stiff hips and low-back pain: addressing femoroacetabular extension restrictions

From last edition (just got my new one!) of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork, by Erik Dalton, PhD, this was a good, timely one! Several studies have found a strong correlation between fixated hips and lumbar spine pathology. When addressing hip mobility issues, we therapists should consider these 3 things: 1. Are bones moving properly within the joint space? Is there an osteoarthritic bone-on-bone end-feel at end ROM? 2. Are musculofascial tissues flexible enough to allow the rectus femoris and iliopsoas to stretch the necessary length for full hip extension? 3. Does the end-feel of the stretch indicate a fibrotic hip capsule? Trick movements (the brain’s way around blocks/obstructions by muscle imbalances or pain) caused by inadequate hip extension often lead to strain and pain that manifest in the lumbar spine, the SI joints, or both!. How to determine a hip-extension restriction: half-kneel with right knee on ground and left leg in front so there’s a 90-degree angle at hip and knee. Place a bar along spine, which should touch between shoulder blades at top of gluteals. Then, push pelvis forward so low back flattens (allowing it to come in contact with stick). If you feel a stretch in front of right hip, there’s a flexibility or mobility issue in or around that hip; of course, switch sides to determine the same of the left hip. To assess left anterior hip capsule: from prone, flex left knee to 90 degrees and grasp left leg. Place left palm just below ischial tuberosity on proximal femur. Bring hip into extension while left palm resists. Stop if bone-on-bone feel or pain; the extension achieved should be between 10 and 15 degrees. This assesses and also stretches the rectus femoris. We must always consider whether joint stretching is an appropriate strategy for a restricted hip; if the individual has bony morphologic changes, mobilizations may be inappropriate, so, if in doubt, refer out. Thank you, as always, for reading!

kinematic chain of elements: scapulohumeral rhythm

This article, by Dr. Joe Muscolino, in the latest edition of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork, reiterated that movement patterns involved with movement of the shoulder extend well beyond the glenohumeral joint to involve the entire shoulder girdle (all prominences, etc.), along with its connection to the trunk (this is again, very timely for me!). Specifically, when your scapula moves, your humerus AND clavicle, as well as their articulations with the rib cage and sternum, move too! Thank you again for reading!

putting the squeeze on compartment syndrome

In ABMP’s latest edition of Massage and Bodywork, Whitney Lowe wrote some very prudent details for us therapists to look for. CS can manifest as anterior leg pain. It has 2 forms: acute, which is a medical emergency, and chronic. The 4 compartments (anterior, lateral, superficial posterior, and deep posterior) in the lower leg are most susceptible to CS. A compartment syndrome happens when muscles within a compartment swell as a result of exercise or inflammation from trauma. Mr. Lowe just emphasized to us therapists that the acute stage of CS (of course, presented usually as pain, swelling, etc.) is contraindicated and, naturally, need medical attention. Thank you for reading!

The Carpal tunnel

This article, by Christy Cael and in ABMP’s latest edition of Massage and Bodywork, was timely for me and yet another reminder for us therapists! A lot of structures, specifically the median nerve and plenty of muscles and tendons, make up the carpal tunnel. Ms. Cael wondered, and then reinforced, that soft-tissue manipulation of the flexor retinaculum is a valuable part of treatment and prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Review shows effectiveness of massage for anxiety and depression in patients with cancer

In this article in my latest edition of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork, the writer told of a study done by researchers because said researchers knew “that massage therapy is useful in relieving anxiety and depression of cancer survivors. However, the mechanism is still unclear, and no systematic review has provided sufficient evidence for the treatment.” The study revealed no clinical mechanism of action, but “massage therapy can be effective in easing mood and reducing cancer-related symptoms, including depression, anxiety pain, fatigue, and so on.”. Thank you for reading!

Massage for anxiety and cancer

In the latest edition of National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (08/2020) newsletter, editors relay that some studies have shown that massage therapy helped to decrease anxiety for people with cancer or other comorbid medical conditions. Little research, they say, has been done on massage for anxiety disorders. A 2013 randomized controlled trial of 60 cancer patients examined massage therapy for perioperative pain and anxiety in placement of vascular access devices and found that both massage therapy and structured attention proved beneficial for alleviating preoperative anxiety in these patients! Massage therapy appears to have few risks if it is used appropriately and provided by a trained massage professional. Thank you, as always, for reading!

Splenius Servicis

Once again, Christy Cael’s article was a wonderful, timely reminder for me and a lot of other therapists! The muscle is part of the cervical movers and rotators (both helping and major!). She ended by reiterating to us that poor care of this muscle/muscle group can cause postural deviations and chronic pain conditions; this reiteration, I feel, is vital to health!!

The Sacred Sacrum, Part 1: Honoring Its Holistic Significance

Cindy Williams’, from my latest ABMP’s Massage & Bodywork, article was another timely and oh-so-important reminder, but it also had some wonderful new information, too! Randolph Stone, DO, founder of polarity therapy, called the sacrum the “mysterious sacrum” because of its structural variations and all the  physiological results and its energetic patterns. Cindy Williams talked of the energetic and structural significances of the human body’s sacrum and the imbalances that, as it holds nervous system parts, happen!

Rectus Femoris

Still from my last edition of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork, Christy Cael’s article was a great reinforcer! She reminded us therapists that the rectus femoris is one of the quadriceps muscles; this muscle’s configuration reminds all of us bodyworkers of the phrase, “form fits function”. It also has quite a few secondary actions, which means that it exemplifies that phrase and is, naturally, weaker in some actions than its main action!

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