resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
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.
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.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
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.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
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.
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.
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.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
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.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
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.)
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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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