resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
March, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 03
The Tissue Density Grading Scale: A Communication Tool
By Linda LePelley, RN, NMT
Most of my years of clinical work as a nurse massage therapist have been focused on exploring the density of tissues. I've consistently observed that the client's areas of subjective pain are closely associated with an objective increase in tissue density (TD) and, when that elevated TD is reduced or restored, the pain is resolved.Several therapists have contacted me since I began writing about elevated TD, to let me know that they have experienced the same phenomenon, and appreciate that I have introduced and described it. More of the relationship between elevated TD and pain is discussed in "Tissue Density's Relationship to Pain and Dysfunction" (Massage Today, April, 2012).
In the course of treating musculoskeletal pain, a therapist needs to document the care that has been given for the purpose of assessing the efficacy of the treatment provided, and for sharing that information with the client and others, such as the referring physician/therapist; other members of the health care team; or for insurance reimbursement purposes. While it is not definitive, I've developed the Tissue Density Grading Scale to be that practical communication tool. Regardless of the treatment modality utilized, TD grading is a useful way to compare treatments and assess their effectiveness.
Tissue Density Grading Scale
Grade 0 (Yellow) = Tissue is flaccid, hangs from attachments and has little to no resistance to gravity.
Grade 0 (Yellow) – depicts advanced wrinkling; the hanging tissues found on some chins and underarms and the sagging, drooping tissues often noted on persons who have quickly lost a great deal of weight. It is important to note that grade 0 tissues are often found superficially over an area of elevated TD in the 2 to 3 range. It may feel as if the loose tissues have separated from deeper tissues, which in turn are becoming condensed. The deeper tissues are usually tender with moderate palpation, with easily definable borders.
Grade 1 (Green) – TD represents normal, healthy tissue that is pain-free, well hydrated and well perfused. It is easy to palpate, identify and differentiate muscles, bones, ligaments and other connective tissue. Usually warm to the touch with no pitting when palpated.
Grade 2 (Blue) – TD indicates elevated tissue density. Upon palpation you will find the tissues tight, sometimes hardened and resistant to mobilization. They do not relax easily and are reported to be uncomfortable, even painful. Clients often describe Grade TD 2 tissue as being tight, sore, achy, heavy, stiff and/or painful. However, grade 2 TD can be latent, without complaint of pain or dysfunction until activated by injury, use or palpation. The borders of the affected areas are easy to determine.
Grade 3 (Red) – TD can be found in small strands and bands interspersed with other grades of TD, causing much pain and dysfunction, such as that of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendonitis. Larger areas are often found in a wide variety of conditions, such as Restless Leg Syndrome, MS, Parkinson's, and Fibromyalgia. Grade 3 TD feels firm and rubbery, and is resistant to mobilization.
Grade 4 (Brown) – TD is associated with profound dysfunction, for example, curvatures and contractures such as those experienced by persons who are bedridden or extremely sedentary for long periods of time. Painful knots and lumps, and the “bony overgrowth” found in arthritic conditions are composed of grade 4 TD. It is hardened and often believed to be composed of bone.
It is important to note that although an area of tissue may be palpably denser than that of its surroundings, it may not be tender or painful. However, an area or spot that hurts will exhibit elevated TD. By softening hardened tissues and restoring those to a more malleable, mobile, smooth condition, nerves and nerve endings are no longer being painfully trapped and tugged. Normal tissues do not hurt when squeezed or pressed into. When you focus on the clients' directions to pain locations and the firmness of the involved tissues, you can locate, successfully treat and document most musculoskeletal pain complaints.
Along with the graduated number scale to differentiate tissue densities, each level is also color coded to provide for the creation of a more graphic representation, if desired. Because a TD Grade is objective, you (the therapist) should make your own determination of TD. You should have the client direct you to the area that is most uncomfortable or painful, and document their description of the pain quality and level, but grade TD based only on what you actually feel. If you can feel a lump, ridge or textural change, so can anyone else who is looking for it.
Linda LePelley, RN, NMT is a registered nurse and licensed massage therapist with 19 years of clinical massage experience. She developed Tissue Density Restoration (TDR) Massage, an effective treatment for the pain found in hyper-dense tissues. For more information, visit www.MyHealingHands.com.
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