resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
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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