resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
August, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 08
Headaches: Trigger Points and Practice Building
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
Editor's note: David was the keynote speaker and taught "Headaches: Types, Triggers and Treatment" at the 2010 FSMTA Convention July 7-11 in Orlando, Fla.
While there are many causes for headaches, one contributing factor is the presence of myofascial trigger points and the referred phenomena they produce. Patients commonly report this referred phenomena as a headache or head pain. The causes for the initial formation of myofascial trigger points and the perpetuating factors that influences them over time varies. Research studies by Drs. Simons and Travel have documented the general region within the tissues where trigger points form and the referral patterns they produce. Your ability to educate clients about trigger points can directly affect: whether the client reschedules or upgrades to a package of treatments; in some cases, the amount of your tip; and if they refer other new clients. ("Tools to Succeed for Massage Therapists," MT, May 2009.) The principles and concepts I will cover can be applied to any type of practice: mobile outcall, spa, private clinic, physical therapy, chiropractic and medical office. This article will review common trigger point patterns related to headache pain and include tips on how to educate your clients about trigger points to build your practice.
There are three major kinds of learners: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. We must educate clients about trigger points while considering these different styles. Since some people are visual learners, some auditory learners and some are kinesthetic learners, we must integrate all three into the educational process.
Educate your clients the identical way medical doctors and other health care providers educate their patients by using visuals like charts, diagrams and other imaging. Showing pictures of the trigger point patterns that mimic the client's headache pain is a powerful visual tool to demonstrate your ability to understand and develop an effective treatment plan. (Fig 1)
Explaining the details in the images you are showing is an auditory tool. For example, in Figure 2 the "X" indicates the common location of trigger points and the red color indicates the referral zones, based on the research of Drs. Simons and Travel et al., that patients experienced when trigger points were activated. The referred phenomena reported by subjects, in the referral zones, during the studies included, but were not limited to: pain, tension, burning, tingling, numbness and headache. Areas of solid red indicate a high percentage of subjects reported referred phenomena into a specific zone, while areas showing a red stipple pattern were reported by a lower percentage of subjects.
The treatment of trigger points can be accomplished with many techniques. When you apply pressure onto an active trigger point during a session the client will feel and recognize the referral pattern. It is important that you and the client be certain that you are pressing a trigger point and not a nerve or other vital structure. This is a perfect time to show clients a picture of the trigger point pattern you are treating. I also show clients the connection between their trigger points and their posture. (Fig 3) It is wise to frequently review textbooks, DVD programs and manuals to keep the anatomy of the body fresh in your mind and your skills sharp between attending hands-on treatment seminars.
Upper Trapezius. This is the most common trigger point in the body. Trigger points can form from postural stress like a forward head posture and also play a roll on the high shoulder side. Pain is referred from trigger points in the upper fibers of trapezius into the posterolateral aspect of the neck, into the angle of the mandible, behind the ear, and into the temple. (Fig 2)
Sternocleidomastoid. The sternocleidomastoid muscle has two divisions each producing its own unique pain patterns. Trigger points in the clavicular division can produce frontal headaches, earaches and dizziness. (Fig 4) This trigger point can form in the clavicular head of the muscle for example as part of a high shoulder pattern.
While trigger points in the sternal division of the sternocleidomastoid refers pain into the forehead, the anterior cervical region, and can produce throat pain, discomfort or tightness. Other referral patterns include: the back of the head, into the cheeks, into the eye and distally into the sternum. (Fig 5) These trigger points may be the result of a rotational pattern in the body that must be addressed to fully eliminate and prevent the trigger points from returning. When treating throughout the body we must always be alert and cautious of potential areas we could cause harm. ("Safety Protocols: The Carotid Artery," MT, October 2008.)
Suboccipitals. Referral pain from these four suboccipital muscles radiates pain deep into the head from the occiput toward the back of the eye. (Fig 6) These trigger points are commonly caused by forward head posture, sustained upward head tilt or sustained head rotation with tilt.
I use the camera on my cell phone to take postural analysis photos. We all know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" and another great visual tool to educate your clients. Pictures help your clients understand the structural load and stresses their muscles are enduring, why the trigger points have formed and how a series of treatments can help. I can email the postural photos directly to the client from my smart phone. Posture charts are also available for mobile therapists that simply hang over any door, allowing you to perform a high level of assessment and education during an outcall session. (Fig 3) ("Getting Comfortable with Posture Analysis," MT, July 2008.)
Note on Using Charts
Trigger point charts are available in both wall and convenient travel flip chart versions. I use wall charts in my clinic and a corresponding flip chart version to maintain a professional image and convey a consistent message when I am outside of my clinic.
The traveling trigger point flip chart is a perfect solution when performing outcalls, chair massage, educating the public at health fairs, meeting with physicians to ask for referrals, working between multiple locations or when wall space is limited. I also use the flip chart, during a session, to show clients laying on the treatment table, trigger point images that correspond to the referral patterns they are experiencing.
I still treat patients today in my clinic, and have owned and worked with every trigger point chart system on the market since buying my first set in 1991. There are a few things to consider when making your initial investment or upgrading your current charts.
Purchasing charts that are protected with a laminated coating is a wise investment for numerous reasons. First, lamination makes charts more durable to last longer over time. Second, it helps resist stains from oils and lotions on your hands. Third, the laminated coating allows you to write, draw and circle areas on your charts with wet erase markers that quickly and easily wipe clean with just water.
Drawing on your charts gives you the ability to customize your message for each individual client. This level of client education parallels medical doctors and other health care providers educating their patients by drawing on X-rays, MRIs and other imaging. Clients are more likely to be compliant and follow your recommendations when you deliver a first class professional presentation. (Fig 1)
Look for chart systems that are easy to reference. They must be logically designed to allow you to educate others quickly and easily.
A few additional things to consider when purchasing your trigger point chart system: Are the charts color-coded by body region? Are the charts designed the way you work on clients? For example, are muscles grouped by region, action or compartment? Are the muscles placed in columns superficial to deep? Are the images basic black ink line drawings or modern images showing you and the client the muscle, trigger point location and referral pattern superimposed on a real person? Is the information on the wall and flip chart versions designed to work together? Do the charts have additional advanced information designed into them allowing you to instantly develop customized treatment plans based on medical research? For example, do the charts list muscles involved with specific headache patterns or zones (i.e. frontal, temporal, occipital). Are the charts isolated products or part of a complete refined system? Are packages available to save me money if I buy both the wall and flip chart set?
This economy is challenging and more therapists are competing for work than ever before. Clients are watching their budgets and looking to get the best value for their dollar. Build your practice and take it to the next level by educating your clients about headaches and trigger points. Integrating educational visual, auditory and kinesthetic sensory tools is very powerful and produces effective results. I wish you best and look forward to learning of your successes.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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