resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07
Following the Body's Clues
How 29 minutes of massage therapy changed a life.
By Debbie Roberts, LMT
There was a higher power at work when I helped Marianne. You know as a therapist when you jump right in and try to help someone and all your efforts work, but you are not entirely sure why.Then your mind is reeling in the possibilities of what just happened, followed by you can't wait to get your nose into a text book to further investigate how exactly you made those dramatic changes. A twenty-nine minute demonstration at a massage therapy conference using a gross cervical movement screen, a piece of equipment that allows firm pressure and my hands led the way to an incredible, life changing event for my volunteer, Marianne.
On January 5, 2012, Marianne and five of her children were in their minivan stopped about 10 cars away from a red light. She was one and a half car lengths away from the car in front of her. Her two-year-old had just woken up and they all had turned around to give the child attention, when they were hit from behind and then shoved forward to hit the car in front of them. The driver was texting while driving and the approximate speed was 55 miles per hour on impact. She was knocked unconscious from the whiplash as her head did not hit anything during the accident. She became conscious as they were prying her foot from underneath the gas pedal. She was taken to the emergency room and a CT scan of the neck was performed. She was told nothing was broken, given a muscle relaxer, pain medication and then sent home. The total ER visit was only about four hours. She woke up the next morning with varied symptoms. When she followed up the next day with the doctor, he referred her to a neurologist because he felt she had a severe concussion and a possible stroke because she had lost function in the right side of her face and neck.
In the two and half years of seeing the neurologist, he had prescribed every kind of medicine for migraines which never worked. She felt she wasn't being heard, that the headaches were not vascular headaches. He prescribed narcotics, muscle relaxers, ultra sound, tens machine and physical therapy. He also prescribed Botox for the migraines.
She started seeing a chiropractor who performed adjustments, Dural unwinding, myofascial release and cranio-sacral therapy. The treatments never seemed to last. "I got more relief in the 30 minute demonstration than in the 29 months of medical care, physical therapy, chiropractic care and not to mention the $100,000 I have spent elsewhere," said Marianne.
By now I am sure you are wondering what on earth did I do so different than the other well intentioned skilled therapist and doctors? How did I know I had helped her? As a group, we looked at her range of motion of flexion, extension, side bending and rotation. Well, she had none. Yep, you heard me none. In order to drive, she turned her whole body. After two years, she literally had no motion to her cervical spine to look in any direction and she was forced to move through her thoracic spine. I was very nervous to work on her after she revealed her history and by observation her neck appeared to have permanent damage. The other thing that was odd, nothing showed up on the MRI to indicate such severe damage that would be contributing to this kind of loss of motion.
Addressing the group, I talked about changing muscle inhibition left over from an accident and how to approach the injury using isometrics for neuromuscular re-education of the mechano-receptors. The importance and value of taking the movement screen, also that I didn't have any preconceived notion that in 30 minutes what changes I could make. In other words, I was willing to fail.
I began doing the demonstration placing the cranial device under her T-spine, doing soft tissue work to the scalene muscles and trapezius. I then tried some very light isometrics with no post-isometric stretch to see if I could help re-set the mechano-receptors and encourage length to the scalene, SCM and trapezius muscle. I didn't stretch the neck because she grimaced every time I moved her neck in the slightest. The direction of lateral flexion with the isometric set off her pain pattern over the right eye. Since this elicited the pain pattern of the stroke, I didn't do any further cervical isometrics.
I continued the demonstration and used the cranial device to support the neck and let her doing some gentle rocking to her tolerance. The place I always go looking when someone has severe headaches is the first rib. Hers was very prominent and had no motion on springing. Leaving the cranial device at approximately T2-3, I explained that first rib dysfunction can give a lot of headaches and hers felt really elevated and fixed. I used the technique of positional release which uses the elbow and forearm to guide the humerus lateral to medial towards the spine to influence the first rib, asking the typical question of any pain or discomfort, and there was none. I then asked her to put her head in a slight rotation to the side of dysfunction and placed my left thumb over the rib head and asked her to make an isometric contraction of the forearm adducting to her side. I pulled the scapula out further with her head in the same position and asked her to contract again. I repeated the above about four to five times. I also rolled her onto her side just far enough to place the cranial device at the level of T3-4 along the rhomboids and middle trapezius using my fingers began a posterior to anterior push. I repeated the lateral to medial positional release into the spine and finished again with her on her back the cradle resting under her neck this time and repeated the downward adduction of the humerus into her side.
By now, they were flashing the lights at us to end the demonstration. She sat up carefully and I stopped the crowd that was trying to leave and said, wait we need to see what it is we accomplished. You assess in the beginning and at the end of every session don't you? I don't know who you could have picked up off the floor first, her or me. She flung her head back into extension; easily tossed her chin to chest into flexion without difficulty looked over her shoulder, and with some reservation accomplished about 20 degrees of side bending. She continued to take her head from flexion to extension because it was so exciting. It happened so fast, I grabbed her and said don't do that. I was so taken back by the amount of motion I was afraid she would hurt herself somehow or undo what I had done.
What had I done? I went to one of my resource reference books, An Osteopathic Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment, third edition. There, in chapter 78 Practical Applications and Case Histories of the Thoracic Cage, I found just what I was looking for. An explanation and a case history of something very similar to what I had experienced. I also called one of the author's to get her input into the somatic dysfunction of the first rib.
She explained that the first rib is probably the rib most commonly involved in somatic dysfunction of all the ribs. It is affected by trauma, stress and posture, as well as by the dysfunction of the C7-T1 complex. The patient may complain of "shoulder" pain, stiff neck, upper back or neck pain, and here it is an inability to turn the head while driving. The first rib can impinge the neurovascular bundle as it passes between it and the clavicle through the costoclavicular space. Since the anterior and middle scalene muscles assist in raising the first rib, they can also compress the brachial plexus when they are in spasm and result in thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms.
What I had accomplished was helping a first rib dysfunction that was hung up on the C7-T1 vertebra. The whiplash injury with the head turned to look in the back seat created an eccentric load to the scalene and trapezius. The force was so great that it displaced the first rib. I used the cranial tool at approximately the C7-T1 vertebra in a posterior to anterior position and I was able to use isometrics and positional release lateral to medial resulting in a release of the first rib.
I encouraged Marianne to continue to get body work done to the scalene's, trapezius, rhomboids and SCM to decrease the hyper tonicity. This will help to encourage the first rib to have better motion. Massage therapy is not an exact science that is why we have so many modalities to choose from. I wasn't sure I would be able to help, but I was willing to be vulnerable and fail. Marianne is eternally grateful I tried.
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.