resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 03
Writing a Case Report: Where to Start
By Jerrilyn Cambron, LMT, DC, MPH, PhD
Over the past few years, many massage therapists have asked me how to write a case report. There is such a great need for more research in this profession, I wish I could meet their expectations and rattle off a simple answer, as though I am giving directions to my Aunt Diane's house.Unfortunately, it is not that easy. However, there are certainly many therapists who have written and published case reports, showing all of us that it is possible - with the right directions.
Case reports can have a tremendous impact on our profession: recognition in the public sector, acceptance in the medical community, and advancement in our treatments and client outcomes, to name a few.
Published case reports have the potential to improve nearly every aspect in the massage profession. This is the first article in a series on writing case reports for the massage therapy profession. Generally, case reports describe the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of an individual patient, which we will cover in proceeding articles. However, to get you started on your path to authorship, here are five important steps to follow before you ever begin writing.
Five Steps Before You Write
First and foremost, you need to choose a case to report. While this may seem obvious, it can be somewhat daunting to narrow down. Consider what interests you. Think about which clients you enjoy discussing with your colleagues, such as the client who was not expecting improvement but who now considers massage therapy the "miracle cure". Perhaps you want to discuss the client who had a negative reaction with one form of health care, but then greatly improved after bodywork sessions.
There are also plenty of unusual cases that would be of interest. Perhaps a gunshot victim for whom you increased the mobility of some of his scar tissue; or the person with an amputation who felt "whole" again after massage. Or, perhaps you want to discuss the typical clients you treat so that there is more evidence in the literature on massage therapy for back pain, headaches, stress disorders, and such. You will be spending time with this case, so it is a good idea to choose one you enjoy discussing.
Second, you need to consider why you want to write about a case. Is it because the case was so unique that you want to tell your fellow massage therapists about it? Do you want to write because you want to inform other health care professionals about the improvements that occurred due to massage therapy? Are you hoping to increase your credibility by publishing a case report in a peer-reviewed journal? Were you looking for evidence on massage for a particular condition and could not find anything, so you want to help add to the evidence base? Do you want to win the Massage Therapy Foundation's case report contest? Or do you want to accomplish all of these?
Understanding why you want to publish will help your motivation levels as you work towards your goal, and you can use that energy to keep yourself moving through the process. Understanding what is motivating you to write a case report will also help you better define your audience.
Knowing your audience is the third major hurdle you need to consider before you start writing. For example, let's say you had a pregnant client with low back pain, and you were able to help manage her back pain throughout her pregnancy. Would you want to tell your fellow massage therapists about your treatment protocol so that they might be able to utilize your methods? Or would you want to tell obstetricians about the benefits of our non-pharmaceutical approach to pain reduction, such as in this case of a pregnant women with back pain?
Both aspects might be important, but they would be written very differently and, most likely, they would be written for different journals. In a journal that is focused on the massage profession such as the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy, we would expect the article to include a more specific description of the therapy so that fellow massage therapists would be able to replicate the treatment. However, if the case was written for submission to an obstetrics journal, you might need to include a bit more background information, describing massage therapy for the pregnant woman because obstetricians may not know what their patients should expect from a pregnancy massage. Try to imagine who might be reading the journal, and write as though you are speaking directly to them.
Choosing the journal to which you want to submit your case report is the fourth issue to consider before you start writing. There are many ways to find the best journal for your case report. One way is to go to a medical library and look at the different journals. Another way is to search online.
There is a great online resource from the University of Toledo, Mulford Health Science Library (http://mulford.utoledo.edu/instr/.) This resource allows you to type in a keyword and find journals that include that topic. For example, using our case report on a pregnant woman with back pain, we could go to this Web site and type in the word "obstetrics." According to the Web site of more than 6,000 journals, 18 have a focus on obstetrics and the list is provided. If we type in the word "pregnancy" we get only two journals. The word "massage" doesn't produce any journals, but the keywords "alternative medicine" produces three journals.
The real beauty of this site is that you can click on the name of any of these journals and you will be taken to that journal's "Instructions to Authors" section. Instructions to authors can be considered the "rules of writing" for that journal. Every journal has different instructions for authors, and it is your job to make sure you know what the expectations are before you start writing. For example, one journal might allow a case report to be 3,000 words but another only allows 1,000 words. You will increase your chances of acceptance if you know the rules before you start.
Finally, I strongly suggest you read several case reports from the journal to which you intend to submit your case report. I suggest this because it gives you a flavor of how the article should be written. Try to pay attention to the article's style and formatting: section headings, the length, the number of figures or tables, and the style of writing. Published case reports went through the peer-review process and were found to be good enough to be published. If you want your case to be published in the same journal, your report needs to be of the same quality.
These five steps to take before you start writing your case report (choose the case, determine why you are writing it, know your audience, choose the journal, and read previous examples) might make the difference between getting your case accepted for publication and having it rejected.
In the next article, we will begin our discussion on how to write a case report.
Jerrilyn Cambron is a professor in the Department of Research at the National University of Health Sciences and an adjunct faculty member in the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Division of the School of Public Health, University of Illinois. She has taught numerous research-related courses and post-graduate seminars. She has also served as a principal investigator on research studies focused on massage therapy and chiropractic care for more than 20 years. Jerrilyn is on the board of trustees for the Massage Therapy Foundation and is the founder and principal investigator of MassageNet, a practice-based research network for massage therapists. For more, go to www.massagenet.org.
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