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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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."
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
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.
Challenging the Traditional Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In the light of clinical studies, and research available today, this article will take a close look at common forearm, wrist and hand problems that often seem to be diagnosed and treated incorrectly. This article is based on a true case study of a client from one of my seminars in Boston. This particular client had recently undergone surgery at both his wrist and elbow. Both surgical procedures were attempts to release the pressure on his median nerve, to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately, the actual nerve compression problem was actually in his neck and shoulder before the nerves ever branched off to become the median nerve at the elbow and wrist. Once we treated the tight muscle groups such as his SCMs, anterior and posterior scalenes, and his pectoralis minor, the numbness, tingling and parasthesia that surgery did not correct in his arm and hand went away.
The term multiple crush phenomenon refers to a condition when there is more than one compression on a nerve trunk. Sections of the nerve distal to the first site of compression become nutritionally deficient because of axoplasmic flow blockage. Consequently, these distal areas are more susceptible to irritation from even a minor degree of compression (i.e. becoming the second or third site of the crush).
If you look at a classic postural distortion pattern of someone talking on the phone, it is clear to see that poor work ergonomics can shorten muscle groups in the neck, shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. (Figure 1 ) When muscles like the SCMs, anterior and posterior scalenes, and pectoralis minor shorten, the brachial plexus of nerves get compressed under the clavicle. (Figure 2)
This is often compounded with cervical nerve compression problems. So the nerves are compressed twice already. Then at the elbow, the median nerve runs through the bicipital apeneurosis, and again through the pronator teres. (Figure 3) If there is tension or damage to the bicipital apeneurosis or teres minor, the nerves are now compressed four times before they ever reach the carpal tunnel.
Therefore, when a client complains of clinical symptoms such as parasthesia, numbness, and pins and needle sensations in their hands, the manual therapist should look at all areas of nerve compression between the brain and the fingertips. In my opinion, the assessment should start in neck and shoulder, progress to the elbow, and then end at the wrist. This approach to treatment would address what Dr. Erik Dalton refers to as descending syndromes.
Based on the photo of the woman on the telephone, let's look at a simple road map. This assumes that posturology has addressed a true leg length discrepancy, and myoskeletal alignment techniques have facilitated alignment of the bones in the cervical spine.
Step 1. Release the tight SCMs, and anterior and posterior scalenes.
This should start with myofascial release, followed by treating active and latent muscle belly myofascial trigger points, and stretching those muscles that often pull the first rib up onto the clavicle to compress the brachial plexus of nerves. (Figure 4)
Step 2. Release the pectorals major and minor muscles.
After doing myofascial release to the pectorals major (Figure 5), treat trigger points in the pectorals minor (Figure 6), and stretch the pectoralis major and minor muscles. Make sure to treat a muscle strain in the pectorals minor, if found, and address capsular adhesions of the shoulder if there is a bone on bone like end feel when stretching the pecs.
Step 3. Release the biceps (taking tension of bicipital apeneurosis). (Figure 7) If there is a strain in the bicipital apeneurosis treat that after releasing the biceps muscle belly. The median nerve will be scarred down by scar tissue in the bicipital apeneurosis if that is strained.
Step 4. Release the pronator teres. (Figure 8)
Keep in mind the median nerve passes through this muscle. In people that work on the computer, this is a posturally short muscle that often gets neglected in clients diagnosed with carpal tunnel problems.
Step 5. Release the wrist and hand flexors. (Figure 9) There are nine tendons that pass from these muscles under the flexor retinacculum. Tension in the wrist flexors cause overdevelopment of their tendons, and can compress the median nerve under the tight flexor retinaculum leading to "true" carpal tunnel syndrome.
Step 6. Free up the flexor retinaculum, and release individual tendon adhesions in the carpal tunnel. Active myofascial release is done by having the client spread and extend the fingers to help release the flexor retinaculum and flexor tendons in the tunnel. (Figure 10)
This should be followed with the client stretching those same muscles as part of client self care. Ergonomics of the work station would also be addressed. This article will flow into a series of articles, starting with complicated forearm, wrist and hand conditions, to take a more detailed clinical look at conditions like "true carpal tunnel syndrome" and the significant difference between tendinitis, tendinosis and tenosynovitis conditions. The treatment by the manual therapist cannot get optimal results if we do not understand the different pathologies of these very different basic clinical conditions of the forearm, wrist and hand. Manual therapists will get their best results with complicated clinical conditions when they learn to match the appropriate modality or manual therapy discipline to each specific underlying pathology. Our industry also needs to also take a closer look at things like multiple crush phenomenon to eliminate multiple causes of conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Editor's Note: Art images and case study information were taken from James Waslaski's new book with Pearson Publishing, Clinical Massage Therapy: A Structural Approach to Pain Management.