resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
May, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 05
Soft Tissue Tools Help Post-Natal Calf Pain: A Case Study
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed By Derek R. Austin, BS, MS, CMT, Sandra K. Anderson, BA, LMT, ABT and April V. Neufeld, BS, LMP, NCTMB
Do you use massage tools in your practice? Do you work with post-natal women? If so, this month's Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) research column features a case study that might interest you.According to the Massage Therapy Foundation's website (www.massagetherapyfoundation.org) a case study documents a massage therapist's experience with an individual client. Case studies help the practitioner and the massage therapy profession improve communication and critical thinking skills, and they can contribute to future research and clinical practice. If you are a massage therapy student, read on to see how you can enter the MTF Student Case Report Contest.
We all want to save our thumbs and have long, pain-free careers. This month, the MTF is reviewing what could be called massage tool research. It is not a commonly researched topic, so we are highlighting information from the Department of Physical Therapy at Indiana University. In this case study, Amy Bayliss, et al, reported on how instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (ISTM) was used to treat a post-natal patient with chronic calf pain.
Musculoskeletal pain is often reported by women at the end of pregnancy and following delivery. While lower back pain is most common in pre-natal women, non-specific lower leg pain is another common symptom reported during pregnancy. Such pain is thought to decline at some point after delivery. However, massage therapists know that this musculoskeletal pain can linger and is often successfully treated with massage. One method is cross-fiber friction (CFF), sometimes known as Cyriax technique. ISTM is based upon the concepts of CFF, applied with a uniquely-shaped instrument.
The patient in this case study was a 35-year-old female who had a two-year history of right mid-calf pain, beginning during the last trimester of her first pregnancy. The calf pain was preceded by severe lower leg edema. On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain was described as a dull ache, rating 2 on the day of examination, 0 at best and 5 on her worst day. Pain with deep palpation was an 8. There were no relieving activities and her symptoms were aggravated by direct pressure on the calf such as crossing her legs, and by activities that created tension in her calf, such as walking up stairs, jogging or strength training. The calf pain limited her activities of daily living, including standing and lifting her 35 pound son.
There were no significant issues with the arteries, veins or nerves, or with the endocrine and gastrointestinal systems. Additionally, the hip, sacroiliac joint and lumbar spine were cleared of dysfunction. An MRI was considered normal, although a dense soft tissue abnormality in the small superficial venous tissue network was noted that corresponded to the patient's pain in the right calf. Range of motion testing was normal. The instruments used by the physical therapist during treatment were those specifically for Graston Technique. The Graston Technique is a form of ISTM combined with a targeted stretching and strengthening program. (Currently, Graston tools are limited to chiropractors, physical therapists and athletic trainers and are restricted from massage therapists.)
The goals of treatment were for the patient to be able to stand for two hours, sit cross-legged and walk up stairs without right calf pain, as she was previously able to do. The patient also wanted to be able to lift 40 pounds from floor to waist without right calf pain so she could lift her child. The patient received nine treatment sessions over eight weeks, consisting of a 5 minute warm-up of brisk walking, 6 to 8 minutes of ISTM on the posterior right calf, standing stretches for gastrocnemius and soleus, eccentric exercise for the right calf and ice for 10 minutes to reduce inflammation.
On reassessment after eight weeks, soft tissue quality of the right calf was considered normal, meaning supple and easily moved. Additionally, her pain was reduced from 8 with deep palpation to 0. Her pain at rest had also improved to 0 and 0 to 1 with activity. Follow-up at one month and four months showed no return of pain. A follow-up MRI was not possible because the patient became pregnant three months after conclusion of treatment.
This study has several notable limitations for immediate application into massage practice including being a case report without experimental or comparison groups; featuring patented tools and techniques requiring specialized training and expense; and excluding any massage techniques such as gliding, kneading or compression, which are commonly used during a massage session.
Additionally, two points represent the gap between the work physical therapists and massage therapists do. First, the term "trigger point" never appears in this case study, even though it could be a possible cause of the tender mass in the patient's calf. Second, the authors write, "One of the consequences of targeted soft tissue mobilization and in particular ISTM is bruising over the site of the soft tissue dysfunction." They include an image of the patient's bruise, clearly visible after a treatment session and a few inches in diameter. Most massage therapists adjust their pressure to avoid bruising clients.
The authors conclude, "ISTM offers a mechanical advantage afforded to the clinician as well as the potential to minimize the clinician's joint stress. […] Allowing the tools to absorb mechanical stress rather than the therapist's hands has the potential to reduce over-use injury to the treating clinician." While the evidence is still preliminary, it points toward the continued use of massage tools. However, as massage therapists cannot practice Graston Technique, the application of this research to massage practice is unfortunately limited. Although alternative massage tools may be as effective, massage therapists should continue to rely on clinical judgment when deciding whether to use massage tools in practice.
To learn more about the effects of massage therapy, review the Massage Therapy Foundation article archives, read accepted MTF Research Grant abstracts, or search PubMed for massage therapy studies. For more information on Graston Technique, see their website.
Are you a massage therapy student with an interesting case of your own? The MTF Student Case Report Contest submission deadline is June 1, 2013. The Massage Therapy Foundation has offered Case Report Contests since 2006 to provide massage and bodywork practitioners and students a way to develop research skills and enhance their ability to provide evidence informed massage to the public. Cash prizes are available to the winners of each contest, contingent on publication of the case report.
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