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Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
November, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 11
Advanced Stretching: Using Neural Inhibition to Enhance the Stretch, Part 2
By Joseph E. Muscolino, DC
In part 1 of this series, we discussed contract relax (CR) stretching, which involves neural inhibition to augment the mechanical stretch of the target musculature.Here, in Part 2 of this series, we will discuss agonist contract (AC) stretching, which also uses neural inhibition to augment the mechanical stretch of the target musculature.
Similar to CR stretching, AC stretching also relies upon a neurologic reflex. However, whereas the Golgi tendon organ (GTO) reflex is the proposed neural mechanism for CR stretching, reciprocal inhibition is the proposed neural mechanism for AC stretching. The mechanism of RI is that whenever a mover muscle contracts and shortens to create a joint action, the antagonist musculature (that is usually located on the other side of the joint) must lengthen to allow that motion to occur. RI reflex acts to facilitate the lengthening of the antagonists by inhibiting them from contracting. This inhibition causes a relaxation so that the antagonists more effectively lengthen. As with the GTO reflex, we can take advantage of this reflex to create a better stretch.
AC stretching is performed by creating a scenario in which the target muscle that will be reciprocally inhibited is the antagonist to the joint motion that is performed. The usual AC stretching protocol steps are carried out as follows. The right lateral flexor (RLF) musculature of the neck are used as the example (Fig. 1):
a. Have the client begin in a neutral starting position.
b. Ask the client to actively concentrically contract the left lateral flexion (LLF) musculature, moving the neck into LLF. By doing this, the target RLF musculature is the antagonist of the motion. Their stretch is begun and the RI reflex is triggered. The client usually exhales during the contraction (think "e" for exhale and "e" for exertion).
c. The client then relaxes and we further stretch the client into LLF. The client usually completes the exhale during this step.
d. The client continues to relax as we passively bring the client back to the starting position. The client inhales during this step so she is ready for the next repetition.
Typically eight to 10 repetitions are performed, and we progressively increase the force of the stretch with each repetition. Because a large number of repetitions are performed with AC stretching, each repetition is usually performed fairly quickly. An entire repetition takes approximately 3-5 seconds.
Comparing CR and AC Stretching
To more easily learn these techniques, it can be helpful to compare CR with AC stretching. With CR stretching, the target muscle group isometrically contracts against our resistance. (Note: Part 1 of this series, the target right lateral flexors isometrically contract.) With AC stretching, the target muscle group is turned into the antagonist of the joint motion. Note that in Figure 1a, the left lateral flexors concentrically contract (again the right lateral flexors are the target musculature). It can help to remember that with AC stretching, the client's contraction actually begins the stretch of the target musculature.
Contract Relax Agonist Contract Stretching:
CR and AC stretching can be combined to create contract relax agonist contract (CRAC) stretching. As its name implies, a CRAC stretching repetition is done by sequentially performing the CR and then the AC stretching techniques. The benefit of CRAC stretching is that it triggers both the GTO and the RI reflexes, therefore potentially creating a more powerful inhibition/relaxation of the target musculature. The usual CRAC stretching protocol steps are carried out as follows. The RLF musculature of the neck are again used as the example (Fig. 2):
a. Have the client begin in a neutral starting position.
b. Ask the client to gently isometrically contract the target RLF musculature against our resistance for approximately 5-8 seconds to trigger the GTO reflex. The client holds in the breath during this step. This is the CR portion of the stretch.
c. Then ask the client to concentrically contract the LLF musculature to move into LLF. This begins the stretch the RLF musculature and it triggers the RI reflex. The client exhales during the contraction. This is the AC portion of the stretch.
d. The client then relaxes and we further stretch the client into LLF.
e. We then passively bring the client back to the starting position as the client inhales. This completes one repetition.
Three to five repetitions are usually performed, each one beginning from the same neutral starting position, as is done with AC stretching. Typically, the client is asked to increase the force of contraction with each repetition, and we progressively increase the force of the stretch with each repetition.
Most every stretch can be performed as a CR or an AC stretch, or even a CRAC stretch. Both CR and AC advanced stretching techniques are equally effective. Which one you choose to use will most likely depend upon client preference and which technique is logistically easier for that particular muscle and the position that the client is in. Advanced stretching techniques might take a little more time, effort, and practice to master, but the benefits to your clients are well worth it.
Joseph E. Muscolino, DC, has been a massage therapy educator for 24 years, teaching both core curriculum and continuing education classes. He currently teaches anatomy and physiology at Purchase College, SUNY. He is the owner of The Art and Science of Kinesiology in Stamford, Conn., and is the author of The Muscle and Bone Palpation Manual, with Trigger Points, Referral Zones, and Stretching; The Muscular System Manual, 3rd edition; and Kinesiology, The Skeletal System and Muscle Function, 2nd edition (Elsevier, 2009, 2010, 2010), as well as other publications. For more information or to contact Joseph, visit www.learnmuscles.com.
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