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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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
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.
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.
November, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 11
Subscapularis: Overlooked and Undertreated
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
The subscapularis is an often neglected and/or undertreated cause of posterior shoulder pain with restricted range of motion (ROM). According to Travell and Simons, "Differential diagnosis of subscapularis TrPs includes C7 radiculopathy, thoracic outlet syndrome, adhesive capsulitis and 'impingement syndrome.'" In this article, I will review how you can determine when the subscapularis muscle is responsible for causing shoulder pain and restricted ROM, as well as review its anatomy, function, trigger-point patterns and treatment options.
Intake and health history forms will help you identify some common factors that may contribute to the formation and perpetuation of trigger points, as well as the shortening of the subscapularis muscle. According to Travell and Simons, some of these factors include the following:
Taking a photo of your client in front of a postural-analysis grid chart is an effective method of evaluating, documenting, educating and ultimately showing a client their postural progress over a series of treatments. For example, a constant slumped, forward-head, adducted-scapulae posture will perpetuate trigger points and the shortening of muscles, such as the subscapularis, by continually keeping the humerus in a position of medial rotation.1 (Figure 1)
Trigger Points: When trigger points are present in the subscapularis muscle, they produce referred pain "in the posterior deltoid area ...down the posterior aspect of the arm, and then skip to a band around the wrist."1 (Figure 2) Remember that referred pain is a symptom; we want to address the cause. So intake forms, postural analysis evaluations, range-of-motion and orthopedic assessments, and being familiar with trigger-point patterns are all helpful to designing and implementing a customized therapy plan. But treating a trigger point is only part of the solution. We need to avoid a recurrence in the future. It is therefore necessary to demonstrate to your client which muscles need more lengthening and which ones need more strengthening so that all of the joints are properly aligned and moving through their full range of motion.
Anatomy: The subscapularis is one of four muscles that make up the rotator cuff, along with the supraspinatus, infraspinatous and the teres minor muscles. In my dissection seminars, I always highlight the subscapularis, which is the most anterior of the rotator cuff muscles. (Figure 2) It is a thick triangular muscle that attaches medially on the anterior or costal surface of the scapula on the subscapular fossa; it forms part of posterior wall of the axialla. Laterally, it attaches on the lesser tubercle of the humerus and the lower half of the shoulder joint capsule.
Actions: The subscapularis is primarily responsible for medially rotating and adducting the arm. It also helps to hold the humeral head in the glenoid cavity. To check for shortening in the subscapularis it is necessary to evaluate both abduction and external rotation.
Abduction: According to Travell and Simons, when evaluating a shoulder with restricted abduction, it is first necessary to determine if the restriction is being caused by the inability of the scapula to move on the rib cage, the humerus to properly articulate in the shoulder (glenohumeral) joint, or a combination of the two.1 The difference can be easily determined by placing your hands on the client's scapula to prevent its movement while asking the client to abduct their humerus. (Figure 3) When the subscapularis is involved, it restricts glenohumeral movements like abduction and lateral rotation, but it does not restrict scapular movements on the rib cage. If scapular movements are restricted, it is necessary to evaluate muscles that run from the torso to the scapulae, such as the pectoralis minor, serratus anterior, trapezius and the rhomboids.1
Lateral Rotation: When checking lateral rotation at the shoulder, adduct the arm by placing the elbow at the side. Then bend the elbow 90 degrees to show the amount of rotation at the shoulder joint. (Figure 4) The arm should be able to laterally rotate 90 degrees. In addition to the subscapularis, other synergistic muscles such as the teres major, latismus dossi and pectoralis major also adduct and medially rotate the arm. These muscles must also be evaluated and treated. Keep in mind that the antagonistic muscles are weak and over-lengthened, so they need strengthening. Muscle movement charts can aid in quickly identifying the muscles involved and show the normal range of motion for the muscles and joints being evaluated. (Figure 5)
Treating the Subscapularis: While there are many different approaches to treating the belly of the subscapularis muscle, I find one particularly effective. However, some clients may only be able to tolerate static pressure versus movements with this method, such as with-fiber or cross-fiber techniques.
Before the session ends, advise your client that they will receive the most benefit from your therapy session by actively engaging in self-care stretching techniques, such as the doorway stretch, which will further help improve muscle length, and create and maintain balance in the shoulder. (Figure 10)
You have now identified several factors associated with subscapularis pain and discomfort with the help of assessment aids and tools such as intake forms, charts and postural analysis photos. Continue to study and broaden your skills with hands-on seminars and DVD programs. You can share your tips and experiences in the treatment room by dropping me a line at .
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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