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Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
March, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 03
Trying to Get Something From Nothing
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
"Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand" – Paul Newman in the movie, "Cool Hand Luke."
You are going to be hearing more and more about evidence-based massage therapy (EBMT). Partly, this reflects a current trend in health care to re-evaluate treatment and to determine what has a sound basis for use and what doesn't. One example of this is the Institute of Medicine report, "Evidence-Based Medicine and the Changing Nature of Healthcare."
A second factor is the existence of the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF), which has goals of making those in the profession aware of research, promoting research literacy and integrating research with practice. I would count the forthcoming book on such integration by Dryden and Moyer as among the efforts facilitated by the MTF.
A third factor is massage therapy now being regulated by the majority of states, combined with the legal presumption that such regulation is done for the protection of the public. If we consider that training is necessary for safe practice, the presumption of public protection can only be fulfilled when state-mandated training is based upon a solid foundation of objectively validated knowledge.
A final factor is the modern technology embodied in an interactive web. Communication without regard to physical proximity is facilitating extensive discussions among those both with a stake in massage therapy and with backgrounds in research and statistics. Alice Sanvito discusses evidence-based massage on her web site and provides a number of links there to additional resources. I like the definition she gives for EBMT.
Evidenced based massage therapy is massage therapy founded on ideas and principles supported by evidence. Many of the claims made and practices used by massage therapists are founded on tradition rather than evidence. Since there is not yet a large body of knowledge documenting the physiology of and effects of massage therapy, if we were only able to make statements strictly on the basis of scientific studies, we would be severely limited indeed. Some people prefer the term "evidence informed practice" as more accurate. An evidence informed practice takes into consideration scientific evidence, clinical experience and careful observation.
The concept of being evidence-based, however, necessitates having methods to collect such evidence. In this, we also need to be careful to distinguish between whether or not an intervention can be shown to work (beyond random chance) and the model that we believe is the mechanism underlying the intervention. It is fully possible, as with massage relieving muscle soreness and the lactic acid myth, for an intervention to be effective while the supposed mechanism is incorrect. The randomized controlled trial (RCT) is taken as the "gold standard" of clinical proof, but how does that work? We need three things: a study population, a methodology for the study and the ability to analyze the results for effectiveness.
For example, our study population might be those diagnosed with high blood pressure, over the age of 40, not having other medical complications and not knowing Morse code. The goal of our study might be to determine whether or not listening to relaxing messages keyed in Morse code by a live practitioner were effective in reducing blood pressure. A complicating factor for the study is that people respond to the presence of other people. As put by Ravensara Travillian recently, "As psychosocial beings, we respond psychologically and socially in ways that can be described as healing body and mind due to presence and caring attention from others." Thus, our study will need a means of differentiating the effects of the Morse code from those effects simply from the practitioner's presence and the setup of the trial itself.
After gaining a sufficient number of suitable participants, we would fulfill the "randomized" concept of the trial by randomly dividing them into three groups: control, sham Morse-code and Morse code. The intervention might be three-times per week for 12 weeks. Controls would come in, have their blood pressure (BP) measured, wait 30 minutes, and have their BP measured again. Those in the Morse-code group would, in the 30 minutes wait, listen to Morse-code keyed by one of several live practitioners. Those in the "sham-group" would listen to 30 minutes of keying, similar to Morse-code, but keyed by "practitioners" unfamiliar with Morse-code. With this protocol, we can look for short-term effects between sessions, beginning and session end, as well as for longer term effects over the length of the study. By taking follow-up measurements after the end of the 12 weeks, we can also look for persistence of any changes.
Now we get to the point of getting something from nothing. We assume the null hypothesis, that any differences between the groups is simply from random chance, and calculate the probability (p) that this assumption is true. We conclude that there is a statistically significant difference between groups only when the probability of our observations being due entirely to chance is less than 5% (p<0.05). We have three separate probabilities to check: whether the sham group is statistically different from the control group (psychosocial effect), whether the Morse code group is different from the control group (psychosocial plus Morse code), and whether the difference between the sham and code groups is significant (Morse code effect). In a recent paper, Bakker and Wicherts underscore the importance of doing the third test explicitly, even when the differences between the sham and control groups is not significant.
If there is no difference between the three groups, the study would conclude that, in the clinical trial as designed, neither psychosocial factors nor messages in Morse-code were effective. If the sham group differed statistically from the control, we would conclude that there was a psychosocial effect. Because the psychosocial effect would also be present in the code group, only if the code group was statistically different from the sham group could we conclude that there was an effect from Morse-code itself. Note that this code effect could be of either sign, adding to a psychosocial effect or negating it.
There you have the outline of a randomized control/clinical trial. Assuming initially that we get no difference, we end up with information. Sometimes "nothing can be a real cool hand."
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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