusing. No muscle should be there -- what is wrong with this person? Nothing's wrong; these are just thoughts that might run through the mind of the naïve examiner.
Another similar example is the peroneus (fibularis) tertius. This muscle is commonly present but very variable in its presentation. Arising from the extensor digitorum longus, it runs to the lateral aspect of the ankle and foot and attaches at any number of places, usually including the fifth metatarsal. Palpation in this region of the foot will lead one to discover nothing; a rather dramatic muscle mass; and everything else in between. Unless these sorts of variations are accompanied by other clinically significant findings, they are usually just the result of normal anatomic variation.
Recently in a palpatory anatomy course I teach, one of the students became concerned because of a large and significant bulge right in the middle of her fellow student's popliteal fossa. She called me over, and I examined the young healthy male. My first impulse was correct. After asking a number of questions related to his medical history, I learned that he had a third head of gastrocnemius. This is often referred to as the gastrocnemius tertius. It was particularly prominent in this muscular young male.
Just yesterday in my medical gross anatomy course, I had two students approach me somewhat concerned about unusual muscle masses in the anterior forearms. In the first case, a young healthy male showed me large bilateral masses just medial to the tendon of the palmaris longus and three fingerbreadths proximal to the flexor retinaculum. They certainly did not look pathological at all. I simply asked what he did that might lead to this dramatic hypertrophy of the medial sides of both the flexor digitorum superficialis and the flexor digitorum profundus. At first, he couldn't think of anything; then suddenly he said, "Lacrosse -- I played lacrosse." The repetition of "twirling" the stick led to the muscular hypertrophy we were observing.
Not 10 minutes later, a young woman approached me and showed me the exact same situation, only just on her right forearm. I jokingly asked if she played lacrosse with one arm. She looked puzzled. Then I explained the situation with her classmate; she then saw the humor. I asked her if there was anything unusual about daily activities. She immediately put together her "anomaly" with the fact that her job as a pharmacy technician required her to inject solutions out of a 30ml syringe into a container. This was done hours on end and resulted in the observed muscular hypertrophy. I have found that many if not most of the muscle "abnormalities" I have witnessed over the last 25 years are in this category.
Of course, not all palpatory findings that might concern someone involve muscles. Another very common tissue that can fool us is lymph nodes. Normally lymph nodes are very difficult to palpate unless they are inflamed or the site of neoplastic disease. There are some exceptions to this, however. The superficial inguinal nodes lying along the inguinal ligament and surrounding the cribrifrom fascia in the femoral triangle can sometimes be very large. I distinctly remember a young female student in palpatory anatomy who had herself and her fellow students in a fit over her lymph nodes. Not only were they readily palpable, they were visible! After calming the group down, I discussed variability of lymph nodes with them. It turns out that her inguinal nodes were the largest I had ever seen in a healthy individual, but as the conversation continued, the "patient" described an interesting situation. She had been concerned about these "bumps" for several years, but was too scared to have a physician check them out. Had they been pathological, this could have been a terrible mistake. Palpable nodes can sometimes be felt in the axilla. A physician should always check these in female patients, but by far the most common nodes I have palpated are associated with nearby insect bites (we do have plenty of mosquitoes in Maine) or a recent cold.
As an example of a dramatic developmental change that can lead to unnecessary concern, let us consider the xiphoid process. This structure is found at the inferior end of the sternum. It begins as a pliable cartilage structure with an osseous core. Upon palpation in the epigastric fossa, one can feel the xiphoid give against digital pressure. However, as we age, the bony core enlarges at the expense of the cartilage. This can lead to a structure that feels like a bone growth -- which it is -- but it is part of the normal aging process. I always try to remember to tell the students in my palpatory anatomy class to be wary of such changes in their more mature classmates.
I never tire of the rich variation I experience in the cadaver lab or in the palpation lab. I always try to pass on this experience to my students and clients.
Click here for previous articles by Neal Cross, PhD, NCTMB.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.