resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
VF Works / DMX Works Epilogue: Almost Two Decades Later, the Lawsuits Continue
An article in the March 8, 1999 edition of Dynamic Chiropractic examined whether then-VF Works / Nu-Best Franchising was selling its franchises illegally to doctors of chiropractic.
Gather & Grow
I recently attended a faculty seminar held by one of the acupuncture schools. There was a facilitator who led us through some very interesting experiences. The attendees were a diverse group with varying opinions.
Near-Infrared Therapy for Diabetic Neuropathy
The pain experienced by people with diabetes is a symptom of diabetic neuropathy. The impact on quality of life is significant. Pain makes walking difficult, sleep troublesome, and eventually contributes to a decrease in social interaction.
TCM & the Caregiving Population: Treatment Considerations & Our Vital Role
Informal caregiving is increasingly a reality for many Americans who find themselves providing unpaid care for a loved one or a family member with a long-term, terminal, or chronic illness.
The Large Intestine Official
The large intestine (AKA colon) is the great eliminator, or as J.R. Worsley called it, "The Drainer of the Dregs." Dregs are defined as the remnants of liquid with its sediment left in a container, or the basest, least valuable portion of anything.
A Brief History of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Doctoral Programs
A doctorate in acupuncture and Oriental medicine has been a goal of the profession since its beginnings in the late 1970s. At that time, however, the maturity of the educational institutions and the regulatory environment made it a goal with only a distant completion date.
Reader Beware: Consider the Source
The aftermath of last year's presidential elections brought a running conversation on the role played by "fake news" that was largely presented via social media.
House Calls With Dad
My father was a chiropractor and he did house calls. On Wednesday nights, while my mother attended the weekly women's meeting at the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs hall in our small town, dad loaded up the portable adjusting table, fired up the Pontiac and drove off to treat a few patients in their homes. I went with him.
Spiritual Initiation: Opening Your Higher Healing Abilities
People drawn to the field of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine tend to be those who march to the beat of a different drummer.
Getting Unstuck: Healing From Trauma With TCM, Qigong & Movement
We all come into this world vulnerable, with seeds to grow into our strength. Some of us — through a combination of good fortune (i.e., family and culture we are born into, constitutional inheritance, or ability to learn) grow with minimal interruption from traumatic injuries and experiences.
Advancing the "Whole Organ" Spine Model
Historically, the human spine has been organized by body region utilizing specific anatomical landmarks and transition zones.
Correcting Rib Dysfunction: Improve Patients' Pain, Posture and Breathing
As chiropractors, we tend to focus on the spine, and rightly so. Many problems our patients face can be corrected by manipulating the correct spinal level.
Chiropractic in Texas Is Under Attack
The profession of chiropractic faces an unprecedented challenge in Texas, an attack that is more aggressive, sustained and dangerous than anything previously seen. The medical lobby has launched a coordinated, multi-front assault.
AOM Residency at NUNM
Imagine you're a recent acupuncture graduate, worried about making enough income as you forge your new career and seek more in-depth training in a particular treatment style.
The Acupuncture Channel System (Part 2)
The primary channels (main channels) are introduced in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, these channels are referenced in many chapters throughout the Su Wen and the Ling Shu. The primary channels have become the main channel system used in TCM.
Helping Patients With Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD), a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects motor function, has a slow onset over time.
ICA Goes on the Vaccine Offensive
Have you watched the vaccination documentary, "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," by Andrew Wakefield MD, director, and Del Bigtree, producer? This is the documentary Robert DeNiro was pressured to remove from his Tribeca Film Festival.
Treating the Lower Pelvis (Pt. 2): Midline Structures and Fascia
My previous article [October 2016 issue] outlined evaluation and treatment of pelvic issues involving the sacrotuberous ligament and the pubic symphysis. Now let's discuss two case studies that illustrate how to address additional problematic areas of the pelvis.
Paperwork Done Wrong, Done Right
I was visiting a doctor's office recently and a member of his staff brought a stack of forms to his private office and laid them on the doctor's desk. She informed him he needed to complete the forms for patients and a few third parties.
Latest Cassidy Study on Stroke Risk Published
The latest study to investigate whether a unique association between chiropractic manipulation and risk of cervical artery dissection / stroke exists has yielded similar encouraging findings, with the authors noting "no excess risk of carotid artery stroke after chiropractic care" and no significant risk difference between patients receiving care from a DC or a primary care medical provider.
Waist Circumference: A Conversation Starter
New estimates suggest more than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. The medical significance of this statistic is astounding.
4 Things Every DC Should Know About Levels of Care & Prevention
As health practitioners, we help people with their health problems and assist them with health promotion and disease prevention.
October, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 10
Thumb Pain and the Brachialis Muscle
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
While I was lecturing at the Florida State Massage Therapy Association convention, some therapists asked about the causes of pain on the dorsal side of the base of the thumb (carpometacarpal joint) and the adjacent web space between the thumb and finger.While there are many reasons for pain in this region, this article will discuss the role of referred pain from trigger points in the brachialis muscle and methods for treating it with massage.
