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The First (Only) Choice for Spinal Pain
The study on NSAIDs for spinal pain summarized on the front page of this issue is intriguing on a number of levels, the most obvious being the conclusion that "compared with placebo, NSAIDs do not provide a clinically important effect on spinal pain, and six patients must be treated with NSAIDs for one patient to achieve a clinically important benefit in the short-term."
How to Correct a Cuboid Subluxation
Cuboid subluxation is a poorly recognized condition, even though it is not uncommon. It has been described in the literature under various names: cuboid subluxation, cuboid syndrome, locked cuboid, dropped cuboid, cuboid fault syndrome or peroneal cuboid syndrome.
Caring for Refugees in Greece
At the beginning of 2016 I had no idea what was in store for me, but I was looking forward to a personal retreat on the Greek island of Paros; a graduation gift to myself after 22 years of motherhood, and four-plus years of Chinese medicine school.
News In Brief
A "Modern" Business Model. Acupuncturists may have a new professional atmosphere to consider, as a new concept is on the horizon - at least for one business.
Good Works at the Canandaigua VA
Faculty and students of the Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (FLSAOM) of the New York Chiropractic College have provided acupuncture to veterans at the Veterans' Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Canandaigua, New York since September of 2007.
5 Ways to Enhance Your Family Practice
Every practice has a personality style. A practice that caters to athletes, PI cases or adults, for example, projects differently to patients than a family wellness practice.
Integrative Cardiology: The Heart of TCM & Western Medicine
Patient centered therapy is a growing trend in hospitals that are expanding to boutique services.
What's Bugging You? Probiotics and Your Health
An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.
Treating LBP the Right Way: Think Natural
An updated clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends spinal manipulation and other non-invasive, non-drug therapies as first options for acute, subacute and chronic low back pain, rather than pain medications, as stipulated in the original 2007 guideline.
Shedding Light on the Benefits of Heliotherapy
I can't imagine anyone not feeling good strolling in the sun on a beautiful spring day. The sun is responsible for all life on earth and is best illustrated along the equator touting the richest biodiversity on the planet, in stark contrast to the Arctic Circle and South Pole.
Toxicity & Kids: The Importance of Environmental Intake
The old adage is true that children are not little adults. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has long known that the physiology of children is unique, as are the diseases that plague them.
Help Save an Important Chiropractic Landmark
The chiropractic profession has a splendid and varied history. Sadly, many landmarks have been lost to bulldozers and wrecking crews, such as the Ryan Building, Little-Bit-O-Heaven, Spears Chiropractic Hospital, and Clearview Sanitarium.
Scope of Chiropractic Practice: Why Now Is the Time to Expand
In my January article, "Scope of Chiropractic Practice: Is It Time for Change?" I discussed the use of the term primary spine care practitioner, the loss of privileges to diagnose in Texas, and the fact that the definition of "chiropractic" varied from state to state.
Treating the Terrain of Chronic Sinus Infections
Chronic sinus infections can be stubborn to treat, but the therapeutic path forward can be simplified when utilizing three distinct treatment principles which take into account the terrain of the body, and the way in which microbes grow.
Give Your Patients the Ergonomic Advantage
Prolonged sitting contributes to low back pain and is a health risk. When I discuss my POLITE technique practice recommendations with patients, ergonomics may be last, but not least!
Chiropractic: A Great Fit for the White House
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a New York Chiropractic College alumnus; a No. 1 best-selling author whose books include Awaken the Wellness Within and The 5 Minute Motivator; a chiropractor for professional sports teams and elite athletes; and even served as an advisor under the Clinton Administration to the President's Council on Sports & Physical Fitness.
The Qi Focus: A Guide to Managing Stress
Stress, are you experiencing heightened stress levels? Your own, and your clients? Is Trumpitis getting to you? I recently polled a cluster of acupuncturists, Asian Bodywork Therapists (ABT) and psychotherapy colleagues on the issue.
NSAIDs No Better Than Placebo for Spine Pain
A meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled trials comparing the efficacy and safety of NSAIDs with placebo for spinal pain concludes that among 6,065 spine pain patients, "NSAIDs reduced pain and disability, but provided clinically unimportant effects over placebo."
Making Sense of Liver Regulation
In Chinese medicine, the liver has the function of moving and storing qi and blood. In its moving function, the liver smoothly distributes qi and blood to the tendons, muscles and flesh through microcirculation.
Insomnia Treatment Based on the Yu Theory
In recent years, acupuncture has risen in popularity as a form of alternative or supplemental medicine for the treatment of many different types of disorders.
Waist Circumference: A Conversation Starter (Part 2)
Now let's discuss the clinical approach to reducing WC and implementation in today's chiropractic practice. The primary intervention centers around dietary modification and lifestyle habits aimed to reduce adiposity, improve insulin sensitivity and ultimately, diminish systemic metabolic dysfunction.
April, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 04
Trends and Modalities: Are You Still Practicing Old School Techniques?
By James Waslaski
As an educator, it's critical to keep abreast of current research and to constantly challenge your belief systems. You may have read the popular article "Don't Get Married" (MT February 2008) written by a close friend and colleague Erik Dalton.1 In that piece, he cautioned manual therapists about getting too attached to trends and techniques for fear that new research findings may prove them totally wrong.Regardless of whether you are an educator, practicing therapist or both, keeping up-to-date with the latest information is essential to our profession; and in some cases, it will also keep old school techniques in the past where they belong.
