resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.