resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
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.