resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
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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