resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
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.
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.
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.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
January, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 01
Leg Length Discrepancy and Low Back Pain
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for people to seek care from a massage therapist. Unfortunately, despite all our advances in knowledge, most health care researchers admit that we still don't know what causes many cases of back pain. There are numerous suspected causes and biomechanical dysfunction in the lumbopelvic region is a frequent culprit. One biomechanical factor that causes low back pain is a leg length discrepancy (LLD).
Several months ago, a discussion of bodywork began on Yahoo! Groups about the role of pelvic rotation and LLD. This discussion eventually carried me into debates and conversations with a number of experts across multiple disciplines about the role of LLD and lumbopelvic pain. Thus, my perspective was significantly changed about how to assess LLD and the role it plays in various soft-tissue disorders.
There are two types of LLD, structural and functional. It is important to distinguish between the two as they are treated differently. A structural LLD also is called a true leg length discrepancy and is considered a true or structural discrepancy because the cause is an actual length difference in the lower extremity bones (femur or tibia). Also, structural LLD usually is congenital. Small discrepancies between the length of bones on each side of the body are common, but the problem occurs when the difference in length is more pronounced (usually .5 to 1 inch difference is considered within normal limits).1 Surgeries, accidents or previous fractures are other causes that produce a structural LLD.
Structural LLDs are treated with a heel lift if they are not severe; severe cases can require surgery. Before getting a heel lift, it is important to determine that there is a true structural discrepancy and not a functional one. The most accurate way to identify a structural LLD is with a lower extremity X-ray that allows a comparison of bone measurement with the other side. If X-ray evaluation is not an option, a comparison of the measurement between bony landmarks on each side with a tape measure is another option, although it is somewhat less accurate. Visual evaluation, such as that pictured in Figure 2, is commonly used to evaluate LLDs, but is the least accurate.
A functional LLD is more common than the structural-discrepancy type, however its cause can be hard to determine. Functional LLDs occur when it appears that one leg may be longer than the other, but there is no significant difference in the length of the lower extremity bones. Instead, a postural distortion has caused one lower extremity to appear longer or shorter than the other.
Figure 1 shows an example of how a functional LLD occurs from tight lumbar muscles. This is a posterior view of our client. The client has a tight left quadratus lumborum muscle that has pulled the left iliac crest in a superior direction. When you evaluate the height of each iliac crest in a standing position it appears that the left side is higher. If this client were supine, it would appear that the left leg is shorter because the pelvis and lower extremity on the left side are being pulled in a superior direction by the tight quadratus lumborum.
Some functional LLDs are harder to evaluate than others. A number of clinicians suggest that an anterior innominate rotation can produce an LLD. The innominate is one half of the pelvis and includes the ilium, ischium and pubis on one side. Each innominate can rotate independently of the other. Therefore, you can have one innominate that is anteriorly rotated and one that is more posteriorly rotated. If the client is supine, the anteriorly rotated innominate may appear to push the femur in a distal direction. When you evaluate the two legs using a method such as a visual leg length comparison (Figure 2), the leg on the side of the anteriorly rotated innominate could appear longer.
The problem with this evaluation method occurs when the person stands up. When the individual places weight on the lower extremity it affects innominate rotation. The innominate rotation can't push the femur inferiorly when the person is standing because the lower extremity is bearing weight (you would have to push the lower extremity into the ground). So what happens to the innominate rotation? Some people say it stays as an anterior rotation and others say weight bearing causes a reverse (posterior) rotation of the innominate. However, there is very little biomechanical research on this issue to clarify what actually occurs.
Bearing weight does not change a functional LLD that is caused by a tight quadratus lumborum (Figure 1). When the individual stands upright, the pelvis still will appear high on the side of the apparent short leg. This apparent LLD remains because it is caused by the innominate on that side being pulled superiorly and not because a lower extremity is being pushed down in an inferior direction.
After consulting numerous resources and conversing with experts on this issue, it is clear that there is no consensus on what happens with functional LLDs caused by innominate rotation when the individual is weight bearing. Yet there is agreement that most functional LLDs that cause back pain are created by soft-tissue dysfunction and can be corrected by manual methods such as massage. Several good recommendations are provided in Erik Dalton's article on the "Short Leg Syndrome" in the November 2007 issue of
LLD, whether structural or functional, is an important contributor to lumbopelvic pain. What is still not clear is exactly how the mechanics of the sacroiliac joint, lumbar spine and hip directly cause specific pathological problems with an LLD. If there is a simple mechanical cause of pain there should be a strong correlation between the assessment of LLD and specific symptoms of lumbopelvic pain. Unfortunately, there is a poor relationship between evaluation methods for pelvic position and specific pain complaints.2,3 Additional research is highly needed to help us understand the complex biomechanics of this region and exactly what role innominate position or leg length play in lumbopelvic pain.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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