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Massage Today
December, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 12

Tips for the ADD and Dyslexic Therapist

By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

Many people, including healthcare providers, suffer with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and/or dyslexia. They should be happy to know their name is among a list of brilliant people like Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Often, during a session, suffers realize they have forgotten the patient's name, or if the pain was located on the right or the left shoulder. They get confused about which myofascial tissues to assess and treat. However, by having effective systems in place, suffers can avoid embarrassing situations and function at highly effective levels. Einstein and Da Vinci used illustrations to assess, document, review and communicate their findings. I would like to share numerous tips to keep you focused, on target and with the necessary information available in a picture format, so you are relaxed and able to let your gifted skills shine.


We can only receive, process and remember a limited amount of information at a time. Often, the number seven, plus or minus two, is our capacity limit for processing information. However, the reality is that during a session, you might need to remember, juggle, toggle and switch between seven or more things at any given moment about the patient, the treatment plan, the schedule, etc. Systems that utilize visual images are intuitive and easy to follow. A picture is worth a thousand words, making it a powerful aid for staying organized.


ADD and Dyslexic Therapist - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The location and description of the patient's pain can provide several clues. Have each patient complete a "Pain Form" before each session by writing their name, shading the areas of their body that hurt, adding descriptive modifiers like: A = Ache, P = Pain, S = Stabbing, etc. The intensity of the pain should also be rated on a scale of one to ten (1 = No pain and 10 = Extreme pain). Now you have the patient's subjective complaints in a visual format. Position this form so it can be seen and referenced, even at a distance, throughout the session.


It is easy to take photos and videos of your patients with your iPhone, smart phone, tablet or iPad to document their poor posture and gait. Why wouldn't you use this technology to educate your patients? It is not magic and no special software is needed, you simply take a picture of the patient's posture, zoom-in and show them the obvious problems. Just like an orthopedic surgeon, dentist or chiropractor uses x-rays to educate the patient and formulate a treatment plan, you can take postural analysis photos and explain your findings. This process also captures the patient's physical appearance, hairstyle and more, which can be very helpful, to jog your memory prior to follow up sessions. 


Medical research of myofascial trigger points (TrPs) has identified the common TrP location(s) and pain referral pattern(s). You don't need to remember all the research, just be capable of referencing and applying that knowledge. On laminated wall or flip charts, use a wet erase marker to circle involved muscles based on the research. Now you have created a visual treatment plan to follow. Each muscle that needs to be assessed is circled and can be seen at a distance. Dictating or writing notes is very easy when you reference charts. Also, muscle movement charts are extremely helpful listing the normal degrees of joint range-of-motion and the muscles producing each movement throughout the body. This makes it easy to determine which muscles are causing the pain and/or limiting range-of-motion.


Even with attention deficit disorder and/or dyslexia you can stay focused during treatment. Like Einstein and Da Vinci, you can also use visuals to assess, document, review and communicate your findings. Please let me know how these systems worked for you. Good luck and I am curious to know how you adapted or modified these recommendations for your situation.

Click here for previous articles by David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.


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