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Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Viewpoints: Massage Reduces Nonspecific Shoulder Pain, Improves Function
While seemingly universal, pain and stiffness in the shoulders can be a significant cause of disability. Often a pain that does not go away on its own, shoulder complaints tend to linger, sometimes for 12 months or longer.
News in Brief
ACA Exec. Vice President Out, Acting EVP In; F4CP Executive Director Retires; New ED Named.
Treating GERD and Incontinence: Focus on Trigger Points
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is defined as the regurgitation of stomach acid in the esophagus. Previously, it was thought that GERD was caused by a hiatal hernia, but recent trials suggest the cause is an inability of the hiatal sphincter to contract normally.
Pain Is Only a Piece of the Puzzle
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint: headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel, etc.
Managing Tibialis Posterior Tendon Injuries
The tibialis posterior is the deepest, strongest and most central muscle of the leg, with fibers originating from the tibia, fibula and interosseous membrane.
What Do You Know About Physician Compare?
Physician Compare is a website that allows consumers to search for and obtain information about physicians and other health care professionals who provide Medicare services.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Striking a Blow to the Medical Monopoly
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission.
God and the Chiropractor
My wife went to church last Wednesday night and brought home a CD of the pastor's message. As she handed it to me, she said, "You should listen to this; you'll like it." Our family regularly goes to church and our faith plays a major role in our lives.
Older Patients, Stroke Risk and Manipulation
The first population-based study in the United States to evaluate stroke risk following spinal manipulation – and the first involving older adults – suggests that "[c]hiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.
Keep Seniors Safe: Age-Proofing the Home
I want to give Dr. Claudia Anrig kudos for her Dec. 1, 2014 column, which highlighted safety issues youngsters might encounter in the home.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 2)
A fairly recent discovery in nutrition supplemental medicine has proven to be a breakthrough in maintaining athletic joint health. Research suggests a combination of undenatured type-II collagen and tetrahydro-iso-alpha acids helps revitalize joint function and performance in athletes.
How We Can Help the Injured Brain
The majority of patients with mild traumatic brain injuries recover within seven to 10 days. If concussion signs and symptoms continue beyond seven days, the diagnosis changes from acute concussion to post-concussion syndrome.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
December, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 12
Back Pain: Signs and Symptoms of the Iliopsoas Muscle
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
Patients come to you concerned about their back pain, looking for answers and relief. The pain started when they tried to get out of bed or reached for the keys that fell onto the floor. Your ability to quickly assess your patient's symptoms and communicate your objective findings can determine if they schedule additional appointments, upgrade services or a treatment package, refer others and in some cases the amount of your tip.(Read "Practice Building: Getting Inside Your Patient's Head" MT, January 2011). The iliopsoas muscle can refer pain into the back that ranges from a mild ache to a severe debilitating level of intense pain. We will explore the signs and symptoms that indicate involvement of the iliopsoas muscle and ways to communicate your findings.
Patients will report pain and difficulty when attempting to stand erect after extended periods of hip flexion after driving or reading, seated at a desk or computer, sleeping in a hip flexed or side lying fetal position. The iliopsaos is the primary flexor of the thigh. So pain is often experienced from the iliopsoas when the patient contracts the muscle to perform hip flexion or a sit up movement when rising from a lying position.
Now, lets look at the function of this muscle from another perspective. When the thigh is in a fixed position, as when weight bearing, the iliopsoas acts as a trunk flexor. This is easily spotted during your postural and gait analysis. Postural analysis photos make it easy to document and educate patients of a shortened iliospoas muscle that is causing them to stand in a hip flexed position, bearing weight on the uninvolved side, while keeping the knee bent on the painful shorten side to shorten and reduce tension on the iliospoas (Image 1). The iliopsoas plays an import roll in maintaining upright posture when standing by preventing hyperextension of the hip joint. (Read "Getting Comfortable With Postural Analysis" MT, July 2008)
The iliopsoas is also active during gait. When the iliopsoas is shortened, patients will walk with a stooped posture, tilting their pelvis forward creating a hyperlordosis of the lumbar spine and limping when bearing weight on the involved side.
Proximally, the psoas major muscle attaches to the 12th thoracic and to all of the lumbar vertebral bodies and the corresponding intervertebral discs and the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae. The iliacus attaches proximally to iliac fossa, the sacrum and the anterior sacroiliac ligaments. Distally, the two tendons merge forming the iliopsoas tendon to attach onto the lesser trochanter of the femur. (Image 2)
One simple way to check the length of the iliopsoas is to have the patient sit on the edge to the therapy table, extending the hip of the iliopsoas being assessed, while flexing the opposite hip, bring the opposite knee and thight toward the chest to flatten the back, stabilize the pelvis and avoid creating a hyperlordosis of the lumbar spine. Using a photo, it is easy show the right iliopsoas length appears normal and how the shortened left hamstrings are limiting range of motion, preventing the left knee and thigh from moving closer to the chest. (Image 3)
Myofascial trigger points in the psoas muscle refer pain along the spine ipsilaterally from the lower thoracic to the sacral and upper gluteal regions. (Image 4) Patients will point moving their hand up and down or encircle one side of their back, near the spine. When trigger points are referring from both iliospoas muscles, patients will point moving their hand side to side. Iliacus produces the same back pain as psoas and referrers to the anterior thigh and groin.
While trigger points can arise in the iliopsoas from acute overload, they are usually associated with trigger points in other muscles. It will be important to assess and treat the lumbar paraspinal muscles, quadratus lumborum, tensor faciae latae, pectineus, rectus femoris, rectus abdominus (Read "Back Pain Caused by Rectus Abdominis Trigger Points" MT, June 2009), and the contralateral iliospoas muscle.
While it is easy to identify involvement of the iliopsoas, it is necessary to ruled out any precautions and or contraindications prior to performing any stretching or manual therapy. The iliopsoas is clinically important in relation to the kidneys, ureters, pancreas, appendix, sigmoid colon, lumbar lymph nodes and nerves. A clear understanding of the anatomy and proper hands-on training is necessary prior to treating this muscle. Many patients find yoga be a great way to provide self care for the iliopsoas muscle while lengthening and strengthening their entire body.
The treatment of back pain is common and hopefully easier now that you know many of the signs and symptoms of the iliopsoas muscle. Here are a few other articles I encourage you to read "Iliosacral Pain You Can't Touch" (MT, April 2011), "Back Pain: Often a Pain in the Gluteus Medius" (MT, March 2009), and "Pseudo-Sciatica and Gluteus Minimus Trigger Points" (MT, May 2011).
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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