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.
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.
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