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Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
August, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 08
The Theory of Orthopedic Massage, Part 1
By Ben Benjamin, PhD
Orthopedic massage is an extension of orthopedic medicine, a field that originated in the early 20th century with the work of Dr. James Cyriax. Dr. Cyriax developed a system of precise methods for assessing and treating soft-tissue injuries that do not require surgery.The term orthopedic massage was first coined by Whitney Lowe, a leading massage therapy educator (and Massage Today columnist). This modality has several distinguishing features that set it apart from other forms of massage. They fall into three major categories: theory, assessment and treatment. Here, we'll focus on the theory, and in part 2, I'll cover assessment and treatment.
To practice orthopedic massage effectively, therapists must possess a thorough background understanding of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and body mechanics. They must also understand a variety of additional core concepts, including five I'll discuss here: adhesive scar tissue, myofascial restrictions, ligament laxity, direct vs. indirect causes of pain and referred pain.
Adhesive Scar Tissue
Many people don't realize that the cause of most chronic pain in muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and joints is the poor healing and repeated tearing of adhesive scar tissue. A little bit of scar tissue, located in the right places, is a normal part of healing. It acts as the glue holding torn fibers together. But when tissues heal by forming a random, jumbled matrix of adhesions, constant re-tearing and pain usually follow.
When we use an injured part of the body and experience pain, it is often a sign that we are re-tearing malformed scar tissue, which then stimulates the formation of additional scar tissue. The secret of effective therapeutic treatment is breaking this cycle of tearing and re-tearing. In addition to removing any adhesive scar tissue that has already formed, we must prevent the formation of future adhesions by ensuring that healing takes place in the presence of a full range of movement.
Every cell, every muscle spindle, every muscle, every tendon and every ligament is wrapped in fascia. Myofascial restrictions result from every injury, as well as from poor posture or movement habits, and they predispose a person to suffering from more pain and injury problems in the future. Therefore, the ability to identify and effectively treat fascial restrictions is important for any orthopedic massage practitioner.
Ligaments are supposed to be tight in order to hold our bones together in the proper alignment and limit movements in directions that would hurt us. There should be a little bit of flexibility in these structures, but not much. When ligaments are abnormally loose, we lose the integrity of our joints. The bones they hold together rock around and make us unstable, making us more vulnerable to injuries. Ligaments may be lax due to hereditary factors; they may become lax suddenly as the result of an accident; or they may distend slowly over time through poor posture and the stretching of old adhesive scar tissue from previous injuries.
When ligament laxity is due to hereditary factors, a skilled practitioner will advise the client to avoid hyperextending their joints, to work on developing and maintaining good skeletal alignment and posture, and to keep their body physically strong. When the laxity is due to adhesive scar tissue resulting from an accident or injury, the therapist will work to locate this tissue and suggest treatment to eliminate or diminish it so that further injury can be avoided. Such treatment might include friction therapy, myofascial work, stretching, fitness training, massage, injection therapy and so forth.
Direct vs. Indirect Causes of Pain
A comprehensive plan of treatment must address not only the direct cause of a client's pain, but also any indirect causes. Direct causes of pain are physical injuries, such as strained fibers of a tendon, an inflammation of the bursa, a disc compressing a nerve and so on. When you relieve that problem, the pain disappears. Indirect causes of pain are the contributing factors that predisposed the person to become injured. For example, an exaggerated kyphosis in the thoracic spine makes it difficult to raise the arm overhead without some strain; the last 15 degrees of this movement occurs in the thorax. In a person with a thoracic kyphosis, this condition might be an indirect cause of a shoulder tendon strain. Similarly, poor knee and foot alignment in a young athlete might be the indirect cause of a sprained ankle. Simply improving the person's alignment would not make the injury go away; however, following successful treatment of the ankle, it would help prevent future injuries from occurring.
Referred pain is pain felt at a distance from the source — for instance, pain from a neck injury that is felt in the shoulder or all the way from the shoulder to the hand, or pain from a low back injury that is experienced only in the thigh or low leg. We learn from orthopedic medicine that no matter where referred pain originates, it follows four basic guidelines:
Referred pain creates confusion for many healthcare practitioners. However, once you learn about the specific patterns in which particular injuries refer pain, the confusion quickly diminishes. For example, the sacrotuberous ligament in the pelvis refers pain down the back of the thigh and calf and into the heel, the gluteus medius muscle refers pain to the lateral calf, and the TP7 ligament (intertransverse ligament at C7) refers pain down one side of the lower neck to the medial border of the scapula.
Together, these five core principles guide both assessment and treatment in an orthopedic massage practice. Stay tuned for my next article, when I'll discuss these topics in detail.
Click here for more information about Ben Benjamin, PhD.
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