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The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
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 more information about Erik Dalton, PhD.
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