resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
December, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 12
Timing is Everything: Shoulder Instability and Labral Tears
By Debbie Roberts, LMT
The greatest thing about being a massage therapist is you never know who you will help next. One minute, you could be holding the hand of a hospice patient and the next, a strained quadriceps muscle of a 6-year-old.I know all of you understand what I am talking about because, in our field, we have such an opportunity to treat a very diverse clientele. I had the opportunity to help a young football player hold onto his dream of being a quarterback, his future college scholarship and the opportunity for scouts to see him throw. My goal is to help you understand the mechanisms of shoulder instability, how to access for instability and possible tears and most importantly, why your understanding of timing can be critical.
The Shoulder Joint
The shoulder joint often has been referred to as a cup hanging on a saucer or a golf ball on a tee. What this describes is how vulnerable the glenohumeral joint is. The glenohumeral joint has the largest range of motion of any joint in the human body. The shoulder ball (humerus) and socket (glenoid) have little inherent stability. The lack of stability results in a GH joint prone to instability and dislocation.
The labrum, which is a fibrocartilage tissue that forms a ring around the glenoid, adds stability to this inherently unstable joint. The labrum is connected to the capsule that links the socket loosely to the ball. The biceps tendon also attaches to the top of the labrum ring. Together with the muscles of the shoulder, the capsule/labrum complex affords stability to the glenohumeral joint. Any injury to the capsule/labrum complex causes a patient to have shoulder pain and instability (dislocation or subluxation). Damage to the labrum and capsule is a common occurrence as a result of an instability event; the damage causes the labrum to detach from the glenoid and predisposes the shoulder to future events of instability and dislocation.
There are many kinds of labral tears, but this discussion will focus on one of the most common types involving throwing athletes called the SLAP tear: "Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior." SLAP tears usually develop over time following repetitive use like in some of our golfing clients. But they can also occur when an athlete suffers direct trauma to the shoulder, just like my young quarterback.
He sustained two different tears as a high school quarterback. The first injury sustained was a small labral tear which the doctor told him he could continue to play with. The second tear wasn't yet discovered until his visit with me. Both happened as he was getting ready to release the ball. He described that his arm was externally rotated and raised to 90+/- degrees of abduction in the loaded position of cocking for a throw. Another player tackled him making contact with the arm which forced the arm backwards and further into external rotation. The blow took the glenohumeral joint beyond its normal joint range of motion. This type of impact causes the humerus to sharply rotate within the glenoid stressing tendon and ligament structures beyond their tensile strength. Tensile strength is the maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before failing or breaking. Tendons have great tensile strength, but are practically inelastic and resistant to stretch. In injuries that involve a severe stretch, the muscle most likely is affected, and sometimes the tendinous attachment to the bone is affected. Tendons can also rupture. An example is when the Achilles tendon ruptures and the Gastrocnemius retracts with the soleus muscles going into spasm and acute pain.
Red Flag On The Play
The first red flag to take notice of is the way the injury happened. Anytime the shoulder is taken beyond its normal range of motion, there is potential for serious musculotendinous junction or ligament damage. I helped this boy's father out with some nagging elbow pain a couple of years ago so when his son was complaining of shoulder pain, he called me. They came into the office and told me he was having pain on certain movements, nagging pain in the back of the shoulder and the chief complaint was instability. He complained he could no longer do a bench press in his workout even when he lowered his weights. (Extra tidbit: A bench press exercise is not a good idea anyway for a valuable throwing shoulder because the bar doesn't allow for the natural rotation of the shoulder joint. The use of free-weights in a dumbbell press accomplishes the same strength goal without the potential risk of damage to the shoulder joint.)
It is always interesting to me the details left out by a client because they don't think it is necessary information to the treatment of massage therapy. He didn't tell me he had a previous tear. It was revealed during the assessments. Based on the red flags the assessments threw up, I asked him if he had ever been diagnosed with a labral issue. He looked at me and said, "yes, last year but the doctor said it was so small I could play. But this feels different and I can't throw as far or as hard (loss of power)."
Second red flag for you to take notice of is that instability is the main complaint and loss of power. This indicates a possible tear of either a muscle or the labrium.
The first assessment I performed was a length test asking him to show me his range of motion in abduction, adduction, flexion, extension, internal rotation and external rotation. I also asked him to stop at any range that caused pain and to point where he felt the pain was coming from. "There isn't any real pain it just feels unstable and aches in the back of my shoulder." I compared his active range of motion with his passive range of motion. On external rotation, he had a clunk and a slippage sensation. This is an orthopedic assessment called the "clunk" test. The third red flag for you to take notice of is a clunk, snap or pop which are signs and symptoms of a possible labral tear.
The second assessment was the use of manual muscle testing examining the strength of the shoulder complex. Manual muscle testing is used to determine the capability of muscles or muscle groups to function in movement and their ability to provide stability and support. I performed manual muscle testing to the shoulder complex of muscles which included supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor/major, anterior deltoid, middle deltoid, posterior deltoid, upper trapezius, middle trapezius, lower trapezius, latissimus dorsi, pec major/minor and serratus.
When you perform manual muscle testing, there should be a definite feeling of a muscle locking into place without quivering. He had a trembling or shuddering feeling against my resistance not a firm locking in of the joint (instability).
The fourth red flag for you to take notice of is that during the manual muscle test, there was not a definite locking in place there was more of a wavering when the muscles were subjected to pressure. This can be an indication of a tear and/or extreme inflammation. For more information on how to perform manual muscle testing, I suggest reading, MUSCLES Testing and Function with Posture and Pain, Fifth Edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, by Florence Peterson Kendall, Elizabeth Kendall McCreary, Patricia Geise Provance, May McIntyre Rodgers, William Anthony Romani.
I explained to his father and to him the objective findings. I also explained that underneath my scope of practice, I am not allowed to diagnose. The reason for the assessment is to make sure they are a candidate for massage therapy and there are no contraindications to treatment. I explained that based on the instability, the poor muscle function test and his past medical history, I would recommend they go back to their orthopedic surgeon. There is always a possibility he might have done further damage since he received another direct blow to the shoulder. I told him, the sooner you get this taken care of, the faster you will be ready to play football next season and not miss out on your senior year of high school.
I received a phone call a week later from his mother thanking me immensely. She explained the new MRI showed an additional labral tear and a partial supraspinatus tear. She told me he was scheduled to have surgery right away so he would have time to rehabilitate and be able to play in his senior year. They were very grateful because they were hoping for a football scholarship to help out with the college tuition.
Without doing an assessment, you are guessing. Timing and rehabilitation are always critical when it comes to sports. Delaying the surgical intervention would have prolonged the client's recovery and return to play. He may have lost his window of opportunity to earn his chances of an athletic scholarship.
All red flags are contraindications for treatment and are indications for a medical referral. He has completed physical therapy. He is seeing me once a week for maintenance and is leading the way with his high school football team. Everything indicates he will get that college scholarship and who knows what is next. The scouts are looking at him!
Click here for more information about Debbie Roberts, LMT.
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