resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
February, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 02
What Does an MRI Tell the Therapist? A Closer Look at Cervical Pain
By Debbie Roberts, LMT
There are more than six million car accidents every year in the United States alone. Worldwide, an estimated 1.2 million people were killed and fifty million injured from a car accident. There is a very big chance you will treat a whiplash injury over the course of your career.It is important not to treat these potentially serious trauma cases blindly. Even if you work in a chiropractic office ask to see their MRI report. The MRI and his prognosis for the case will give you a more precise treatment strategy. This will also help you determine how severe the injury is. You can divide a whiplash prognosis into three categories. Minor whiplash injuries usually resolve within one to two weeks. Moderate whiplash injuries with muscle spasm or ligament strains may take up to four to eight weeks to resolve. Severe whiplash injuries, or those that involve nerve damage or ligament or disc injury to the spine, may result in chronic or permanent disability. These injuries may require more drastic measures to resolve.
How many times has a patient said to you, "I feel like I am crazy?" Massage therapy is sometimes so much more than the physical portion of manual therapy. Massage therapy can be the gap of empathy, education and evaluation between the patient and their physician. Where does the process start? It starts with how well you assess and evaluate the situation. Evaluation takes a level of judgment, necessary to make sense of the clinical findings in order to correlate a relationship between the symptoms and the signs of dysfunction. This kind of thinking takes you away from treating symptom-based massage therapy into cause and affect therapy. Having real tangible evidence helps the therapist decide which techniques are necessary to help the client regain their previous level of health or even a better state of health.
Where is the easiest place to start? Start with the facts and not speculation. If the client has had a MRI, ask them to bring it to their first appointment. If you have never read a MRI report it can look and sound daunting, but it will actually help you make a more sound therapy session. The information this report can lend to you as a therapist is insight into what is really going on with the client. There may be certain range of motion movements you will not want to do with this client knowing their history. Also, now you will have a better idea on what you can expect from your treatment plan.
There are well over 100 types of massage and massage modalities to choose from these days so it is even more important to have a system on which to base the appropriate technique or tool from the tool box. I bring this up to help our community of massage therapists understand that although some techniques such as stretching, elongating fascia and helping with mobilization are good at times, certain directions of movements may not be appropriate after reading the clients MRI report. Holding ourselves accountable for knowing standard orthopedic joint range of motion measurements are critical in making sound stratagem for massage therapy. Just because you learned that a stretch in lateral side bending will lengthen the trapezius muscle, will that technique or modality be appropriate for this cervical patient? And without looking at their MRI report, you are trapped at speculating instead of correlating the facts.
It is not hard to read a MRI report of findings. You simply go to the end of the report and find the word IMPRESSION. This is where the basic conclusion of what the testing results showed. Taking the time to ask for the report and reading the report demonstrates to the patient you have knowledge and understanding as well as empathy. It also demonstrates you really want to know what to do and what not to do during their treatment session. Massage therapists have an opportunity to educate the client by showing charts of the muscles, joints and nerves involved that were indicated in the report. The patient doesn't understand why their muscles are still going into spasms one month, two months, even a year later, but you do. Giving the needed educational and emotional support when someone is in pain can immediately reduce their anxiety which in turn reduces their pain levels and an opportunity for healing can begin. When you take the time yourself to understand what a MRI report is saying, your treatment plan can be much more precise.
Here is the exercise for this article. I am going to give you the subjective information and the results of one of my cervical patients MRI report. Read the report all the way through. Jot down what you understand and then what you don't understand. Google it! Based on the subjective, how would you treat? Now, based on the facts how would you treat? Which technique or modality would you be comfortable using. Is there range of motion movements you would avoid? What muscles would you do manual muscle testing on?
Case Study Subjective
In total tears, over lunch my girlfriend relays she has been in neck and headache pain now for the past six months and can't workout. She had chiropractic care which included adjustments, ultrasound, hot/cold and electric stimulation which offered some relief.
Past Medical History
She had an accident one year prior to this car accident. She fell off of a ladder that tore her ACL, MCL, the medial meniscus and fractured her tibial plateau. She was found on the ground in a pool of blood.
Here is a beginning list of the muscles innervated at the different spinal roots. C5/6 innervate the Deltoid, Teres minor, Biceps, Brachioradialis, Subclavius, C4,5,6 Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus, C6/7 innervate Coracobrachialis, Pronator teres, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris, Triceps, C7 innervate the Latissimus dorsi. Let's look at a few terms that were in the report.
Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal that may occur in any of the regions of the spine. This narrowing causes a restriction to the spinal canal, resulting in a neurological deficit. There can be either sensory or muscular weakness. Cervical spinal stenosis is dangerous because it involves compression of the spinal cord.
A bulging disk extends outside the space it should normally occupy. The bulge typically affects a large portion of the disk, so it may look a little like a hamburger that's too big for its bun. The part of the disk that's bulging is typically the tough outer layer of cartilage. Usually bulging is considered part of the normal aging process of the disk and is common to see on MRIs of people in almost every age group.
A herniated disk, on the other hand, results when a crack in the tough outer layer of cartilage allows some of the softer inner cartilage to protrude out of the disk. The protrusion of inner cartilage in a herniated disk usually happens in one distinct area of the disk and not along a large component of the disk, which is more typical of a bulging disk. Herniated disks are also called ruptured disks or slipped disks. A herniated disc is more likely to cause pain.
Relief In The Findings
Because she didn't understand the report of findings, she was not making the necessary adjustments to her lifestyle to help with relief of long term pain and dysfunction. Her neck seems like a train wreck and is the third type of whiplash discussed previously. We treated her with ice and heat, performed soft tissue work to tolerance. No deep tissue was used. She was treated in supine, prone and side lying. Other treatments included some craniosacral therapy, light traction, and no range of motion movements instead the use of isometrics in all directions and again to tolerance. I managed to take her pain level from a 10 down to a 3 with soft tissue work, home contrast therapy, lying down as often as possible during the day while she was working. Also, she made modifications to her workout routine. The focus was not to let the pain cycle get started.
Understanding the MRI helped her make the necessary lifestyle corrections to allow the chiropractic and massage therapy to be successful. Although both kinds of care lowered her pain levels, it still remained a constant nagging dull ache with limitations to her standard of living. On the advisement of her lawyer she sought care from an orthopedist. The orthopedist recommended a series of facet injections to help break her pain cycle and he felt strongly that it would eliminate her pain. The injections were successful and this allowed her to resume closer to her previous way of living and working out. To make sure she doesn't get into that pain cycle again she presently maintains herself on as needed bases of both massage therapy and Chiropractic care.
Because the disc does not always protrude in the same direction in relation to the nerve root there is no way to know for sure which motions or positions will aggravate a nerve root compression. A safe rule of thumb is that if any motion or position or technique further aggravates the client's symptoms, it should be immediately stopped.
Click here for more information about Debbie Roberts, LMT.
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