Official NCCAOM Practice Tests
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is excited to announce the launch of the new NCCAOM Exam Preparation Center.
Practice Pearls: There's More to ROM Than Meets the Eye
As part of my neuromusculoskeletal examination, I perform range-of-motion (ROM) evaluations. I can "eyeball" the range and measure, I can use a goniometer and measure, I can use my phone app and measure, or I can use various other instruments to help determine degrees of motion.
State by State: Chiropractic Leads Changes in Health Care
Monumental legislative bills in support of the chiropractic profession were passed recently in Washington, West Virginia and Oregon. Here is a review of this important legislation, state by state...
The Acupuncturist and the Opioid Crisis: Conquering Pain & Addiction in the U.S.
The current opioid epidemic dominates the discussion among national health leaders, recovery advocates and families nationwide. Opioids include heroin as well as prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and others.
TCM Codes for the World
I just received an email concerning the ICD-TM11 codes. The World Health Organization (WHO) will be presenting the new ICD-11 codes to World Health Assembly very soon.
Is Primary Spine Care the Answer for Chiropractic?
Recently, we sat down with Mark Studin, DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP, to discuss the state of chiropractic and why primary spine care may hold the key to chiropractic's future. Read what he had to share in this exclusive interview.
Regenerative Medicine: How to Do It by the Books
The "lay of the land" for regenerative therapies, including but certainly not limited to adult stem-cell treatments, seems to change almost daily.
Prevention: Stop Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
The recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of those nuisance conditions that can play havoc with quality of life, and this particular infection is much more common than most people realize.
Dropping Insurance: 4 Steps
My office manager just got off the phone with the secretary of a long-standing patient. I have treated this woman and 10 members of her family for more than a decade. She has, as have all of my patients, paid my fee at the time of service since I dropped insurance in 1997.
Reducing Allostatic Load & Stress Through Heightened Awareness
Your contemporary mental health and psychotherapy colleagues may often approach the treatment of allostatic load as a mental health condition and use prescription psycho-pharmaceutical medicine to affect general and specific central nervous system (CNS) pathways and brain neuro-chemistry medicine to alleviate the associated symptoms.
NBCE to Reinstitute Computer-Based Exams
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) has announced it will reinstate computer-based testing in January 2019 courtesy of a partnership with testing and assessment solutions provider Prometric.
A Novel Way to Prevent Elderly Falls: Toe Strength
In any given year, nearly 40 percent of senior citizens ages 70 and older will fall at least once. Each fall significantly increases the risk of not only sprains, strains and contusions, but also fractures.
Bastyr University: On the Front Lines of the Pain Epidemic
At University of Washington's Harborview Medical Center, the Seattle region's only Level I Trauma and Burn Center, the demands for in-patient care are dramatically different from a private clinic environment.
It's Time for a Functional Approach to Chronic Illness
It seems one of the more modern buzzwords is chronic, referring to diseases – that is to say, "ongoing and incurable." However, we can take a different perspective and recognize that, although the body may have been traumatized and injured, healing should always be viewed in the realm of possibility.
Spring Allergies & The Spleen: Looking at Pattern Differentiation
As the season of Spring fades away and we shift into the warm summer months, many patients suffer from chronic allergies. This is by far one of the most common issues I see in the clinic as well as often mistreated and misdiagnosed.
Paving the Way to Integrative Health & Wellness
Jared Polis (D-Colorado) and Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) launched the integrative health and wellness (IHW) caucus in October, 2018.
News in Brief
Parker University Launches New Open-Access Research Journal for Chiropractic; Western States, Cleveland-KC Name New Deans of Chiropractic Colleges; Sherman College Goes Tobacco-Free; Life University Wins 11 Awards.
Acupuncture's Standard of Care
Both a concern and critique of acupuncture, frequently espoused by the bio-medical community is, "there is no standard of care in acupuncture." The following is why I believe this statement is disingenuous at best.
Old Trend, New Risks: Heavy Weight Training
With more opportunities to exercise than ever, a greater selection of exercise options, and the subsequent opinions supporting and challenging their merits, it's easy to be confused as to which approach is best.
