resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
December, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 12
Pain Chasers vs. Pain Solvers
By Debbie Roberts, LMT
In 1995, I took a course taught by a physical therapist on post rehabilitation. It was a four-day course on how important a personal trainer could be after the client was finished with physical therapy.It went over the proper and safe exercises for hip replacements, knee replacements, shoulder surgeries, and more. The entire time I was in the class thinking that thank goodness I am both a massage therapist and personal trainer. The other thing going through my mind was I have to find a way to bridge the gap between massage therapy and exercise.
Functional movement at that time was not being taught in massage school. There was and still is a great need to incorporate the understanding of how the human body moves. It was and still is my goal to elevate the field of massage therapy beyond the Swedish massage taught in schools. I had applied to the state of Florida to teach massage therapist exercise and at the time was turned down. Exercise was not under the scope of our practice, but understanding movement was. So it was born, the course and thought process to teach the world of massage therapists Functional Integrated Massage and Movement Therapy. But this concept is far from new. In 1940, Dr. Ida Rolf developed her system of Structural Integration. Her approach was using manual therapy and sensorimotor education to improve human biomechanical functioning as a whole rather than to treat particular symptoms. The important thing is not to chase the symptoms or the pain, always go after the cause.
Are you a pain chaser? In order to truly know you have to ask yourself a few honest questions. How well do I know how to evaluate a set of symptoms? Am I always looking for new evaluation tools? Am I willing to admit I don't know and seek out education to help me excel in this topic? In this article we are going to apply the concept of Functional Integrated Massage and Movement Therapy to a very stubborn case of Posterior Tibial Tendon dysfunction (PPT). I want to help you become an even better therapist by not falling into the trap of chasing the pain. As massage therapists, we are very sympathetic to someone complaining they are in pain. Our antenna go up and we are on high alert that someone needs our help. With the absolute best intensions, we invite them to lie down on our table and we will repair the problem or at least help dull their current pain level. Let's examine together the importance of understanding how valuable evaluation in gravity before the table time is. Looking before treating is critical to obtain the results both you and the client are expecting to achieve. Having a reliable means of evaluation is vital to therapeutic massage.
With her permission, I am going to tell you about Crazy Mary who originally presented with the diagnosis of Posterior Tibialis dysfunction. She is an above avid group exercise leader with an appetite for moving. She is the best in shape 52-year-old I know. Everyone loves her classes and her enthusiasm is infectious. She has suffered with various structural issues throughout her life stemming from a L1 fracture at age 16. I know you know the client that just won't listen until their pain and wallet start to match. They are spending, spending, and spending. While spinning, spinning, spinning in the same cycle. Well that was Mary. However, not everything was her fault. In physical therapy, they focused on band exercises for her Posterior Tibialis Dysfunction, the massage therapist that had treated her focused on her Posterior Tibialis pain, and her chiropractor focused on adjusting her sacrum that never seemed to stabilize. But no one was addressing her functioning as a whole. I convinced her to let me do a full evaluation before lying down on the table and that is where everything began to change. Matthew 7:7 says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you."
Here are the results of my full evaluation:
So what do you think, treat from the top down or the bottom up? Treat the front fascial line or the back facial line? What throws up the red flag for you? The good news in one respect there is no right and there is no wrong way to approach this client as long as all of it gets addressed to eliminate more than the symptoms and return her to a fully functioning human being without pain. The following is how I approached the issue over several visits. As you can see from the evaluation, there were multiple things going on and each with its unique situation and effect on the central nervous system. Your recipe is to develop an effective treatment plan based on your evaluation. So your treatment plan not to chase pain is only as effective as your evaluation.
Function and Treatment
I started at the bottom along the back facial line where the transverse tarsal joint had become very rigid. This joint is composed of the talo-navicular and calcaneal cuboid joint. The transverse tarsal joint relies on normal function of the subtalar joint, in order to move normally. Because the transverse tarsal joint is made of two joints, the transverse tarsal joint can be either loose and floppy (early flatfoot stage) or rigid (late flatfoot and heel rise) at certain points in the walking cycle. As the name suggest, the heel rise phase begins when the heel begins to leave the ground. During this phase, the foot functions as a rigid lever to move the body forward. During this phase of walking, the forces that go through the foot are 2-3x a person's body weight. This is because the foot creates a lever arm (centered on the ankle) which serves to magnify body weight forces. Given these high forces and considering that Mary took much more than the most active person of 10,000 steps per day, it is not surprising that the chronic repetitive stress produced Posterior Tibial tendon dysfunction. I treated each part of the joint separately using isometrics combined with mobilization.
Another contributing factor was Mary loved to use an outdoor elliptical as her mode of transportation, so she was always on the ball of her foot shortening the gastroc-complex and pulling on the calcaneus. The elliptical put her in a forward bent position using her T-12-L1 as a fulcrum point tugging and pulling on the entire back fascial line. This set of problems I treated with client education of how important watching her posture during this activity was and how the body did not load and unload naturally with an elliptical. I suggested limiting the use as a constant mode of transportation.
My overall suggestion to you, the therapist, is to follow the Superficial Back Line in its entirety which I had to do for Mary. The next part that became important to treat was the scar tissue and calcium that had developed around her L1 fracture. This needed to be released to help allow her body to come back into extension and not remain in that C-curve. Treating the QL and releasing the hypertonicity would be part of the solution for her SI joint on the right side to start to close properly. She happily reported that she had been able to taper the amount of chiropractic adjustments.
By releasing the QL's line of pull this allows the hip to come into better joint alignment. The right hip dysfunction and weakness have an opportunity to start to regain strength and communicate with the CNS. By removing the hypertonicity (she was so point tender I had to use a cup) in the gluts her body began to trust the right side again. The foot gets help from hip rotators to pull her out of the pronation during gait thus helping the Posterior Tibialis dysfunction.
The psoas imbalance had to be addressed, a better breathe pattern had to be taught, her overdeveloped quads needed tissue release, finishing this treatment all the way up to her SCM and the cranium. Not every detail of the treatment could be listed here. I suggest looking at the front fascial line.
For an injured muscle to regain strength with ease and balance, the scar tissue needs to become aligned and integrated with the muscle fibers. Even a small muscular injury or in Mary's case a L1 fracture, can lead to developing a chronic pain pattern which persists for months or even years. After 36 years of misalignment, trying to fix just one of the pieces will not work. That would be called chasing the pain. Mary's fascial system and joint centration as a whole needed to be address in all of the planes of motion. Lasting change not temporary change comes with understanding how to perform rehabilitation incorporating the Central Nervous System and the body as a whole. In the words of Ida P. Rolf, "Strength that has effort in it is not what you need; you need the strength that is the result of ease."
Click here for more information about Debbie Roberts, LMT.
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.