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News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
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.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
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.
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.
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.
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!
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
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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