resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
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.
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.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
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.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
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.
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07
Following the Body's Clues
How 29 minutes of massage therapy changed a life.
By Debbie Roberts, LMT
There was a higher power at work when I helped Marianne. You know as a therapist when you jump right in and try to help someone and all your efforts work, but you are not entirely sure why.Then your mind is reeling in the possibilities of what just happened, followed by you can't wait to get your nose into a text book to further investigate how exactly you made those dramatic changes. A twenty-nine minute demonstration at a massage therapy conference using a gross cervical movement screen, a piece of equipment that allows firm pressure and my hands led the way to an incredible, life changing event for my volunteer, Marianne.
On January 5, 2012, Marianne and five of her children were in their minivan stopped about 10 cars away from a red light. She was one and a half car lengths away from the car in front of her. Her two-year-old had just woken up and they all had turned around to give the child attention, when they were hit from behind and then shoved forward to hit the car in front of them. The driver was texting while driving and the approximate speed was 55 miles per hour on impact. She was knocked unconscious from the whiplash as her head did not hit anything during the accident. She became conscious as they were prying her foot from underneath the gas pedal. She was taken to the emergency room and a CT scan of the neck was performed. She was told nothing was broken, given a muscle relaxer, pain medication and then sent home. The total ER visit was only about four hours. She woke up the next morning with varied symptoms. When she followed up the next day with the doctor, he referred her to a neurologist because he felt she had a severe concussion and a possible stroke because she had lost function in the right side of her face and neck.
In the two and half years of seeing the neurologist, he had prescribed every kind of medicine for migraines which never worked. She felt she wasn't being heard, that the headaches were not vascular headaches. He prescribed narcotics, muscle relaxers, ultra sound, tens machine and physical therapy. He also prescribed Botox for the migraines.
She started seeing a chiropractor who performed adjustments, Dural unwinding, myofascial release and cranio-sacral therapy. The treatments never seemed to last. "I got more relief in the 30 minute demonstration than in the 29 months of medical care, physical therapy, chiropractic care and not to mention the $100,000 I have spent elsewhere," said Marianne.
By now I am sure you are wondering what on earth did I do so different than the other well intentioned skilled therapist and doctors? How did I know I had helped her? As a group, we looked at her range of motion of flexion, extension, side bending and rotation. Well, she had none. Yep, you heard me none. In order to drive, she turned her whole body. After two years, she literally had no motion to her cervical spine to look in any direction and she was forced to move through her thoracic spine. I was very nervous to work on her after she revealed her history and by observation her neck appeared to have permanent damage. The other thing that was odd, nothing showed up on the MRI to indicate such severe damage that would be contributing to this kind of loss of motion.
Addressing the group, I talked about changing muscle inhibition left over from an accident and how to approach the injury using isometrics for neuromuscular re-education of the mechano-receptors. The importance and value of taking the movement screen, also that I didn't have any preconceived notion that in 30 minutes what changes I could make. In other words, I was willing to fail.
I began doing the demonstration placing the cranial device under her T-spine, doing soft tissue work to the scalene muscles and trapezius. I then tried some very light isometrics with no post-isometric stretch to see if I could help re-set the mechano-receptors and encourage length to the scalene, SCM and trapezius muscle. I didn't stretch the neck because she grimaced every time I moved her neck in the slightest. The direction of lateral flexion with the isometric set off her pain pattern over the right eye. Since this elicited the pain pattern of the stroke, I didn't do any further cervical isometrics.
I continued the demonstration and used the cranial device to support the neck and let her doing some gentle rocking to her tolerance. The place I always go looking when someone has severe headaches is the first rib. Hers was very prominent and had no motion on springing. Leaving the cranial device at approximately T2-3, I explained that first rib dysfunction can give a lot of headaches and hers felt really elevated and fixed. I used the technique of positional release which uses the elbow and forearm to guide the humerus lateral to medial towards the spine to influence the first rib, asking the typical question of any pain or discomfort, and there was none. I then asked her to put her head in a slight rotation to the side of dysfunction and placed my left thumb over the rib head and asked her to make an isometric contraction of the forearm adducting to her side. I pulled the scapula out further with her head in the same position and asked her to contract again. I repeated the above about four to five times. I also rolled her onto her side just far enough to place the cranial device at the level of T3-4 along the rhomboids and middle trapezius using my fingers began a posterior to anterior push. I repeated the lateral to medial positional release into the spine and finished again with her on her back the cradle resting under her neck this time and repeated the downward adduction of the humerus into her side.
By now, they were flashing the lights at us to end the demonstration. She sat up carefully and I stopped the crowd that was trying to leave and said, wait we need to see what it is we accomplished. You assess in the beginning and at the end of every session don't you? I don't know who you could have picked up off the floor first, her or me. She flung her head back into extension; easily tossed her chin to chest into flexion without difficulty looked over her shoulder, and with some reservation accomplished about 20 degrees of side bending. She continued to take her head from flexion to extension because it was so exciting. It happened so fast, I grabbed her and said don't do that. I was so taken back by the amount of motion I was afraid she would hurt herself somehow or undo what I had done.
What had I done? I went to one of my resource reference books, An Osteopathic Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment, third edition. There, in chapter 78 Practical Applications and Case Histories of the Thoracic Cage, I found just what I was looking for. An explanation and a case history of something very similar to what I had experienced. I also called one of the author's to get her input into the somatic dysfunction of the first rib.
She explained that the first rib is probably the rib most commonly involved in somatic dysfunction of all the ribs. It is affected by trauma, stress and posture, as well as by the dysfunction of the C7-T1 complex. The patient may complain of "shoulder" pain, stiff neck, upper back or neck pain, and here it is an inability to turn the head while driving. The first rib can impinge the neurovascular bundle as it passes between it and the clavicle through the costoclavicular space. Since the anterior and middle scalene muscles assist in raising the first rib, they can also compress the brachial plexus when they are in spasm and result in thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms.
What I had accomplished was helping a first rib dysfunction that was hung up on the C7-T1 vertebra. The whiplash injury with the head turned to look in the back seat created an eccentric load to the scalene and trapezius. The force was so great that it displaced the first rib. I used the cranial tool at approximately the C7-T1 vertebra in a posterior to anterior position and I was able to use isometrics and positional release lateral to medial resulting in a release of the first rib.
I encouraged Marianne to continue to get body work done to the scalene's, trapezius, rhomboids and SCM to decrease the hyper tonicity. This will help to encourage the first rib to have better motion. Massage therapy is not an exact science that is why we have so many modalities to choose from. I wasn't sure I would be able to help, but I was willing to be vulnerable and fail. Marianne is eternally grateful I tried.
Click here for more information about Debbie Roberts, LMT.
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