resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
February, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 02
Sources of Neck Pain
By Anita Boser, LMP, CHP
Clients usually think that pain is the "X" that marks the problem spot. As therapists, we know the source of pain is often somewhere else. In other words, "Where it is, is where it ain't," a colloquialism attributed to Ida P. Rolf. In the realm of a connective tissue matrix, internal pulls and compensations often create a symptom distant from the source of dysfunction.
As the pinnacle of the spinal cord, the neck has to accommodate for every weakness, imbalance and misalignment below, in addition to resolving direct trauma such as whiplash. There literally are thousands of sources of neck pain. In my practice, two are the most common: limited range of motion in the shoulder girdle and restrictions in the thorax.
Scapular Restrictions Limit Arm Flexion
When raising the arm overhead, the scapula must rotate 60 degrees to achieve full range (180 degrees of flexion). Not only does scapular rotation make full flexion possible, the glenoid cavity is then also in the proper position to provide support to the humerus. See Figure 1. The serratus anterior and upper and lower fibers of the trapezius contract to rotate the scapula. The costal fibers of the pectoralis major, the latissimus dorsi, and levator scapula also need to lengthen.
If the scapula can't fully rotate, the body will get the job done another way, usually by elevating the entire shoulder girdle. The levator then activates when it should release, and the scalene muscles often contract in an effort to assist. See Figure 2. The result is rigidity in the neck at the trapezius, levator and scalene cervical attachment sites, and often trigger points in the rotator cuff muscles which have to work through abnormal alignment.
Allow for Extension, Latissimus Dorsi
With your client on your table in a side-lying position, ask him to raise his upper arm in front of him and then up alongside his ear. Observe the rotation of the scapula. When the inferior angle stops moving anteriorly and superiorly assist the movement with a stroke to lengthen the latissimus and increase proper rotation of the scapula as you direct your client to rotate his elbow toward the ceiling. See Figure 3. (If the client's movement is very limited and/or his arm is weak, place a pillow under the upper arm to help support the weight.)
Scapula Coordination, Serratus Anterior
Turn your attention next to the serratus anterior. Have your client bend his elbow and place his hand on the table in front of his face or even under his head. With the back of your hand or soft fingertips, contact the fibers of the serratus on the lateral ribs. Ask your client to press into his entire hand so that the elbow moves slightly away from the shoulder joint. Feel for where the serratus is stuck or inhibited and use your touch to facilitate functional involvement. See Figure 4.
That's the Spot, Levator Scapula and Trapezius
Your client will certainly appreciate it if you address the adhesions that have most likely developed between the upper trapezius and the levator scapula. First release the superior edge of the trapezius from any underlying adhesions. Then, as your client extends his arm overhead again, release the levator, starting at its tendinous attachment to the scapular superior angle and directing it inferiorly. It also helps to work the length of the levator to its attachments on the transverse processes of the cervical spine, which are just posterior to the attachments of the scalene muscles, which will want some attention, too.
Thoracic Spine Immobility
While restrictions in the shoulder girdle place extra stress on the neck, lack of mobility in the thoracic spine often causes the cervical spine to exceed its range of motion. For example, if all of the motion to look over the shoulder, to side bend, or to look down comes from the neck, then the cervical spine muscles and ligaments get overworked and overstretched. The result is increasing stiffness as a means of protection.
Get in the Laminar Groove
The answer is to mobilize the thoracic spine and ribs, usually from T1 to T8. With your client in a sidelying position, you can use your knuckles to extricate the spinalis and paraspinal muscles at their attachments to the transverse and spinous processes. As you work, have your client make small unstructured movements under your hands. Use your pressure to stimulate the erectors and paraspinals and encourage more glide in the layers of tissue. Follow through to release restrictions in the myofascia between the ribs from their attachments to the transverse processes all the way to the sternum.
Shoulder restrictions and thoracic spine immobility are obviously not the only sources of neck pain, but adding these two assessments to your tool chest will expand your therapeutic potential and maybe even your reputation as a miracle worker.
Anita Boser graduated from the Institute of Structural Medicine and practices in Issaquah, Wash. She is the author of Relieve Stiffness and Feel Young Again With Undulation and Undulation Exercises. The exercises in this article are excerpted from her book. You can contact Anita at
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.