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The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Let's Speak With One Voice in 2015
For the longest time, the chiropractic profession has attempted to achieve some form of unity. On a political level, this was characterized by an ultimately unsuccessful two-year merger effort between ACA and ICA leadership from 1986-1988.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
Leaving Footprints on Capitol Hill: Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Luedtke (1930-2014)
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Luedtke.
Connecting the Dots
In 2002, I published a book on patient examination procedures that included information on the procedural coding of the recommended examinations. The book should have been published in 2000, but I had trouble finding a publisher. Why?
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
Unlevel Pelvis in the High-School Athlete: Exploring Causes and Effects
The unlevel pelvis is all too common in the high-school athlete and if not detected, will likely cause a lifetime of musculoskeletal issues. Any provider who doesn't look for this common finding is missing critical information.
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic health.
Mind-Body in Motion
A central goal of low back pain treatment involves the correction of dysfunctional movement patterns believed to be responsible for spinal overload.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Help Your Parents Stay Engaged
As much as parents may wish it were so, children do not come with an instruction manual. There's no "how to" that can be followed and no two children are alike, so what works with one generally won't work with the next.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
August, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 08
Trigger Points and Treatment of the Serratus Posterior Superior
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
Trigger points in the serratus posterior superior frequently cause pain near or under the shoulder blades, or in other regions throughout the upper extremities. This article will discuss ways to identify trigger-point patterns in the serratus posterior superior, as well as provide tips for treating the area.
Symptoms: Pain from the serratus posterior superior is often described as a constant "deep ache" under the upper portion of the scapula. Pain can extend down the posterior aspect of the shoulder and arm to the ulnar side of the forearm, hand and little finger (Fig. 1). It sometimes manifests as numbness into the C8-T1 distribution of the hand.
The pain often increases when the patient performs movement that causes the scapula to press against the trigger points of the serratus posterior superior. Movements include lifting objects with outstretched hands, such as placing dishes or other objects on a shelf. Sleeping on the same side can also cause the scapula to press against the trigger points.
Perpetuating Factors: To determine if the serratus posterior superior is involved in producing a patient's pain, it is important for therapists to make use of the tools at their disposal, including intake forms, questionnaires, postural analysis, trigger-point charts and physical assessment. Once it has been determined that serratus posterior superior is involved, you will be able to develop a treatment plan.
Common causes of trigger points in the serratus posterior superior muscles include illness and certain movements and postures. According to Simons and Travell, "Trigger points in the serratus posterior superior muscles are activated by overload of the thoracic respiratory effort because of coughing...and by paradoxical breathing (use of diaphragm and abdominal muscles out of phase)."1
Trigger points in the region can also be brought on by poor movements and postures caused by "sitting for long periods writ-ing at a high desk or table, when the shoulders are elevated and rotated forward to permit the arms to reach the high surface; repeatedly reaching to the rear of a high work surface...and protrusion of the thorax against the scapula by scoliosis," among other things.1 However, "scalene trigger points may mimic, in part, the pain pattern of the serratus posterior superior [Fig. 2]. The neck should always be examined for scalene trigger points if a trigger point is found in the serratus posterior superior."2
Anatomy: The serratus posterior superior is cover by two layers of muscle. The superficial layer is formed by the trapezius. The second layer is formed by the rhomboid minor that covers the upper half of the serratus posterior superior and the rhomboid major that covers the lower half. (Fig. 1)
The serratus posterior superior attaches at midline to the lower portion of the ligament nuchae, the spinous processes of the C6-T2 vertebrae and the intervening interspinous ligaments. The muscle fibers run at an approximately 45-degree angle, inferiorly and laterally, to attach on the 2nd-5th ribs. The lateral portion of the serratus posterior superior is covered by the scapula. (Fig. 1)
The serratus posterior superior also crosses over two muscles of the erector spinae group: the longissimus thoracis and iliocostalis thoracis. Some describe the serratus posterior superior and serratus posterior inferior acting as retinacular tissue directly super-ficial to the erector spinae; functionally this would help increase the force generated by the erector spinae.
Function: The serratus posterior superior raises the ribs to which it attaches, subsequently expanding the chest and aiding respiration. Other muscles that act synergistically with the serratus posterior superior include the scalenes, diaphragm, intercostals and levator costae muscles.
Treatment: It may be difficult for you to palpate any trigger points or taut bands of tissue in the serratus posterior superior muscle because it is covered by skin, adipose, and the trapezius and rhomboid muscles. If referred phenomena like pain, burning or tingling are present, it is likely that you have located a trigger point. Pay attention to pressure, as these areas can be painful. Patients who reflexively pull away, hold their breath or clench their teeth are acting out protective responses. In these situations, you should immediately decrease pressure, leave the area for a few minutes, then return using less pressure.
If you have applied oil or lotion, your fingers will slide when attempting to apply a friction technique. Place a tissue or linen on the skin first then apply the technique through the tissue. Treat the muscle attachments at midline along the lateral aspects of the spinous processes from C6-T2 (Fig. 3).
To treat the muscle attachments on the 2nd-5th ribs, abduct the scapulae and move it laterally to uncover the entire serratus posterior superior. Use with fiber and cross-fiber friction movements to release the rib attachments. (Fig. 4) Apply lubrication and glide on the muscle belly using multidirectional movements to ensure thorough treatment.
Education: Postural analysis photos can help display stresses on the muscle from poor posture. Use trigger point charts to show pain referral patterns, especially those which display the muscles in columns, superficial to deep. This makes it easy to show clients the layers of muscle you must work through to address the condition.
Review proper breathing techniques with patients and become familiar with their activities of daily living. Review proper ergonomics so that they can prevent the perpetuation or return of their symptoms.
The serratus posterior superior muscle is quick and easy to treat. This article reinforces the key information necessary to ensure a thorough treatment.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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