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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
January, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 01
Head and Shoulder Pain from the Splenius Cervicis
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
When clients report symptoms of pain in the head or eye, it is always of serious concern and they should seek medical care to determine the cause(s) and treatment options. Physicians and other healthcare providers are excellent referral sources to your practice, since a percentage of their patients are suffering with many issues that may include myofascial pain.Let's examine the splenius cervicis muscle, its anatomy, the location of myofascial trigger Points (TrPs), the associated pain referral patterns of each TrP, some treatment and self-care tips.
The splenius cervicis along with the splenius capitis muscle are the most superficial of all the extensors in the cervical region. The deepest of the extensor muscles are very short in length and attach to the next vertebra. In contrast, the splenius cervicis is long and crosses many vertebrae. Below the splenius cervicis attaches to the spinous process of the third through sixth thoracic vertebrae and the fascia over them. Above it attaches to the posterior tubercle of the transverse process of the upper two to four vertebrae. (See photo 1A)
Unilateral contraction of the splenius cervicis muscle produces extension, lateral flexion and rotation of the neck, turning the face toward the same side. Bilateral contraction produces extension of the neck.
Clients typically report a "stiff neck," limited cervical range of motion and/or pain in the shoulder, neck, head and or eye. Drs. Simons and Travell et, al, identified two (upper and lower) myofascial trigger points in the splenius cervicis muscle. In photo 1, "X" indicates the common location of trigger points. Solid red areas identify essential pain zones, the regions of referred pain that is present in nearly every person with active trigger points. The dotted red regions indicate spillover pain zones or the regions of referred pain on some, but not all, patients with active trigger points.
The splenius cervicis Upper TrP is located, as the name implies, in the superior portion of the muscle in the musculotendinous junctions. It can "refer a diffuse pain through the inside of the head that focuses strongly behind the eye on the same side, and sometimes refers into the ipsilateral occiput."1 (See photo 1A, B) The splenius cervicis Lower TrP is classified as a central TrP and located in middle of the muscle belly. It "refers pain upward and to the base of the neck."1 (See photo 1A, C)
During this technique, many posterior neck muscles are treated. Palpation of boney landmarks will help you determine your location. A combination of subjective complaints, objective findings, precise palpation and knowledge of TrP pain patterns will help you determine if the splenius cervicis muscle is involved. A few other muscles in the region that should also be assessed include: trapezius, levator scapulae, sub occipitals and scalenes.
The client is supine on a table. The therapist is seated at the end of table with the shoulder of the treating hand aligned with client's head, neck and body. The thumb of the treating hand is positioned at the base of the occiput, with the pad of the thumb palpating the posterior aspect of the transverse process. Avoid intruding on the nerve root by never treating the lateral aspect of the transverse processes. The therapist's non-treating hand will support the client's head while creating extension of the cervical spine. (See photo 2A)
While lowering the head toward the table, glide the thumb inferiorly, applying pressure anteromedially, to treat the posterior aspect of the transverse process, repeat three or four times. Turn the head 45 degrees away from the treating side and repeat the above step three or four times. Examine the same region using cross fiber movement will help to thoroughly check for TrPs. (See photo 2B)
In photo 3, the non-treating hand continues to support and control movement of the head and neck. The fingers of the treating hand cup the cervical spine as the thumb is positioned anterior to the upper trapezius. The thumb is pointing toward the client's feet with the pad of the thumb facing medially. It is important for the thumb to always remain posterior to the transverse processes to avoid pressing on the brachial nerves. Rotate the client's head toward the treating side with the side of the patient's head now resting on the therapist's forearm. Apply pressure with pad of thumb pointing 45-degrees anteromedially.
When you palpate an active TrP in a client, they recognize the referred phenomena. If the referred pain does not release after applying sustained pressure for a maximum of eight seconds, then release and check the spot later with less pressure.
Keep in mind that trigger points can form for a number of reasons. Examples include direct trauma during a motor vehicle accident, to sustained stress from poor posture, to improper biomechanics, to poor ergonomics at work and throughout the day. Discuss their activities of daily living. Do they drive for hours everyday? If so, the seat, stirring wheel and mirrors likely need to be properly positioned. Do they work on computer all day? If so, does the monitor, keyboard or chair need adjustments? At home, do they rest on the couch with their neck in extreme flexion?
Empower your clients with self-care tips they can utilize between treatments. Show them how to stretch. Give them the locations, times and tips to perform simple stretches throughout their day in the kitchen, bathroom, while walking the dog, at the beginning and end of everyday. They will feel better and appreciate your efforts.
Pain in the head or neck can create a great deal of anxiety for anyone. Sometimes a little therapy and a few lifestyle changes can make all the difference. Clients want to know what caused the pain and if there is anything they can do to prevent it in the future. If you provide effective solutions, people will refer their family, friends and co-workers. While many muscles could be involved, remember the splenius cervicis can cause pain from head to shoulder.
Click here for previous articles by David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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