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Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
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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