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Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
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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