Better With Chiropractic
While chiropractic care is receiving high levels of exposure these days, most pain patients who consult with a health provider still do so with their primary-care MD. And of course, that means in most cases, they're receiving standard medical care, not chiropractic.
Diagnosing & Treating Aggressive Energy
Recently, there has been an article, and subsequent discussion, about the subject of Aggressive Energy (AKA "AE"), including ways to detect its presence and an alternative method of treating it.
Prompting Memory: How to Stimulate Cognition
Recently I gave a talk titled, The Art of Memoir – Tapping the Past to Sharpen the Present at a senior lunch event in Austin, Texas.
First World Spine Care Graduate: Hildah Molate
Hildah Molate, the first World Spine Care (WSC) scholarship student, graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic earlier this year and is now working at the WSC community spine clinic in Shoshong, Botswana.
New Opportunities for DCs
For decades, the model chiropractic practice has been the single-doctor practice. Recent surveys have found that approximately two-thirds of U.S. doctors of chiropractic still practice this way, with another 20 percent practicing in multiple-chiropractor practices.
Cyber Threat Checklist: Defend Your Business With These 10 Steps
Living in an internet connected society brings many conveniences and benefits. The power of the internet to connect us with customers, store data, and find information has opened the door for many small business owners to grow and flourish.
Chiropractic's Next Frontier: Adjusting the Microbiome
Restoring a healthy microbiome to help treat disease may be the next frontier in chiropractic offices around the country.
Missed Causes of LBP: It's the Syndrome, Not the Subluxation
When I read the chart notes of other chiropractors, I am usually disappointed. They list what vertebrae are fixated or misaligned. They may describe the involved fascia and muscles.
Transforming Exam Delivery
The NBCE Board of Directors has never wavered on its promise to deliver an excellent, on-campus computerized testing experience to students. Likewise, there has never been a compromise to the delivery of fair, valid and legally defensible exams.
Multi-Dimensional Acupuncture: 3D, 4D & 5D
Maggie is an intuitive healer and workshop leader who I met on a recent hike. While we were talking she told me how she had to take it easy because of her knees. She said that her doctor told her that she has the early signs of arthritis.
October, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 10
Thumb Pain and the Brachialis Muscle
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
While I was lecturing at the Florida State Massage Therapy Association convention, some therapists asked about the causes of pain on the dorsal side of the base of the thumb (carpometacarpal joint) and the adjacent web space between the thumb and finger.While there are many reasons for pain in this region, this article will discuss the role of referred pain from trigger points in the brachialis muscle and methods for treating it with massage.
Anatomy: The brachialis muscle lies deep to the biceps brachii muscle. It attaches above the elbow, proximally, on the lower half of the anterior surface of the humerus. Just below the elbow, distally, it attaches on the coronoid process of the ulna. (Photo 1)
Function: The brachialis flexes the elbow and works synergistically with the biceps brachii and the brachioradialis muscles. The antagonist to brachialis is the triceps brachii. The movement created by the contraction of the brachialis muscle is determined by which attachment is fixed and which attachment moves. When the humerus is in a fixed position and the brachialis muscle contracts, such as during a bicep curl, the forearm moves toward the humerus. When the forearm or distal attachment of the brachialis muscle is fixed, such as during a pull-up exercise, the brachialis moves the humerus toward the forearm.
Referred Pain: Trigger points in the distal region of the brachialis produce "referred pain [that] is felt in the base of the thumb at rest and often with the use of the thumb. Diffuse soreness of the thumb is characteristic of its referred tenderness."1 (Photo 1)
Nerve Entrapment: The brachialis muscle can entrap the superficial sensory branch of the radial nerve, which is a cutaneous-monitoring nerve. When entrapment occurs, it can produce dysesthesia on the dorsum of the thumb. Dysesthesia is an impairment that produces sensitivity to touch, tingling and numbness. Additionally, the coracobrachialis muscle can entrap the musculocutaneous nerve that innervates the brachialis.
