resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
September, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 09
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
As the population of the country ages, massage practitioners should be aware of various diseases and conditions that are increasingly common in an older age group. One such condition is a connective tissue disorder that affects the palmar fascia of the hand, called Dupuytren's contracture.
The primary structure affected in Dupuytren's contracture is the palmar fascia (Figure 1). The fibers of the palmar fascia are arranged in different directions. However, it appears that the longitudinally-oriented fibers (ones parallel with the long tendons in the hand) are the ones most affected in this condition.
The palmar fascia is strongly tethered to the skin and underlying bone, unlike most of the sub-cutaneous fascia in other regions of the body. This tethering is to increase the strength of the fascia against tensile stresses between the skin, fascia, and bones that would have a tendency to pull the fascia free from its attachments. The skin and fascia of the hand are susceptible to this kind of problem because stresses occur on the soft tissues of the palm when grasping objects with strong force. These forces are significantly higher in the palm than in other areas of the body.
Dupuytren's contracture begins with a fibrous shortening of the longitudinal palmar fascia fibers. The pathological process that starts the contracture is still unclear. However, it appears to begin with a proliferation of fibroblasts, producing new collagen that forms into nodules and fibrous restrictions.
There are different types of collagen in the body. Type 1 collagen is most prevalent in tendons, ligaments and superficial fascia. Type 3 collagen is present in high concentrations in scar tissue. The fibrous nodules and collagen binding that occurs in Dupuytren's contracture is predominantly Type 3 collagen, which may be one of the reasons it is so difficult to stretch and elongate. As the collagen binding progresses, the fascia will further contract and draw the digits of the hand into a fixed flexion deformity (see Figure 2). The metacarpophalangeal (MCP) and proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints of the fourth and fifth digits are the ones most commonly affected.
There appears to be a strong genetic predisposition to development of Dupuytren's contracture. It is most common in people who are of northern European descent.1,2 While the condition does not appear directly related to traumatic incidents in the hand or forearm, there is some indication that some inciting disease or event may encourage development of the condition.
There are several other common factors in the symptom picture of people with Dupuytren's. It is far more common in men than in women and appears with greatest frequency for people in their 40s or 50s. The incidence of this pathology increases with smoking, alcoholism, diabetes, epilepsy or other convulsive disorders.
Information in the client history helps identify any of the risk factors mentioned above. If the condition is in the early stages, there may be some fibrous nodules that are palpable in the palm region, especially over the fourth and fifth digits. In many cases, the skin will pucker a bit in the region over the fibrous nodules. The surface of the palm is also likely to be tender to palpation.
If the condition is in an early stage, there will probably be some limitation to active as well as passive extension in the digits; the full flexion deformity, however, will not be evident. In later stages, the flexion deformity will be much more pronounced and the hand will appear more like the image in Figure 2.
Some pathologies in the hand may have similar symptoms. Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) may have movement restrictions and pain patterns similar to those in Dupuytren's contracture. However, with trigger finger you can usually force the digit into full extension, even if the action is a bit painful and the palmar nodules are usually not present.
In the early stages, massage and other forms of soft-tissue manipulation are far more likely to be helpful than in later and more advanced stages. The greatest benefits come from techniques such as deep longitudinal stripping, myofascial approaches, and vigorous regular stretching.
It is very helpful to teach the client an aggressive plan of self-stretching so the tissues can have the greatest opportunity to reduce the fibrous binding. Stretching the fingers and wrist in hyperextension is the motion to emphasize most.
Myofascial trigger points in the palmaris longus or other forearm muscles may contribute to either pain or movement restrictions that may exacerbate the fibrous restriction process.3 Therefore, when treating this problem, address the forearm muscles and any other soft tissues of the upper extremity that might also be contributing to further tension in the palmar fascia.
Other conservative treatment approaches may be used in physical or occupational therapy to address this condition. If these conservative approaches are not beneficial, surgery may be performed to reduce the restrictions of the fascia and restore proper range of motion in the hand.
Surgical treatment will most often include procedures such as a fasciotomy, involving a longitudinal incision following the course of the hand and finger tendons in order to free up any restriction between the fascia and its adjacent tissues. In other cases, a fasciectomy may be performed. This is a procedure in which a portion of the palmar fascia may be resected or removed in order to enhance mobility. This mobility can be further enhanced by a surgical incision called a Z-plasty. In this procedure, the incision looks like a zig-zag (Figure 3). Due to the disruptive nature of this procedure, there can be a long period of post-surgical healing. However, mobility is restored for most people who have this surgical procedure performed.
There may be some alternatives to the surgical procedure in advanced cases of contracture. Initial trials indicate that injection of collagenase (an enzyme that can encourage the breakdown of collagen) is helpful in reducing the fibrosity of Dupuytren's. However, further clinical trials are necessary to validate this theory.4
If addressed early in the development phase, massage is very helpful in addressing this complaint and may prevent it from becoming a more serious problem. If the condition has progressed further and surgery has become necessary, massage can still be valuable in the post-surgical phase. For example, the Z-plasty procedure runs the risk of scar tissue developing after the surgery. When sufficient time has passed, soft-tissue mobilization can be helpful to encourage free movement between the skin and adjacent fascia.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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