resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
November, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 11
Joint Capsular Patterns
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Passive and active range-of-motion tests are routinely used to identify soft-tissue pathologies. Unfortunately, practitioners often do not derive the full benefits of the information they can acquire through these tests.An expanded understanding of joint biomechanics will help you gain much more valuable information in your range of motion evaluations that will greatly improve your treatment strategies. When certain soft-tissue pathologies are present, many joints have a characteristic pattern of limited movement. Each pattern of movement limitation is unique to a particular joint. This movement restriction is caused by dysfunction in the joint capsule. Consequently, it's called the joint's capsular pattern.
Diarthrodial (freely moveable) joints have a space between the two articulating bones. The joint capsule is a fibrous connective tissue that holds the two bones together. It is composed of two different tissues. The outermost layer is a tough connective tissue called the fibrous capsule and is mostly made of ligamentous fibers. Inside the fibrous capsule is another layer of tissue called the synovial membrane (Figure 1). This membrane is responsible for secreting synovial fluid, which helps to lubricate the joint, supply nutrients and remove metabolic wastes from the area.
The fibrous capsule is richly innervated so it can produce a great deal of pain if there is any damage to it. The synovial membrane, however, has very little, if any, innervation and so it is rarely a source of pain. However, any irritation or restriction of the synovial membrane may also affect the fibrous capsule and therefore cause pain. In fact, stretching a fibrously adhered or restricted joint capsule is thought to be the chief cause of pain in osteoarthritis. Damage or dysfunction to the fibrous capsule or synovial membrane is then likely to produce a capsular pattern of motion restriction.
Not all joints have capsular patterns. The pattern appears to be more characteristic of joints with significant range of motion. For example, the sacroiliac joint, which is more of a tight and fibrous articulation with very little movement, does not have a capsular pattern. It makes sense that joints with very limited movement would not have a capsular pattern because it is very difficult to measure range of motion in them anyway. If the pattern of motion restriction in a joint is not the characteristic capsular pattern for that joint, the restriction is referred to as a non-capsular pattern. A non-capsular pattern would exist in a situation where there was joint or soft-tissue pathology but the joint capsule was not the primary tissue at fault.
The shoulder (glenohumeral joint) has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body. Consequently this is also the joint where the capsular pattern is most important to evaluate, and where capsular pattern evaluations are used most frequently. Capsular patterns are also very important in the shoulder because unlike most other joints where motion is first limited by muscles becoming taut, it is actually the joint capsule that can limit shoulder motion in certain directions before the muscles become fully stretched.
In the shoulder, the capsular pattern dictates that motion restrictions occur first in lateral rotation, then in abduction, and third in medial rotation. In the early stages of a capsular restriction you may only see limitations to external rotation. As the condition progresses, there would be further limitations including abduction and eventually medial rotation. If an individual has a significant limitation to abduction, but no problem with lateral rotation, this would be considered a non-capsular pattern. As a result, this pathology is probably not primarily a joint capsule pathology. A much more likely cause would be some type of external structure causing the movement restriction such as an impingement problem under the acromion process.
Putting The Information To Use
In many cases, massage practitioners are not likely to be treating internal joint pathologies that involve joint capsule damage. However, certain conditions such as adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), directly involve the joint capsule. There are effective massage treatment strategies for adhesive capsulitis, so it will be very helpful to identify if the joint capsule is involved. One of the big advantages of understanding the capsular pattern in this condition is you can continually monitor range of motion in the capsular pattern to measure how successful your treatment is at improving range of motion and reducing the capsular restriction.
Muscles are also a common limiting factor in joint range of motion. Consequently, muscular restrictions could mimic or magnify the capsular pattern of restriction. When performing range of motion evaluations, be sure to consider the musculotendinous unit, as well as ligamentous/capsular restrictions. There are a number of resources that have lists of capsular patterns for specific joints. The resources indicated here have charts or lists of capsular patterns that are very informative.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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