resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
January, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 01
Rehabilitation: The Protocol Defined
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Orthopedic massage is a highly effective system for addressing soft-tissue pain and injury complaints. What makes this approach so effective with a wide variety of movement system disorders is the fact that it is a comprehensive treatment approach and not just a massage technique.In the mid-1990s, I proposed a model for an orthopedic massage system that included four primary components. These four components are: 1) orthopedic assessment, 2) matching the physiology of the tissue injury with the physiological effects of treatment, 3) using a variety of treatment approaches, and 4) appropriate use of the rehabilitation protocol. It is this fourth and final component of the system (the rehabilitation protocol) that requires some additional explanation, as it is a comprehensive topic on its own.
In the late 1980s through the 1990s, I spent a number of years working in orthopedic, chiropractic, and physical therapy clinics. These experiences were invaluable in helping to shape and mold my understanding of how to evaluate and treat all kinds of soft-tissue injuries. It was during this time that I began to observe an interesting pattern occurring with many of the patients who were being seen in treatment.
As part of the treatment process, patients were often given rehabilitative exercises to perform. Many of the patients performed the exercises, but then reported that their condition actually worsened instead of improving. While it is natural to assume that some people might not benefit from a particular treatment approach, there was a disproportionate number of people who were having adverse effects to this treatment regimen. Many people were being given strengthening and conditioning exercises when there was still a serious tissue dysfunction present. The strengthening exercises then aggravated the existing complaint. This situation started me investigating what could be different in the treatment approach to prevent this large number of adverse outcomes. It was out of this exploration that I developed the rehabilitation protocol concept as a fundamental component of the orthopedic massage system.
Soft-tissue pain and injury conditions may involve fiber damage like that occurring in muscle strains or ligament sprains. In other situations the dysfunction may simply result from impaired function, like that seen in myofascial trigger point pathologies or nerve impingement syndromes. However, despite the wide array of tissue pathologies there is a progression of tissue healing that is similar in all these conditions. As clinicians our treatments must maximize and take advantage of this healing response. Appropriate use of the rehabilitation protocol helps you accomplish this crucial treatment goal.
The rehabilitation protocol has four separate stages: normalize the soft tissue dysfunction, improve flexibility, reestablish appropriate movement patterns, and strength conditioning. Let's take a look at each one of these stages in greater detail to understand how they work with your massage treatments.
The first stage is to normalize soft tissue dysfunction. Regardless of what type of tissue injury or dysfunction has occurred the first thing that must happen is to bring that tissue dysfunction back to its normal state or at least as close to its normal state as possible. For example, if there is a muscle strain with torn fibers, normalizing the soft tissue dysfunction means addressing the torn muscle fibers and resultant scar tissue with deep transverse friction massage. If the primary dysfunction is a myofascial trigger point, normalizing the soft tissue dysfunction involves neutralizing that trigger point so the muscle spindle cells are not overly activated and the muscle tissue can return to its normal state.
The second stage is to improve flexibility. Soft tissues require adequate flexibility and pliability to work at their optimal state. If they are bound and restricted by scar tissue, movement and function are impaired. In the event that muscles are chronically tight from excessive trigger point activity, there are likely to be biomechanical distortions or problems in the regions acted upon by those muscles. Full restoration of functional movement cannot return if adequate flexibility is not restored. Once the soft-tissue dysfunction has been normalized and tissue flexibility has been restored, it is now appropriate to move on to the next stage.
The third stage is to re-establish appropriate movement patterns. Proper movement patterns need to be introduced to the soft tissues in the healing process to encourage optimal function. There are many ways to restore proper movement patterns after a soft-tissue injury. Sometimes movement restoration includes specific exercises such as those performed in physical therapy or a movement-oriented discipline like Feldenkrais or Aston Patterning. In other situations restoring proper movement might simply be making ergonomic changes in a person's workstation or the way in which they engage with tools in their daily activities. The initial tissue dysfunction must be addressed and flexibility restored before these correct movement patterns can be reinforced. If the first two stages have not been accomplished it will not be easy, or in some cases even possible, to restore proper movement patterns.
The final stage is strengthening and conditioning. It is this stage which is often performed too early in the rehabilitative environment. Strengthening or conditioning activities do not require you to be lifting weights in a gym or working out in a formal exercise facility. Sometimes it is as simple as training your body for the demands it faces. For example, massage therapists benefit from hand and finger strengthening exercises which could be performed with simple rubber bands. These conditioning methods prepare the practitioner for the physical demands of daily work activities.
In most cases, a massage therapist is not directly involved with strengthening or conditioning activities for the individual if those activities are being performed for the purpose of injury rehabilitation, as it is outside our scope of practice. However, knowledge of the process of strengthening and conditioning is exceptionally valuable and will help guide appropriate treatment decisions throughout the course of treatment.
The rehabilitation protocol should be considered a set of guidelines, not strict rules. There is a progression through the rehabilitation protocol from the first stage through the fourth. However, it should not be viewed as a strict process where all of the first stage must be accomplished before moving to the second stage and all of the second stage accomplished before moving to the third, etc. There can be overlap between the different stages, but you should see your client's soft-tissue injury or pain complaint move through these stages and not jump to the end of the protocol before the earlier stages have been mostly accomplished.
It is our job to recognize what stage our clients are at in the rehabilitation protocol and adjust our treatment approaches accordingly. It is through accurate orthopedic assessment processes that we make the determination of where they are in the recovery process. Once you understand and appropriately apply the rehabilitation protocol you will find much greater success in your treatment outcomes with a wide variety of pain and injury complaints.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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