I have spent six years writing a textbook (available this year) called Clinical Massage Therapy: A Structural Approach to Pain Management (Pearson Publishing). During that time, I've edited the information in that text hundreds of times based on the reviews of other manual therapists and the fact that many of my earlier thoughts on bodywork techniques have been proven, by recent clinical studies, to be flawed. Let me share some of the things I have taught in the past that, in light of new research, now seem embarrassingly inaccurate.
Old School Rule #1
Deep cross-fiber friction aligns scar tissue.
About 18 years ago, I wrote and taught that in the presence of a muscle-tendon strain, the appropriate therapy was to apply deep cross-fiber friction in one direction only for up to 6 minutes and then apply ice. The person I studied with made the claim that the act of deep cross-fiber friction had the ability to re-align the disorganized scar tissue. However, if you look at the disorganized fibers, several mistakes are apparent in this thought process.
Old School Rule #2
Clients presenting with chronic tendon pain due to overuse of the elbow, shoulder, knee, or Achilles tendon have tendonitis.
In 2000, Khan et al found no signs of inflammation in tissue biopsies from patients diagnosed with overuse syndromes such as tendonitis of the elbow, shoulder, patellar ligament and Achilles tendon - no lymphocytes, neutrophils or macrophages at a cellular level. Additionally, they observed no swelling, redness or inflammation on the surface level.4
In the absence of an inflammatory process, the more appropriate term to describe a muscle tendon strain is tendinosis. Khan and associates concluded that a majority of tendon pain could be resolved simply by reducing the load on the tendon or by restoring normal muscle resting length to opposing muscle groups. Once muscle balance is restored and the tendon is unloaded, the therapist must reevaluate the area via muscle resistance tests to isolate the strain. (Fig 3)
To more effectively soften and reorganize the cross-linked collagen matrix, I believe therapists need to gently apply multidirectional frictioning to the damaged area. (Fig. 4) Then, to eliminate the pain and restore pain-free movement from most overuse tendon injuries, techniques then include eccentric muscle contraction are helpful. (Fig. 5) Unfortunately, too many manual therapists are still applying aggressive and prolonged deep cross fiber frictioning to muscle-tendon strains and possibly turning tendinosis into tendonitis.
Old School Rule #3
Should we perform deep tissue or trigger point work to weak, inhibited muscles?
This particular old school teaching really concerns me. To make my point, I'd like to relate this to manual therapists doing trigger point or deep tissue work to weak, neurologically inhibited (overstretched) muscle groups, prior to treating the short tight muscle groups. For simplicity, let's first look at the short, contracted muscle groups doing the pulling and then we'll address the stretch-weakened antagonist muscles. In the majority of the people on the planet, the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, and subscapularis are short and tight, causing the rhomboids, middle trapezius, and posterior rotator cuff muscles to become neurologically weak and inhibited due to eccentric loading.
When you start a client face up and lengthen the short, tight anterior muscle groups, you aid in relaxing the weak inhibited posterior shoulder stabilizers. Once the therapist manages to restore normal muscle resting lengths to the tight agonist muscle groups, it reciprocally turns down the noxious afferent stimuli and relieves many of the myofascial and neuromuscular pain patterns. However, the jury is still out on the trigger point part of this, but I have always gotten better results treating short, tight contracted muscle groups prior to treating weak, inhibited antagonists. (Figs 6-8)
In most of the population, I believe it's difficult to resolve trigger points (myofascial tender points) in the weak, inhibited rhomboids by starting a client face down and doing trigger point work. Since much of our pain comes from living in forward head flexed postures with medially rotated shoulders, starting a client face up often makes more sense. This assures that the majority of short flexor muscles groups are lengthened prior to working on weak, inhibited extensor muscle groups. This commonly seen distorted neuromyofascial postural pattern is illustrated in greater detail when you view Tom Myers' Anatomy Trains and in the upper and lower cross syndrome taught by Erik Dalton.
Medical Vs. Clinical Massage
In my own career, I started in the field of sports massage, and went on to learn more advanced work from some of the greatest pioneers and structural body workers in our industry. Orthopedic or clinical massage is now a total system rather than a single modality. That total system of assessments, special orthopedic testing, clinical reasoning, multidisciplinary and multimodality treatments, along with precise client self-care protocols will facilitate myoskeletal alignment and eliminate pain and injuries. It will also optimize athletic performance, aligning us with all other manual therapists for the best interest of each client. Having said that, the question arises: Is this sports massage, clinical massage, medical massage or are we simply talking about massage with intent to bring the body back into balance, facilitate healing, and eliminate pain?
I'll be writing an in-depth article on the subject of medical massage in an upcoming issue, but, for now, let's loosely define this commonly used name. I believe "medical massage" should be considered an umbrella term to include most forms of specific restorative and enhancement manual therapy techniques, particularly those directed at resolving a client's/patient's particular pain complaints. I chose to use the term "clinical massage" in the title of my book in order to honor and respect the many other modalities that have an amazing effect in changing medical outcomes i.e., cranial and visceral manipulation, myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, posturology, myoskeletal alignment, anatomy trains, structural integration, oriental bodywork and the list goes on. Even a good relaxing massage to reduce the stress that leads to many diseases and illnesses plays a critical role under the umbrella of medical massage.
The fact is, positive things begin to accelerate exponentially when therapists learn to blend multiple touch-therapy assessment and treatment modalities with functional retraining to better address our client's/patient's pain and injury conditions. Much more information will be shared in future articles about the scope and practice of medical and clinical massage and the positive attributes gleaned by combining various modalities in an evidence-based clinical practice.
Author Note: The material presented at the World Fascia Congresses is a good example of how quickly information about the "stuff we touch" changes. www.fasciacongress.org/2012
Click here for previous articles by James Waslaski.
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