resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
May, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 05
A Reflexogenic Relationship: The Muscle/Joint Battle, Part 2
By Erik Dalton, PhD
Editor's Note: Part 1 of "A Reflexogenic Relationship: The Muscle/Joint Battle" appeared in the April 2006 issue of Massage Today. To access the online version, visit www.massagetoday.com/archives/2006/04/07.html.
Myoskeletal Muscle Manipulation Through Joint Mobilization
A confounding situation arises as the therapist's fingers attempt to pry between joint surfaces to contact the short rotators, intertransversarii, and intertransverse muscles.Although these tiny, one-joint rotators/side-benders typically are the tightest in the presence of joint dysfunction, application of direct localized pressure sometimes is impossible, given the limited space between articular surfaces. Here's when the myoskeletal technique comes in handy. The therapist utilizes sustained manual pressure on the superior fixated vertebra as the joint is taken through a specific range of motion. Basically, bones are used as levers to create a Golgi tendon organ (GTO) release in all fourth-layer muscles, causing the joint blockage. The question then arises as to the nature of the fixated joint: Is it locked, open or closed? And which side of the spine is stuck?
Using the myoskeletal approach, the therapist's fingers and thumbs wade through the paraspinal laminar groove tissues, scanning for lumpy, wiry and knotty transversospinalis muscles. Once the hypertonic little muscles are found, what information is revealed about the nature of the dysfunctional joint? Not much! By Greenman's definition, it's obvious that joint dysfunction exists, but what type? Is one side of the joint jammed closed and unable to open during forward bending, or is a superior facet not closing on the vertebra below during backward bending?
In Figure 5, the therapist's thumbs apply sustained pressure to the bony knot where the fibrosis was found, as the side-lying client flexes and extends the spine through the affected area using a chin-tucking enhancer. If the bony knot pushes back into the thumbs as flexion is introduced, the joint on the ipsilateral side is not opening. The joint's axis of rotation is forced to revolve around the fixated facets, causing the superior transverse process to push back against the therapist's thumbs. The thumbs hold a gentle, sustained headward pressure on the superior transverse process as the client flexes the chin toward his chest. This produces a GTO release in the deep groove muscles and stretches the fibrosed spinal ligaments and joint capsule, allowing the fixated facets to open. In the myoskeletal method, bones are only applied as levers to release adhesive spinal soft tissues that cannot be liberated directly with traditional deep-tissue techniques.
During the fourth-layer assessment, if the bony knot does not push back into the palpating thumbs or fingers as the client flexes through the area, the joint is not closing on the contralateral side. To free the hypertonic tissues preventing closure of the superior facets on their inferior neighbor, the client assumes a prone position. The therapist's fingers, thumbs or elbow slowly glide down each side of the lamina groove as the client rhythmically raises and lowers his head. In Figure 6, the therapist uses the elbow to traverse down the groove while the client extends and lowers his neck and upper thoracic spine. If a bony knot is palpated, the joint is not closing on the contralateral side. Gentle, sustained pressure (with client-enhancing movement) releases fibrotic groove muscles, joint capsules, and spinal ligaments, allowing the superior facets joints to glide inferiorly and close on the vertebra below.
Scope of Practice
As with all treatment protocols, exceptions occur that can render the myoskeletal method ineffective. Damaged joints often create stubborn fixations that cannot be released by working muscles alone. Vertebrae that have undergone adherent cartilage degradation, apophyseal joint swelling and facet "nipping" due to prolonged microtrauma, typically will not regain lost motion simply by releasing the fibrotic muscles, joint capsules and spinal ligaments. True adhesive joint-fixation problems point to a more serious condition. However, massage therapists who regularly work in conjunction with chiropractors and manipulative osteopaths can enhance therapeutic outcomes by "prepping" the affected area, so that high-velocity thrusting maneuvers are more effective. Manual therapists must develop a good complementary health care referral base so prompt referrals can occur if soft-tissue approaches do not alleviate all the client's pain and/or posture problems.
Combining muscle and joint modalities increases therapeutic efficiency and encourages referrals as therapists resolve stubborn, long-standing pain/spasm/pain cycles. By incorporating holistic-minded reflexogenic routines, today's touch therapist can help solve America's epidemic musculoskeletal pain crisis. Therapeutic outcomes are enhanced as assessment and treatment routines are expanded to include all soft tissues forming from the mesoderm, including muscles, fascia, joint capsules, spinal ligaments, nerve dura, and intervertebral discs.
Although myoskeletal therapy delves deep into body structures, the intent is still slow and sustained soft-tissue work combined with specific client-initiated enhancers, such as chin-tucking, eye movements, deep breathing, pelvic tilting, etc. The client's experience following a myoskeletal session should be one of invigoration, pain relief, increased range of motion and postural improvement. Bones are assessed and treated as soft tissues in the myoskeletal system, with pressure often applied directly to myofascia overlying transverse processes. It's of the utmost importance to stress that bones only are used as levers to release hard-to-access, fourth-layer muscles, ligaments and fibrotic joint capsules (much like frozen shoulder work). Therapists always must remember that joints should never be taken into a nonphysiologic range of motion, which remains outside the scope of practice for most massage and bodywork practitioners.
Click here for previous articles by Erik Dalton, PhD.
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