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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!
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
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.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
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.
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.
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
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.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
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.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
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.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
November, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 11
Practice Building with Self-Care Tips
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
Our patient's lives are affected, on many levels, by their pain. They spend a lot of time and money receiving treatment and are looking for the best return on their investment. Building a successful practice that stands out from your competition includes providing self-care tips.Patients need to know how to care for themselves between treatments. They appreciate, respect and recommend your practice when you deliver useful information that is easy to understand and implement into their daily lives. Here are some suggestions for delivering self-care tips. I have also included links to video clips that discuss these concepts in more detail.
After a cleaning procedure at a dental clinic, the hygienist provides a new toothbrush with samples of toothpaste and floss with patient self-care tips. They explain and demonstrate proper techniques for brushing and flossing (See image 1). The hygienist also stresses that implementing these simple recommendations will prevent costly oral disease, pain and medical procedures. They finish by giving you the samples, collecting payment and scheduling the next appointment. This is a time proven practice-building model in the healthcare profession. (Read "Practice Building: Getting Inside Your Patient's Head," MT, January 2011).
Patients often ask their massage therapist for advice or guidance pertaining to self-care. Just like a dentist or other healthcare provider, you can easily provide cost effective self-care tips. However, you can only make recommendations within your legal scope of practice, so stay current with the laws.
Treatment can be more specific when patients are assessed and educated about their postural patterns, restricted joint range of motion, myofascial trigger points and how they cause pain (see image 2.) Poor posture and improper biomechanics while walking, running or performing any repetitive movement can perpetuate or reestablish a patient's pain. These patterns develop over hours, days, and years from holding in positions that caused some myofascial tissues to habitually stay shortened and others lengthened. Other activities that contributes to poor posture in today's modern world include a lack of physical exercise, being overweight, sleeping on one side or supine with a pillow under the head and knees, sitting the majority of the day while eating, driving, at a desk or computer, watching TV, etc.
With the digital camera built into an iPhone, smart phone, tablet or iPad, you can instantly take postural analysis photos and gait videos. No special software is needed, just the camera built into the device. Zoom-in on photos and show patients their forward head and high shoulder posture (see image 3). Play the gait video, assessing the positions and movements of the lower and upper extremities. This level of education leaves a lasting impression of your ability to quickly identify the musculoskeletal cause of a patient's pain while instantly providing visual evidence of your objective findings and how it supports their subjective complaints. A picture is worth a thousand words so show each patient the myofascial causes of their pain, then explain how your treatments and self-care tips can help. (Read "Practice Building with Postural Analysis," MT, January 2012).
Patients are more likely to implement self-care tips that are simple and easy to make a part of their daily lives at home, work or when traveling. Every patient has unique challenges and they must individualize their own self-care routine. Explain what muscles and joints are being stretched, where they are located and why restoring proper movement helps their symptoms improve. To establish and maintain proper posture, gait and other movements the muscles throughout the body must be able to completely contract, relax and lengthen. The cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine must flex, extend and rotate. The ribs should move with breath and each scapula fully retract, protract, elevate, depress and rotate on the rib cage. All of the joints in the body need to properly move as they are designed.
As a visual aid, I use videos, anatomical models and even a slinky, to help patients understand the movements that take place throughout their vertebral column and rib cage. Next, I show them the movements I perform daily to maintain good postural and normal range of motion in the joints throughout my body. I am able to communicate to my patients with first hand knowledge and experience. I show my patients how I stretch, depending on the environment, sitting on a chair or standing holding onto a desk, table or counter top.
I demonstrate how I use an exercise ball throughout the day to stretch and maintain good range of motion (see images 4a and 4b). I also mention how to select the correct size, safety tips and major differences between the various types on the market.
My schedule is busy and changes frequently. I downloaded a yoga application onto my iPhone and now I have a variety of 20-minute routines with me anytime, anyplace, at home, between treatments or when traveling. I integrate yoga into my self-care routine and share how it helps both physically and mentally.
Patients often do not know how or when to use ice. This is a perfect opportunity to provide self-care tips that are simple, cost effective and set your practice apart from the competition. Review the importance of a towel between the ice pack and skin, indications and contraindications. Create a fact sheet about the use of ice to give to your patients.
For patients with acute soft tissue injures, I show them helpful tips for applying ice. I freeze water in 9-ounce cups to create large ice cubes. I keep them handy in the freezer at the clinic or in a cooler when on out calls. This size allows for application on large or multiple areas.
So the patient can conveniently start ice applications, I send them home with a few 9-ounce ice cubes by placing the ice in a freezer strength (Zip Lock) plastic bag.
Ice is extremely beneficial, but not always a practical option. Many people find topical analgesics helpful for providing relief of their symptoms.
Medical doctors give patients samples of drugs. You can provide samples of topical analgesics. One company will supply you, free of charge, patient education brochures with your name and phone number printed on them with a sample packet of the topical analgesic attached. This is a free way to promote your business. Topical analgesics sell for a fifty percent profit and are great way to increase your income. Place a counter top display case of the product in your treatment room and checkout counter. Also take a counter top display when preforming chair massage or at public events like health fairs.
The economy today does not allow people to miss work or lose income. They need treatment that is cost effective and provides long-term solutions. I hope this article showed you how to take the best from the dental model and redesign it for your practice. Give every patient the gift of knowledge and standout from your competition. Teach them how to care and maintain their bodies to avoid pain and unnecessary emergency treatments. Educate them on posture, gait and self-care tips. Give them a gift bag, just like the dentist, with sample packs of the topical analgesic, ice cups, recommendation sheets and your business card with the date and time of their next treatment. Good luck and I wish you success.
Editor's Note: Check out this exclusive practice building video from David Kent: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVpoWkt4aQvK9mUJNL_OMZ9zEIZqutwC9
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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