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Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
What's Chiropractic Research Worth to You?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fundraising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
Practicing with Authenticity
To extrapolate from the above quote, patients love healthcare providers they can trust. One way to earn the trust of your patients is by practicing with authenticity. What does that mean, exactly?
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
Fish Oil: A Key Component of Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
More Chiropractors Required
An intriguing study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine examines how "chiropractic care affects use of primary care physician (PCP) services."
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
Surprising Reasons for Orthotic Efficacy
Clinical outcome studies show orthotics are effective in the management of a wide range of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
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 more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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