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Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
July, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 07
Getting Comfortable With Postural Analysis
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
We all recognize the importance of getting our cars serviced regularly so they run at their optimal level. Not surprisingly, the same is true of the human body. In fact, there is a very useful car-related analogy we can use when it comes to describing postural analysis: front-end alignment and wheel balance.
The word posture is derived from the Latin verb ponere, meaning "to put or place." The word analysis comes from the Greek word analyein, meaning "to break up." Therefore, postural analysis is simply the process of "breaking up" the body to determine where it should be "put or placed." This article reviews body positioning for the purpose of taking a standing (static) postural analysis so you can custom-design your clients' therapy sessions.
When a vehicle's alignment is off, it manifests as uneven tread wear and loss of tire life. Likewise, when a car's tires are not balanced properly, ride quality is diminished, tire life is shortened, and bearings and shock-absorber performance suffer. When one's posture is off, the human body also experiences a range of problems: restricted range of motion, pain, organ dysfunction, and joint, tendon, ligament and muscle stress, to name a few.
The body, like tires, has an ideal position. It also must be balanced to run smoothly and last a long time. For a mechanic to assess and adjust the front end of a vehicle, they must first check wheel positioning for deviations from the norm. To do this, they set the wheels in a standard position and conduct an evaluation. In massage terms, this is the equivalent of taking a postural analysis. A mechanic's objective findings also are reported in terms we can relate to the body. For example, what the mechanic refers to as "toe-in or toe-out" is what we call "internal or external rotation." What a mechanic calls "camber," we call "tilt."
When we report to a mechanic that the tire tread on our vehicle is wearing unevenly and the steering wheel is vibrating, we have given our subjective complaints. The mechanic hears this complaint frequently and knows exactly what needs to be done. Before they can conduct their evaluation, however, they need to use the proper equipment to access and design a repair plan according to the car model's specifications.
In the same way, clients often make subjective complaints to us about headaches and neck and back pain. Just like a mechanic, we need to use the proper equipment to access and design a customized therapy session to meet each individual client's needs, focusing on both short- and long-term goals.
The "manufacturer specifications" for the human body include the anatomical planes that show us the ideal positioning of joints and bones. While individuals are not expected to be positioned perfectly, we want to facilitate the best posture possible through massage therapy. According to Muscles: Testing and Function, "Ideal skeletal alignment ... involves a minimal amount of stress and strain and is conducive to maximal efficiency of the body." Moreover, "the intersection of the sagittal and coronal midplanes of the body forms a line that is analogous to the gravity line. Around this line, the body is hypothetically in a position of equilibrium. Such a position implies a balanced distribution of weight, and a stable position of each joint. When viewing a posture in a standing [position], a plumb line is used to represent a line of reference. ... Since the only fixed point in the standing posture is at the base where the feet are in contact with the floor, the point of reference must be at the base," or the foundation of the body.1
Whether you work in spa, clinic, medical office, fitness center or some other venue, there are certain things you must do to conduct an effective postural analysis.
Postural Analysis Checklist
[ ] Hang a plumb bob approximately 3 feet in front of a postural analysis grid chart. The plumb bob should be approximately a quarter inch off the floor.
[ ] The client should be:
[ ] Position the feet in relation to the plumb line:
Now, stand a few feet back from the plumb line. Using a digital camera, move from side to side (right to left) until the plumb line is lined up with the center line of the grid chart. Take a photo of the client and make any necessary notes for your objective findings.
We all know the saying "A picture is worth a thousand words." In images #1 and #3, it's easy to see how the right shoulder is higher then the left. We see the torso and head are to right of the mid-saggital plane. In the image (#4 and #6), it's easy to see the forward head posture and the right shoulder posterior to the coronal plane. These deviations have numerous origins. A muscle-movement chart will help quickly determine which muscles are shortened and which ones are lengthened, helping you design a customized treatment plan.
There are many advantages of taking postural photos including:
When you take the time to administer a precise posture evaluation for your clients and devise a customized treatment plan, you will gain their respect and earn a reputation as a top massage therapist. Your clients also will appreciate how you utilized the information to educate them.
Don't let the idea of conducting a postural analysis intimidate you. There are many things we do every day that we once learned to do for the first time. Once you get comfortable with posture, it will be easier to think about each client as an individual and know how to develop special treatment plans for each person. Over time, posture analysis becomes easy - second nature. You just need to start doing it.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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