resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Three for One: The Cervical Distraction Test
Taking the time to do an exam is important, but it is time spent. The exam serves as a way to physically validate your clinical impression following a history and clinical consultation.
Animal Acupuncture Gaining in Popularity
We have just finished the year of the fire hoarse and now it is time to spend some time alone, daydreaming and thinking outside the box in terms of where our profession is headed. The sheep person is well organized and creative so this should not be difficult to do.
Fight Colorectal Cancer With Folic Acid
CRC is the second most common cause of cancer mortality in the U.S. and Canada. Although genetic susceptibility plays a role in the etiology of CRC, dietary factors, including certain vitamins, have also been shown to influence the development of the disease in various studies.
AWB Makes a Difference in the Yucatan
We are in the sleepy town of Izamal, located about an hour from the Merida airport where our group arrived last night. Later that morning, on a bus winding through the dusty roads of the Yucatan, fourteen acupuncturists, two facilitators from AWB and two tour guides make their way to the small rustic town of Popola.
Helping to Create the Healthiest Generation
The imperative to create the "Healthiest Generation by 2030," envisioned by the American Public Health Association (APHA), was in full force at the APHA's 142nd Annual Meeting held in New Orleans from November 15-19, 2014.
Taking the Freeze Out of Adhesive Capsulitis
Adhesive capsulitis or "frozen shoulder" is a relatively common condition resulting in severe shoulder pain and global loss of glenohumeral joint range of motion. Incidence of the condition is approximately 3 percent in the general population.
Acupuncture and its Place in the Integrative Healthcare Practice: The Need to Move from Modality to Profession
Acupuncture and oriental medicine (AOM) has grown and flourished from its inception thousands of years ago in China. In surrounding regions of Asia, AOM developed as a response to differing cultural, pathological, health and wellness care needs.
News in Brief
While indignation may be your immediate reaction to H.R. 5780, the Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act of 2014, the American Chiropractic Association suggests the legislation is just what the chiropractic profession needs.
Two for One: The Cervical Distraction Test
In today's healthcare system, diagnoses and treatment plans follow a western medical model - especially if you work with attorneys or insurance companies.
Professionalism and Evidence-Based Health Care
Today's chiropractors are facing a conundrum with the Affordable Care Act and its health care reform requirements, including evidence-based practice and health technology assessment.
Movement Assessments: The DC's Sphygmomanometer
I think back to when I was going through chiropractic school outpatient clinic. I was embarrassed to have my family and friends come in for treatment because initial evaluations took three hours to complete.
Environmental Toxins: Cause of Modern Illness, Part 2
In Part I of this article, we detailed the variety of environmental toxins assaulting our bodies. These include pesticides and herbicides; plastics; preservatives; cosmetics; gasoline additives, solvents and glues; and heavy metals.
The Way of Zen Performance Enhancement
Working with elite athletes and implementing various techniques to keep athletes focused and at their optimal performance for a sustained period of time includes incorporating various meditation techniques that counterbalance their sport-specific physical and mental demands, which is an important element of success throughout the years.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Occupational LBP in Primary- and High-School Teachers; Treating MVA Complications With Chiropractic Care; Neck Pain: Immediate Effects of Active Scapular Correction; Taping Benefits Stride, Step Length in Fatigued Runners.
The Static Postural Pelvic Exam
I include a static postural analysis in my evaluation routine whether you are a patient in pain or an elite-sport athlete in training. In my day-to-day practice, I require patients to stand still while I "just look" at them.
How to Use Online Video as a Tool to Market Your Practice
Health care practitioners, including chiropractors, should consider online videos as a key element of their Internet marketing strategy. In the next three years, videos are expected to account for nearly 70 percent of all consumer online traffic, according to Cisco.
Trouble Down Under: San Zhen Therapy for Lower Jiao Issues
In the last several columns, I have discussed many clinical options for utilizing San Zhen or Three Needle Therapy. In this installment, I will continue this trend and discuss several foundational patterns which can be found in several very common clinical presentations.
Happy New Year 2015 Gong Hoy Fat Choi
Welcome to the year of the sheep! We begin a new year guided by the sign of a quietly and creatively organized animal.
I Felt it in My Fingers First
I'm not afraid to say it. Massage therapists make better acupuncturists. I'll tell you how I know, but first I have a question: What do a microcurrent device, a laser and a hippie massage therapist have in common?
The App Advantage: Get More for Less
You may have noticed the list of "app-exclusive" articles in the directory on the front page of the print issue and in the Table of Contents on page 4. You can't find these articles in print or even in our online archives.
Show Up and Show Respect
I was recently asked about my chiropractic philosophy. My answer surprised my questioner.
Age and Fertility: Why We Should Worry Less About Age and More About Overall Health
Recently, on one of the acupuncture alumni forums, the topic of age and fertility came up when a practitioner posted a question regarding a patient that was about to turn 40-years-old.
We Get Letters & Email
Rethinking Our Approach to Immunization; Coming Together for the Good of Our Patients.
Ringing in the Billing New Year
What are the new modifiers that replace modifier 59? Will they allow doctors of chiropractic to be paid for 97140, manual therapy, when done with chiropractic manipulation?
The Conscious Evolution of Healing: Importance of Opening the Sensory Portals in Classical Chinese Medicine
The Chinese medical classics are not just clinical guides. They give advice; ways we can awaken more fully into conscious awareness.
Right Back Where We Started?
More than 25 years after Judge Susan Getzendanner issued her historic opinion in the Wilk v AMA anti-trust case, evidence suggests that despite increasing collaboration between doctors of chiropractic and their allopathic medical counterparts, when it comes to organized medicine, we may be right back where we started.
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.
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.