resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
March, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 03
Clinical Reasoning Skills
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
In the health care arena, assessment is commonly defined as the systematic process of gathering information in order to make informed decisions about treatment. We all do this any time we make a decision about how much pressure to use, which technique to employ, or how to address a particular problem presented by a client.What is different is the degree to which we use these assessment skills. As massage therapists become more involved in treating people, the process of assessment becomes increasingly important. You must be able to distinguish between conditions with similar symptoms and make vital decisions about how to approach a client's condition, or determine whether to treat the condition at all.
There are numerous systems of assessment for pain and injury conditions that share common elements, including the use of specialized orthopedic tests. These tests are used by different types of health care professionals to identify various pathological problems. Since different health professionals utilize the same tests, communication between multiple practitioners regarding the condition of a client/patient is easier. However, while these tests are a valuable part of the assessment process, a common trap can occur when using them. The trap occurs when too much emphasis is placed on using tests over other methods of assessment and evaluation. For example, if a client complains of shoulder pain, and you know about special orthopedic tests for shoulder disorders, it is a common fallacy to run through these tests to see if you can find the nature of the client's problem. This is still a shotgun approach. What is missing is an essential element of the assessment process: clinical reasoning.
When first learning about a subject, the information is often divided into separate facts or concepts. It is only after achieving a greater degree of mastery in the subject that people organize this information into usable patterns. Studies that have investigated the difference between the way experts and novices present information have found that experts put together more patterns of information, while novices tend to gather more separate details, many of which may be irrelevant to accomplishing the final task or skill they are learning. This aspect of learning and processing information is essential in assessment and clinical reasoning processes, and can be well-illustrated in the following example.
When a client complains of shoulder pain and describes the common symptoms, the practitioner must determine what information is relevant and how to proceed in the evaluation process. If the statements are considered separately, they may not lead to essential clues about the nature of the condition. This is often where the practitioner jumps to the use of several tests to see if he or she can hit on the "right condition"; however, the more skillful practitioner will pick up on statements during the initial intake and begin to form patterns. This practitioner will see connections between various signs and symptoms, and the further line of inquiry will almost lead itself in many cases. The art of reasoning is the ability to see these patterns of connection; therefore, the challenge is learning how to perfect those skills and see the patterns.
Consider the job of a detective. When investigating a crime, the detective must pick up on clues and determine which ones are important (and which ones are not). The ability to discriminate between the two can be difficult. The best way to make this choice is through a combination of subject-matter knowledge and experience.
For clinical practitioners, the more we know about various pathological problems, the wider the base of information we can draw from when searching for relevant clues. At the beginning, it will be difficult to know which clues are relevant - this is where experience comes into play. After seeing similar conditions a number of times, we develop an experiential background against which we can see similar patterns and recognize which cases are similar to others we have worked with before. As we combine our knowledge and experience, we are able to more accurately and quickly find the nature of a client's complaint.
The more skilled you become in clinical reasoning, the easier and faster the assessment process will be. Therefore, as you learn about assessment and range of motion evaluations, muscle tests, or specialized orthopedic tests, always think about why you are using a particular procedure, instead of just going through the motions. The more you understand why you are doing what you are doing, the more you will contribute to your ability to see these patterns within the clinical evaluation process, and significantly improve your skills.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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