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Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Head and Shoulder Pain from the Splenius Cervicis
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.