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The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
July, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 07
Frontal Headaches and Myofascial Trigger Points
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
A fundamental key to treating the muscular component of most pain, regardless of the modalities and techniques you specialize in, is to know which muscles to treat based on the location of the patient's pain.This article will review the five muscles that produce frontal headache pain based on the research of Drs. Travell and Simons', the common location of the trigger points in each of those muscles and their referral pain patterns. The muscles are: Sternocleidomastoid (clavicular head), Sternocleidomastoid (sternal head), Semispinalis capitis, Frontalis and Zygomaticus Major.
Most forms of bodywork treat trigger points. When you stimulate a trigger point during treatment, it can produce referred pain to other areas of the body. For example, trigger points in the Sternocleidomastoid muscle, located in the front of the neck, can refer pain into the forehead (Photo 2). It is important that each patient understands that you are not pressing on a nerve when treating a trigger point. Using visual aids like trigger point charts, provide multiple advantages. They educate your patients, provide you with a quick review of the trigger points and help you customize a logical treatment plan. This type of visual education also uniquely sets your practice apart from the competition. Trigger point charts are available in travel flip size or wall versions. Read Headaches: Trigger Points and Practice Building (MT, August 2010) and Practice Building: Getting Inside Your Patient's Head (MT, January 2011).
Let patients know how your charts work. For example, in photo 1 "X" indicates the common location of trigger points within a muscle. When a trigger point is activated during treatment, it will produce referred pain, which is shown in red. Solid red areas indicate an essential pain zone or area of pain experienced by nearly every patient that had that trigger point activated. The red dots indicate spillover pain zones. These are areas of pain experienced by some, but not all, patients outside of the essential pain zones. (Photo 1)
Each division or muscle belly of the sternocleidomastoid muscle has its own unique trigger point patterns. Typically, neither division refers pain into the neck, however each refers pain to the face and cranium. (Photo 1 & 2) This muscle is shortened bilaterally with a forward head posture. The claviclar division will be shortened on the high shoulder side.
Trigger points at the midlevel of the sternal division of sternocliedmastoid refer pain in an arch over the eye into the forehead, deep behind the eye and into the cheek. (Photo 1)
Trigger points at the upper end of the sternal division commonly refer pain to the occipital ridge and to the top of the head (vertex). Attachment trigger points at the lower end of the sternal division can refer into the upper chest.
Trigger points in the mid level of the clavicular division of sternocliedmastoid refer pain to the forehead. On rare occasion, the pain extends across the forehead. (Photo 2) Trigger points in the upper portion of the muscle refer into the ear and posterior to the ear.
The semispinalis capitis and other posterior neck muscles sustain enormous tension as patients maintain a forward head posture throughout their day while writing, reading, working at a computer, driving and maintaining poor posture.
There are two trigger points in the semispinalis capitis muscle that produce the same referral pattern. These trigger points project a band of pain forward that encircles one side of the head, with the intensity focusing in the temple region, then continuing to wrap around to the forehead. (Photo 3) Trigger points labeled Location 1 are found where the muscle attaches to the skull. Location 2 trigger points are located in the upper third of the muscle. Trigger points in the middle and lower portions of the muscle are shown as Location 3 and refer into the back of the head on the same side.
Trigger points form in the frontalis from direct trauma, over stress from prolonged intense frowning or wrinkling of the forehead. The referral pattern for the frontalis is local and spreads upward over the forehead. (Photo 4)
Next we will review key and satellite trigger points. A Key Myofascial Trigger Point is responsible for activating one or more satellite trigger points. It is clinically defined when an inactivated key trigger point results in the inactivation of the satellite trigger points. Satellite Myofascial Trigger Points can form for many reasons, one being in the pain referral zone of a Key Myofascial Trigger Point. Since satellite trigger points can form in the frontalis as a result of key trigger points, be sure to examine and inactivate key trigger points in the clavicular division of sternocliedmastoid (Photo 2) or the Zygomaticus major. (Photo 5)
When the zygomaticus major contracts, it makes us smile by pulling the corner of our mouth upward and laterally. Referred pain from zygomaticus major trigger points project along the side of the nose into the forehead. (Photo 5) Be sure to examine and inactivate key trigger points in muscles like the clavicular division of sternocliedmastoid that refer into the zygomaticus major region. (Photo 2)
Patients appreciate when you take a few minutes prior to the therapy session to educate them of the strategies you implement to identify and address the muscular components of their pain. Photos are powerful visual aids that leave a lasting impression in the patient's mind and help you to quickly deliver a clear message. The saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" speaks volumes when conveying postural analysis findings. Trigger points are often within the myofascial tissues involved in the postural distortions.
Keep the postural analysis process fast and simple. Using the camera of a cell phone, you can take postural photos and instantly give a report of findings to your patients. An anterior view photo will easily pinpoint a high shoulder, while lateral view photos make it easy to show a forward head posture. (Photo 6) Photos allow patients to finally see and understand why they hurt and how you can help. Postural analysis photos are extremely effective even when patients are wearing shoes and/or loose fitting clothes. Read Getting Comfortable With Postural Analysis (MT, July 2008).
Using a postural analysis grid chart with a plumb line makes it easy for anyone looking at the photos to spot postural asymmetries. Pictures also are an excellent way to document change over time. After patients understand the postural stresses their muscles are enduring, they understand why you took the time to educate them.
Treating the muscular components of Frontal headaches is easy when you know which muscles to treat based on the research. The five muscles in this article should be checked, unless contraindicated, for frontal headaches. As always, based on the patients subjective complaints, your objective finding and other factors, you will design customized treatment plans that produce positive clinical outcomes. Stay in touch and I wish you great success in your treatment sessions.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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