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Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
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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