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Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
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.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
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.
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07
TDR Massage Protocol for Pain Relief
By Linda LePelley, RN, NMT
Tissue Density Restoration (TDR) massage was developed in response to my clinical observations over a number of years that musculoskeletal tissues experiencing pain are associated with an elevation in tissue density (TD) and once the elevated TD is reduced, the pain is alleviated.Wanting to focus on these phenomenons and better understand their nature, I decided to stop doing relaxation massage and limited my practice to clients in pain.
My original focus was directed at determining the components of treatment that are most effective and discarding actions that, at best, do not appear to contribute to improvement or, at worst, are counterproductive. I asked my clients to participate; rather than just laying back and quietly enjoying the massage, they keep me informed about what they are experiencing throughout the treatment. Patterns of duplicable efficacy emerged, resulting in an extremely beneficial protocol.
Once I determined I had a replicable method of alleviating pain by treating the elevated TD, the questions that remained were:
The answers I've found are much like the treatment itself; simplistic, easily dismissed by some because they seem too elemental and easy. However, they are consistently reliable. In my experience of actively looking for elevated TD, I've found it happens to everyone in pain. All musculoskeletal pain can be located and felt (in the tactile sense) by a second person, as palpable areas of indurations at the locus of pain. From the toes to the top of the head, elevated TD can be found at any physical location that hurts. The older a person is, the thicker and more compressed the density can be. I suspect the reason has more to do with a buildup over time, rather than degenerative changes of aging. Rather than deterioration, it seems more accurate to describe it as a disorder of accumulation. (Perhaps previous injuries lay a foundation upon which TD builds? Maybe a residue is deposited during the inflammation process which, if not cleared out through normal circulation, attracts mineral deposits over time.) Through close observation and repetition I've found that the more malleable the affected tissue becomes, the longer the relief will last. People can be fully relieved of chronic pain and that relief retained with maintenance massages.
How it Works
I have ideas of how and why TDR massage works, but they are just that, ideas. I am not a pathologist, biochemist or neurologist, nor do I have the time or inclination to acquire the additional education it would require to be able to investigate the physiology involved in the formation of elevated TD. But I don't need to. I trust what I can see, experience and duplicate. I don't have to fully understand the mechanism of the combustion engine to drive a car, but that doesn't impair or hinder my ability to do so. I can leave scientific research to those who have dedicated their education and interest and are qualified to do such work. I suspect that in much the same way that I am impelled to discover how to affect changes in tissue density, a motivated researcher will investigate that explanation one day. I am a nurse massage therapist – my duty, talent and intention is to provide my clients the best possible pain treatment outcomes.
In order to share the method of TDR massage, I use the term, "Protocols". While I do not anticipate changes to these protocols, I think that it's a mistake to declare rules and dogmatically follow them. Doing so fosters resistance to any future perspective or observation that may suggest they need to be adjusted. It also stifles exploration, hinders growth and suppresses conversation and communication. With that said, I've found that by following these directions, the results are reliable and effective.
TDR Massage Protocol
The massage movements I use are abbreviated Swedish – friction effleurage in small, circular areas; using slight petrissage movements, which helps monitor the boundaries and density of the target area as they change throughout the treatment; and vibration, which can be used as the tissues become malleable and are able to be grasped and gently shaken. The smaller the focus area, the sooner it is likely to be resolved.
You will want to measure and document the state of the target area before providing treatment and then again afterwards, using the Tissue Density Grading Scale (TDGS). (See "The Tissue Density Grading Scale: A Communication Tool," Massage Today, March, 2014.) By doing so, you will have an accurate picture of the condition the tissues were in before treatment and proof of the effectiveness of your treatment afterwards.
First, focus on the location of the pain and target the worst spots first. (As tissues soften and the pain begins to resolve, the target area may shift.) Causing pain promotes the localized excretion of inflammatory chemicals which I suspect may play a part in the development of elevated TD. Regardless, there is no reason to exacerbate an already painful condition. The amount of pressure to use at any time will depend on the clients ability to tolerate it without going over a 3 on the 0/10 pain scale. Using the Walton Pressure Scale along with the TDGS will help you determine treatment progress and provide more precise documentation.
Keep the tissues you are working on moving continually. This will usually require working on areas no larger than the span of your two hands at a time. Doing so not only contributes to tissue heating through friction, but I believe that in addition, the movement combined with appropriate pressure, creates a fatigue state that helps soften TD.
I have found that it takes about 45 minutes of consistent, firm, circular massage to begin to affect change at which time you can feel a smoothing of ridges and softening change in the density of the target area. At this time, the client will also state that it feels better. Continue treatment(s) until the indurations are no longer palpable, and tissues are with a Grade 1 on the TDGS.
If the condition requires more than one treatment to resolve, it is best to schedule following treatments as closely as possible. The tissues seem to remain more malleable for a few days following treatment, thereby not requiring as long to respond and soften.
This protocol applies to pain of any size, at any location. When a new client comes seeking relief, I tell them that if I can feel elevated TD at their pain site, I will be able to help them. As one develops their sensitivity to the palpable varieties of tissue densities and becomes adept at restoring it, they will find themselves able to truthfully state, "I feel your pain," and then relieve it.
Linda LePelley, RN, NMT is a registered nurse and licensed massage therapist with 19 years of clinical massage experience. She developed Tissue Density Restoration (TDR) Massage, an effective treatment for the pain found in hyper-dense tissues. For more information, visit www.MyHealingHands.com.
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