resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
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.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
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.
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.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
August, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 08
How To Effectively Work with Wheelchair-Bound Clients
By Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT
There are more than 1.7 million people in the U.S. who depend on wheelchairs and scooters to get around. Most of these people are currently over the age of 65, which means massaging them requires specific knowledge about how to work with geriatric clients, as well as clients with mobility issues.With the growing number of elderly in our country, as well as veterans of war, practitioners would benefit from learning how to properly work with wheelchair-bound clients.
Injuries to the elbow, wrist and hand are common among wheelchair users, but shoulder injuries are the most prevalent. Torn rotator cuffs and tendinitis are often the causes of shoulder pain. Muscle imbalance caused by overuse can lead to abnormal biomechanics and thus, injury. The most common disparity in strength associated with rotator cuff tear or tendinitis is an imbalance between the internal and the external rotators of the shoulder. Also, the prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome among manual wheelchair users is between 49% and 73%.
Proper positioning in the wheelchair is probably most important for the prevention of repetitive strain for manual wheelchair users. A combination of manual mobility and powered mobility may be a workable compromise for some wheelchair users. Modern manual wheelchairs are easier to transport and easier to carry than powered wheelchairs. However they may not offer the same degree of independence for users with chronic arm or shoulder pain.
Many people who use wheelchairs suffer from foot pain as well. Walking and standing allows people to stretch the achilles tendon that runs up the back of the leg. Constantly sitting can cause the achilles tendon to shorten, placing the foot in a constant state of extension. Many people using wheelchairs develop plantar flexion, a condition in which the achilles tendon shortens as a result of sitting for most of the time. When the foot is being pulled into an extended position by the ever shortening Achilles tendon, it becomes very painful as it progresses. Plantar flexion also makes relearning to walk after a stroke even more difficult because it disrupts the normal heel to toe gait. An extended foot massage can help relieve some of this pain. Passively flexing the foot and stretching the calf muscles can also help with pain management of this condition.
"Massage therapy is seen as a positive method of pain management, but just treating the pain is not an end in itself," said James Laskin, MS, PT, adjunct professor for the division of rehabilitation services at the University of Oklahoma and the Health Services Center of Oklahoma City. He emphasizes the importance of treating the problem, not just the symptom.
Many people who spend their time in a wheelchair will develop pressure sores. These lesions are caused by unrelieved pressure over a period of time sufficient to cause the destruction of soft tissue cells. The pressure between bone and searing surface compresses the soft tissues of the buttocks and forces the blood out of the tissues. The longer one sits without movement to change the pressure areas, the greater the cellular damage. The same process occurs for those of us who can walk when we sit on a hard surface for too long. However, our subconscious nervous system causes us to move periodically, shifting the pressure points and allowing blood to re-enter the compressed tissues. Spinal cord injury causes a loss of the sensation that is vital to this process.
Most paraplegics and quadriplegics have no feeling in their soft tissues. They feel no distress, fail to move periodically and consequently develop pressure sores. Chair-bound individuals are advised by their physicians and therapists to change their position every 10 minutes or so by doing "pressure lifts" or other pressure point changing routines designed to stimulate the flow of blood to soft tissue. This allows the blood to re-nourish the tissues that have been under high pressure. The sad fact is that people forget to move, or may be unable to move themselves. The use of massage therapy on the coccyx, ischium (pelvic bone) and lower back can help prevent pressure sores on wheelchair users.
Even with the best passive cushion technology available, pressure sores are one of the greatest health risks a chair-bound person can have. They can cause a drastic decline in quality of life. Curing a sore may require weeks or months lying face down on the stomach or even skin grafts. Deep sores may very well develop into life-threatening bone infections, and can change a productive, self-sustaining individual into a bed-ridden patient dependent upon others for a long period of time.
Ultimately, the benefits of massage therapy for wheelchair-bound clients include improved range of motion, circulation and alleviated decubitus ulcers. This specific modality is also important for the massage therapists who are led to the rewarding practice of working in nursing homes and with assisted-living residents.
Sharon Puszko is the owner/director/educator for Day-Break Geriatric Massage Institute. She may be contacted at
or through her Web site: www.daybreak-massage.com.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.