Anatomy: The brachialis muscle lies deep to the biceps brachii muscle. It attaches above the elbow, proximally, on the lower half of the anterior surface of the humerus. Just below the elbow, distally, it attaches on the coronoid process of the ulna. (Photo 1)
Function: The brachialis flexes the elbow and works synergistically with the biceps brachii and the brachioradialis muscles. The antagonist to brachialis is the triceps brachii. The movement created by the contraction of the brachialis muscle is determined by which attachment is fixed and which attachment moves. When the humerus is in a fixed position and the brachialis muscle contracts, such as during a bicep curl, the forearm moves toward the humerus. When the forearm or distal attachment of the brachialis muscle is fixed, such as during a pull-up exercise, the brachialis moves the humerus toward the forearm.
Referred Pain: Trigger points in the distal region of the brachialis produce "referred pain [that] is felt in the base of the thumb at rest and often with the use of the thumb. Diffuse soreness of the thumb is characteristic of its referred tenderness."1 (Photo 1)
Nerve Entrapment: The brachialis muscle can entrap the superficial sensory branch of the radial nerve, which is a cutaneous-monitoring nerve. When entrapment occurs, it can produce dysesthesia on the dorsum of the thumb. Dysesthesia is an impairment that produces sensitivity to touch, tingling and numbness. Additionally, the coracobrachialis muscle can entrap the musculocutaneous nerve that innervates the brachialis.
Perpetuating Factors: Trigger points can form and remain in the brachialis due to elbow flexion movements that overstress the muscle and/or require the muscle to remain in a flexed position for an extended period of time. Some examples include holding a child, lifting heavy tools, carrying groceries or boxes, and playing an instrument such as a violin or guitar. "Related trigger points are frequently found in the brachioradialis, supinator or the adductor pollisis."1
Precautions: Integrate muscle testing to identify each muscle, as well as to avoid treating neurovascular structures located on the medial side of the arm. Be cautious of the brachial artery and the median, musculocutaneous and ulnar nerves. These are positioned, on the medial side of the arm, between the anterior compartment containing the biceps, brachialis and coracobrachialis and the posterior compartment containing the triceps.
Pressure: Check in with the client frequently to determine if treatment pressure is appropriate and look for warning signs of too much pressure, such as muscle tightening, teeth clenching or pulling away. Additionally, if the tenderness in the area of treatment and/or the intensity of the referred pain does not ease up within eight to 12 seconds of holding static pressure on the trigger point, leave the area and return later, using less pressure.
Step 1 - Positioning: Place the client in the supine position with the elbow passively flexed between 30 and 45 degrees and the forearm appropriately supported. Stand at the level of the client's abdomen, facing their head. This position shortens the brachialis and biceps, and will allow you to displace the superficial biceps medially and laterally so the deep brachialis can be thoroughly treated.
Step 2 - Ulna Attachment: The attachment of the brachialis on the coronoid process of the ulna is approximately one inch distal to the crease of the elbow (Photo 1) on the pinkie side of the forearm. To treat this attachment, supinate the client's hand, with the palm facing upward. Apply friction integrating with fiber and then cross-fiber movements on the attachment (Photo 2).
Step 3 - Humeral Attachment (Lateral Side): Apply lubrication to treat the large attachment of the brachialis on the humerus from the lateral and medial side; muscle-test the biceps to determine its location. Treat the lateral aspect by using your non-treating hand to move the biceps medially, while the other hand treats the lateral aspect of brachialis on the humerus. Apply treatment at a 45-degree angle against the humerus while gliding distal to proximal, stopping just above the level of the deltoid tuberosity (Photo 3).
Step 4 - Humeral Attachment (Medial Side): Next, treat the medial attachment on the humerus. Use the non-treating hand to move the biceps laterally, while the other hand treats the medial aspect of brachialis on the humerus. Apply treatment at a 45-degree angle against the humerus while gliding distal to proximal, stopping just above the level of the deltoid tuberosity (Photo 4).
Step 5 - Muscle Belly: Face the pads of your thumbs toward each other with one thumb on the medial side and the other on the lateral side of the brachialis muscle, deep to the biceps, at the level of the elbow. Use your fingers to cup the arm while they make contact with the triceps muscle (Photo 5). Glide distal to proximal.
Clients will typically seek your services when pain begins affecting their activities of daily living. Educate every client on the causes of their muscular pain, treatment options you provide and proactive self-care steps that they can use outside of the treatment room. Advise them that pain is a symptom and that it is important to address the cause. Below are some suggested methods of assessment and client education.
We all know the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words." Postural-analysis photos provide visual documentation of a client's posture, showing which muscles are shortened and which are overlengthened. The better a client understands the relationship of their poor posture, trigger points and pain, the more likely they will be to follow through with a recommended treatment plan. Clients benefit by knowing that one reason trigger points form is due to the stress caused by poor posture.
Trigger-point charts and other types of charts help educate clients about referred pain patterns. Some trigger-point charts show which muscles refer pain to specific regions of the body, like the base of the thumb in this case. This information is also helpful to developing and implementing an effective treatment plan.
Review the advantages of proper ergonomics and instruct your client on the ways they can incorporate ergonomics into daily activities. Teach clients stretching exercises that will help prevent their symptoms from returning.
If you use topical analgesics in your sessions, educate your clients on how to use them to control their discomfort between treatments. Selling topical analgesics will provide you with additional income, as well.
Remember that a client's pain is typically a symptom and its origin is often in an area other than the region of the pain. Your clients appreciate every bit of knowledge you share. Give them the knowledge to make informed decisions about their care.
I wish you the greatest of successes in the treatment room.
Click here for previous articles by 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.