resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
February, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 02
Giving a Big Thumbs Up for Healthy Thumbs
By Judith DeLany, LMT
The thumb is one of the most practical and necessary implements of the body. It is the first self-comforting tool to be used, often seen thrust into the mouth of a fetus in the womb. Throughout life, the thumb is constantly used without conscious thought, making it easy to forget just how vital the thumb is in daily life. That is, until it is injured.
Imagine holding a glass of water without a thumb, or pulling up your pants, writing with a pencil or using a paintbrush. Although those who are thumb-challenged can usually improvise, one can readily experience the difficulties by simply duct-taping the thumbs to the palms for a day.
The thumb pad is richly endowed with sensory receptors and is associated with more brain receptors for receiving information than most other body parts. This makes the thumb a particularly useful palpation tool. While articles abound excluding the use of the thumb in massage, this article offers insights as to how to protect the thumb in order to use it for a lifetime.
Anatomy of the Thumb
The osteo-articular column of the thumb is comprised of five bones – scaphoid, trapezium, first metacarpal and two phalanges. The four joints within the column allow for flexion–extension, abduction–adduction, rotation and circumduction of the thumb. Only a ball and socket joint offers more range than the saddle joint of the thumb, which permits angular motion in almost any plane. Because the thumb is attached more proximally than the fingers, it also offers the hand an inherent architectural advantage, particularly in grasping, opposition and apposition.
In contrast to its profound mobility, the thumb can also be used as a solid structure for compression of myofascial tissues. As a solo instrument, the columnar thumb can statically compress muscle fibers into underlying tissues. In conjunction with the other digits (particularly the index and ring fingers), it can be used to grasp the tissues and to apply pincer compression (like a C-clamp), flat compression (like a clothes pin) and manipulation (the international hand signal for money). Each of these techniques offers ample opportunity to assess the tissues and also a standing opportunity for injury, repetitive strain and subsequent dysfunction of the thumb joints.
While the thumb is undoubtedly a useful tool in massage therapy, it can be misused and abused by poor mechanical habits. Gliding strokes applied with thumbs placed side-by-side (ulnar surfaces touching) project pressure through the osteo-articular column and onto the joint surfaces in a manner that is protective of the ligaments. However, gliding strokes applied with the thumbs touching tip-to-tip produce valgus forces on the thumb joints and can lead to a slow, insidious stretching of the thumb's ulnar ligaments.
Skier's thumb (also known as gamekeeper's thumb) develops due to a sprain or strain of the (usually strong) ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpophalangeal joint. This may result in instability and weakness of the thumb, painful joints and, ultimately, arthritis and joint deterioration. This type of injury can happen abruptly, such as when falling onto the outstretched hand (particularly if gripping something, like a ski pole), or it can occur over time due to chronic repetitive stretching of the ligament, as occurs with poor biomechanics when performing massage.
Following an abrupt injury, the thumb may swell and be bruised, however, sometimes pain may not occur until a day or two later, or even over a period of weeks. When ligaments are torn, surgical repair may be necessary or treatment might consist of splinting or casting and rest. Exercises might be required to regain range of motion, although it may take weeks or even months for complete range and strength to be restored. This type of injury is usually more tangible than the similar results that occur with a repetitive overstretching of the ligaments through poor habits of use. Nevertheless, their outcomes may be similar, with painful loss of function being the ultimate consequence.
Besides sprains associated with falls and poor thumb mechanics, thumb dysfunction can also stem from hitting with clenched fist, bowling (which can also produce neural damage to the digital nerve from the edge of the hole of the ball) and chronic strains associated with excessive use when texting and playing video games. The following tips may be useful in preventing injury.
Judith DeLany serves as director of NMT Center, writes textbooks for Elsevier Health Sciences, and lectures internationally in the field of neuromuscular therapy. For more information regarding her work, visit www.nmtcenter.com or call toll-free at (866) 571-7942.
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