resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
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.
January, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 01
Recognizing Baker's Cysts
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
The practice of massage therapy helps develop outstanding palpation skills for the practitioner. One of the great advantages of improved palpation skills is the ability to identify structural abnormalities under the skin before the client might be aware of a problem even existing. Many of these structural abnormalities may not even be painful. It is still important to be aware of those that are not painful because they may be an indication of an underlying pathology that could cause problems later on.
One such condition that may be evident during massage of the lower extremity is a fluid-filled cyst called a Baker's cyst or popliteal cyst that develops in the posterior knee region. Most Baker's cysts are benign, but they can cause pain and are frequently an indication of other pathologies so it is important to properly identify them.
Baker's cysts are the most common cysts found around the knee and the most common cysts lined with a synovial membrane anywhere in the body. They develop posterior to the knee joint and are usually found directly behind the medial femoral condyle between the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle and the semimembranosus tendon. The cyst fills with fluid and becomes a palpable mass in the proximal posterior calf.
Baker's cysts may develop for a number of different reasons, but the cause is not always clear. There seems to be a correlation between the development of a Baker's cyst and the presence of other knee pathologies. For example, these cysts routinely occur after conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, meniscal tears, cruciate ligament tears, or osteochondritis dissecans have occurred in the knee. The reason they develop after these conditions is not entirely clear, but since the lining of the cyst is intimately connected with the joint capsule of the knee, irritation of the capsular tissues may have something to do with it.
The Baker's cyst has another interesting structural feature. Examination of the cyst reveals there is a one-way valve system that communicates between the capsule and the cyst. The cyst develops as a fluid-filled pouch of capsular tissue, but there is not a free exchange of fluid between the cyst and the internal knee structures. The one-way valve only lets fluid pass from the internal knee joint into the cyst. This is one reason for so much fluid accumulating in the area. As fluid develops within the cyst, it may press on other structures in the region and produce pain. Presence of the cyst behind the knee is also likely to prevent full flexion of the knee and may cause some discomfort or limitation to full extension.
There are a number of fluid-filled cysts that occur in different regions of the body, such as the ganglion cysts found around the wrist. A primary focus of treatment for these cysts is aspiration, or drawing the fluid out of the cyst. With Baker's cysts, aspiration is not performed because the fluid is much thicker and can't be drawn through the narrow diameter of a needle during aspiration. Treatment usually relies on conservative approaches such as rest from offending activities, thermal therapies including both ice and heat, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS). The rationale for some of these approaches, such as heat or ice, is not entirely clear and is rarely given.
Since the Baker's cyst is often the result of some other pathology associated with the knee joint, it is important to address that underlying pathology. In many cases, the Baker's cyst will resolve on its own if the original problem can be resolved.
There is no benefit to treating a Baker's cyst with massage. Because it is a fluid-filled mass with a one-way valve, mechanical pressure on the cyst will not do anything to help the fluid move out of it and may, in fact, irritate the problem further. Most massage practitioners are cautious about pressure to the posterior knee region due to other delicate neurovascular structures in the region. This caution is warranted, as pressure behind the knee can damage these tissues.
Sometimes, more advanced practitioners may attempt treatment of some of the important muscles in this region, such as the popliteus and plantaris. Because the bellies of these muscles are only in the posterior knee region, they are difficult to treat in any other way. Putting further pressure on a Baker's cyst in this region could occur when attempting to treat one of these deeper knee muscles, and could aggravate the cyst. However, the palpatory skills of the massage practitioner frequently help to identify the tissue abnormality so the person can be referred to someone who can more accurately identify and treat the problem. Other conditions such as deep-vein thrombosis or popliteal aneurysms can also produce similar symptoms, and these problems are all serious enough to warrant referral to another specialist.
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.