resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
April, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 04
How Should We Teach Assessment?
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are some of the most commonly occurring causes of pain and disability in this country. They are treated by a wide variety of practitioners, and many people with them seek the care of someone other than a physician.Consequently, massage therapy is frequently used to address this wide array of pain and injury problems.
Proper treatment of any MSD begins with identifying the underlying problem. It is only then that we can determine if we should even be working on this client. If the practitioner has determined that a MSD exists for which massage treatment would be helpful, s/he must then determine which techniques or approaches to use with the client that should be helpful. The way to make this determination is through proper and accurate assessment.
Information may be gathered in many different forms, systems or structures yet they all have several elements in common. A thorough assessment includes detailed information from the client history, observable characteristics of the client and his/her condition, as well as specific methods of physical examination.
Some practitioners shy away from any organized framework for their assessment process, stating instead that intuition guides them. Others may state they do assessment solely through what they feel in their hands. While these are very important skills and may work well for basic relaxation massage approaches, they don't provide information necessary to make appropriate clinical decisions about treating MSDs. If I had an illness or injury and went to see a physician, I wouldn't want that doctor to evaluate me based on intuition or palpation alone. Likewise, many MSDs are complex and we must engage in a more comprehensive process when evaluating them.
There are some misconceptions about what assessment entails. Some feel it is just evaluating a client's range of motion. Evaluating range of motion is important, but you must know more than your client has a limitation in a certain motion, such as abduction of the shoulder. You must do what you can to find out why that limitation exists. Others state that assessment is mainly the use of special orthopedic tests like the Phalen's test for evaluating carpal tunnel syndrome. Memorization and use of various orthopedic tests is helpful, but only when used in their proper contexts. Simply memorizing these tests does not make you effective at assessment any more than memorizing the alphabet makes you a writer.
Assessment and Learning Theory
Learning theorists have developed classifications of how we learn that describe increasing levels of complexity. One of the most common classifications still used today is Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, first published in the mid-1950s. In this classification, Bloom and his colleagues described six levels of increasing cognitive complexity: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
The lowest levels, knowledge and comprehension, involve rote memorization. While memorization has its usefulness, it should not be the primary goal of our educational objectives. Unfortunately, most educational environments do not go past this level and assume that "learning" has occurred because an individual is able to achieve a specific score on a test that emphasizes rote memorization and, too often, little else.
The problem with this approach is that it doesn't reflect clinical reality at all. In the clinic room, the practitioner is faced with situations where memorization of facts still leaves you pondering as to what your client's primary complaint really is. In order to get past this point you must use the higher levels of the taxonomy - analysis, synthesis and evaluation. These abilities are developed through practical application of clinical reasoning activities in the learning process. Assessment is a complex procedure of clinical reasoning that has to use these higher cognitive functions in order to be even minimally effective.
Consequently, if we want to teach assessment skills in the way they will be eventually used in practice, we have to radically alter the way they are initially presented. In order to do this we have to get away from trying to have students find the "right" answer all the time. In many cases there isn't one "right" answer. There are several different paths and they each take us in different directions that may produce a good clinical reasoning process. Therefore, to accomplish this goal we must create educational activities that encourage a degree of cognitive uncertainty and encourage the practitioner to go through the reasoning process to figure a problem out. It is only through this kind of practice that these skills are developed.
So, when learning assessment, don't get stuck on trying to memorize a large group of special orthopedic tests or performing range-of-motion evaluations and call that your assessment. You must look at the entire picture of gathering information from the client's story and physical examination, process the importance of what you have found out, and construct a model for explaining your findings. When you can do this, you have moved into the higher levels of cognitive complexity, used advanced assessment strategies, and performed a much more thorough service in seeking care for your clients.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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