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Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
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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