resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
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.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
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.
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.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
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.
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.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
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.
July, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 07
Why Should I Learn Assessment?
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the most pervasive health care issues in the United States. These conditions include a wide array of soft-tissue problems such as strains, tendinosis, sprains, myofascial trigger points, nerve entrapment, and the ever-present host of biomechanical problems resulting from chronic muscle tightness.MSDs are the second most common reason for seeing a family practice physician, with infectious conditions like the common cold being first.1 It's interesting that even with the high incidence of MSDs in our medical system, their importance as a health care concern seems undervalued.
Many different medical disciplines are involved in the treatment of MSDs. Orthopedists are the specialists whose primary focus is on disorders of the musculoskeletal system. However, most orthopedists' practices are limited to more serious conditions, such as those that might require surgical intervention. Consequently, the large majority of physician visits for MSDs are handled by family practice physicians.
MSDs account for millions of office visits with physicians each year. Yet most people would be astonished to realize that medical school training for most physicians does not prepare them to address these disorders at all. In fact, almost half of the medical schools in the U.S. do not require any clinical or basic musculoskeletal course prior to graduation.2
The lack of training in musculoskeletal medicine has been reflected in physician knowledge in several other studies as well. Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin and her colleagues administered a basic cognitive examination on musculoskeletal medicine to 334 medical students, residents and staff physicians.3 Seventy-nine percent of the participants failed the exam. The most common reason given for the lack of confidence in performance by the participants was that their training in musculoskeletal medicine was inadequate.
Adding to the problem of training deficiencies in musculoskeletal medicine, traditional Western medical care has not had a great track record when it comes to effectiveness in treating the plethora of MSDs. The ineffectiveness of many treatments could result from the deficiencies in training and preparation. However, it's more likely due to the fact that these conditions are largely functional, soft-tissue disorders that do not respond well to drugs or surgery, the two primary treatment tools of most physicians.
Ineffective results in traditional medical treatment for MSDs have driven millions of Americans to seek better care through complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches, such as massage therapy. In their comprehensive 1998 study on alternative medicine use in the U.S., Eisenberg noted that there were an estimated 114 million visits to massage therapists each year.4 This number is likely to be higher in the coming years with the increasing popularity of massage. A study on the practice patterns of massage therapists in 2005 found that about 60 percent of visits to massage therapists each year were for musculoskeletal symptoms.5 That means a conservative estimate would suggest more than 68 million office visits to massage therapists each year to address MSDs! This number is likely to increase significantly with the aging of the baby boomer population.
Like our physician counterparts, we have gaps and deficiencies in our basic training related to MSDs. While there are a host of continuing education opportunities available for massage therapists that teach advanced skills and techniques, the large majority of these courses focus on treatment techniques. Consequently, we have all kinds of opportunities to learn how to manipulate the soft tissues in various ways to improve our outcomes. Yet, there are few training opportunities that help us develop the cognitive evaluation and reasoning skills that help us figure out the nature of our client's complaint. Wouldn't it make sense to expend appropriate effort properly identifying the nature of these MSDs?
Assessment is the systematic process of gathering information in order to make informed decisions about treatment. We must be able to tell if the client's condition is something that should be referred to another health professional or if it's something we can address. If we decide the client's condition is something that can be treated with massage, our use of all those treatment techniques we have learned will be far more effective if we understand why we are doing what we are doing. That is what assessment is all about. With more than 68 million office visits to massage therapists each year to address MSDs, shouldn't we also be looking at what we can do to best serve our clients? Massage therapy has tremendous potential to fill this critical gap of care for MSDs in the U.S. health care system, but as responsible health care providers, we really must know what we are doing. Learning and practicing effective client assessment is a key step in this process.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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