Perpetuating Factors: Trigger points can form and remain in the brachialis due to elbow flexion movements that overstress the muscle and/or require the muscle to remain in a flexed position for an extended period of time. Some examples include holding a child, lifting heavy tools, carrying groceries or boxes, and playing an instrument such as a violin or guitar. "Related trigger points are frequently found in the brachioradialis, supinator or the adductor pollisis."1
Precautions: Integrate muscle testing to identify each muscle, as well as to avoid treating neurovascular structures located on the medial side of the arm. Be cautious of the brachial artery and the median, musculocutaneous and ulnar nerves. These are positioned, on the medial side of the arm, between the anterior compartment containing the biceps, brachialis and coracobrachialis and the posterior compartment containing the triceps.
Pressure: Check in with the client frequently to determine if treatment pressure is appropriate and look for warning signs of too much pressure, such as muscle tightening, teeth clenching or pulling away. Additionally, if the tenderness in the area of treatment and/or the intensity of the referred pain does not ease up within eight to 12 seconds of holding static pressure on the trigger point, leave the area and return later, using less pressure.
Step 1 - Positioning: Place the client in the supine position with the elbow passively flexed between 30 and 45 degrees and the forearm appropriately supported. Stand at the level of the client's abdomen, facing their head. This position shortens the brachialis and biceps, and will allow you to displace the superficial biceps medially and laterally so the deep brachialis can be thoroughly treated.
Step 2 - Ulna Attachment: The attachment of the brachialis on the coronoid process of the ulna is approximately one inch distal to the crease of the elbow (Photo 1) on the pinkie side of the forearm. To treat this attachment, supinate the client's hand, with the palm facing upward. Apply friction integrating with fiber and then cross-fiber movements on the attachment (Photo 2).
Step 3 - Humeral Attachment (Lateral Side): Apply lubrication to treat the large attachment of the brachialis on the humerus from the lateral and medial side; muscle-test the biceps to determine its location. Treat the lateral aspect by using your non-treating hand to move the biceps medially, while the other hand treats the lateral aspect of brachialis on the humerus. Apply treatment at a 45-degree angle against the humerus while gliding distal to proximal, stopping just above the level of the deltoid tuberosity (Photo 3).
Step 4 - Humeral Attachment (Medial Side): Next, treat the medial attachment on the humerus. Use the non-treating hand to move the biceps laterally, while the other hand treats the medial aspect of brachialis on the humerus. Apply treatment at a 45-degree angle against the humerus while gliding distal to proximal, stopping just above the level of the deltoid tuberosity (Photo 4).
Step 5 - Muscle Belly: Face the pads of your thumbs toward each other with one thumb on the medial side and the other on the lateral side of the brachialis muscle, deep to the biceps, at the level of the elbow. Use your fingers to cup the arm while they make contact with the triceps muscle (Photo 5). Glide distal to proximal.
Clients will typically seek your services when pain begins affecting their activities of daily living. Educate every client on the causes of their muscular pain, treatment options you provide and proactive self-care steps that they can use outside of the treatment room. Advise them that pain is a symptom and that it is important to address the cause. Below are some suggested methods of assessment and client education.
We all know the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words." Postural-analysis photos provide visual documentation of a client's posture, showing which muscles are shortened and which are overlengthened. The better a client understands the relationship of their poor posture, trigger points and pain, the more likely they will be to follow through with a recommended treatment plan. Clients benefit by knowing that one reason trigger points form is due to the stress caused by poor posture.
Trigger-point charts and other types of charts help educate clients about referred pain patterns. Some trigger-point charts show which muscles refer pain to specific regions of the body, like the base of the thumb in this case. This information is also helpful to developing and implementing an effective treatment plan.
Review the advantages of proper ergonomics and instruct your client on the ways they can incorporate ergonomics into daily activities. Teach clients stretching exercises that will help prevent their symptoms from returning.
If you use topical analgesics in your sessions, educate your clients on how to use them to control their discomfort between treatments. Selling topical analgesics will provide you with additional income, as well.
Remember that a client's pain is typically a symptom and its origin is often in an area other than the region of the pain. Your clients appreciate every bit of knowledge you share. Give them the knowledge to make informed decisions about their care.
I wish you the greatest of successes in the treatment room.
Click here for previous articles by David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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