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.
March, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 03
The Tissue Density Grading Scale: A Communication Tool
By Linda LePelley, RN, NMT
Most of my years of clinical work as a nurse massage therapist have been focused on exploring the density of tissues. I've consistently observed that the client's areas of subjective pain are closely associated with an objective increase in tissue density (TD) and, when that elevated TD is reduced or restored, the pain is resolved.Several therapists have contacted me since I began writing about elevated TD, to let me know that they have experienced the same phenomenon, and appreciate that I have introduced and described it. More of the relationship between elevated TD and pain is discussed in "Tissue Density's Relationship to Pain and Dysfunction" (Massage Today, April, 2012).
In the course of treating musculoskeletal pain, a therapist needs to document the care that has been given for the purpose of assessing the efficacy of the treatment provided, and for sharing that information with the client and others, such as the referring physician/therapist; other members of the health care team; or for insurance reimbursement purposes. While it is not definitive, I've developed the Tissue Density Grading Scale to be that practical communication tool. Regardless of the treatment modality utilized, TD grading is a useful way to compare treatments and assess their effectiveness.
Tissue Density Grading Scale
Grade 0 (Yellow) = Tissue is flaccid, hangs from attachments and has little to no resistance to gravity.
Grade 0 (Yellow) – depicts advanced wrinkling; the hanging tissues found on some chins and underarms and the sagging, drooping tissues often noted on persons who have quickly lost a great deal of weight. It is important to note that grade 0 tissues are often found superficially over an area of elevated TD in the 2 to 3 range. It may feel as if the loose tissues have separated from deeper tissues, which in turn are becoming condensed. The deeper tissues are usually tender with moderate palpation, with easily definable borders.
Grade 1 (Green) – TD represents normal, healthy tissue that is pain-free, well hydrated and well perfused. It is easy to palpate, identify and differentiate muscles, bones, ligaments and other connective tissue. Usually warm to the touch with no pitting when palpated.
Grade 2 (Blue) – TD indicates elevated tissue density. Upon palpation you will find the tissues tight, sometimes hardened and resistant to mobilization. They do not relax easily and are reported to be uncomfortable, even painful. Clients often describe Grade TD 2 tissue as being tight, sore, achy, heavy, stiff and/or painful. However, grade 2 TD can be latent, without complaint of pain or dysfunction until activated by injury, use or palpation. The borders of the affected areas are easy to determine.
Grade 3 (Red) – TD can be found in small strands and bands interspersed with other grades of TD, causing much pain and dysfunction, such as that of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendonitis. Larger areas are often found in a wide variety of conditions, such as Restless Leg Syndrome, MS, Parkinson's, and Fibromyalgia. Grade 3 TD feels firm and rubbery, and is resistant to mobilization.
Grade 4 (Brown) – TD is associated with profound dysfunction, for example, curvatures and contractures such as those experienced by persons who are bedridden or extremely sedentary for long periods of time. Painful knots and lumps, and the “bony overgrowth” found in arthritic conditions are composed of grade 4 TD. It is hardened and often believed to be composed of bone.
It is important to note that although an area of tissue may be palpably denser than that of its surroundings, it may not be tender or painful. However, an area or spot that hurts will exhibit elevated TD. By softening hardened tissues and restoring those to a more malleable, mobile, smooth condition, nerves and nerve endings are no longer being painfully trapped and tugged. Normal tissues do not hurt when squeezed or pressed into. When you focus on the clients' directions to pain locations and the firmness of the involved tissues, you can locate, successfully treat and document most musculoskeletal pain complaints.
Along with the graduated number scale to differentiate tissue densities, each level is also color coded to provide for the creation of a more graphic representation, if desired. Because a TD Grade is objective, you (the therapist) should make your own determination of TD. You should have the client direct you to the area that is most uncomfortable or painful, and document their description of the pain quality and level, but grade TD based only on what you actually feel. If you can feel a lump, ridge or textural change, so can anyone else who is looking for it.
Click here for previous articles by Linda LePelley, RN, NMT.
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