Manipulation of the ankle joint

Manipulation of the Ankle Joint.
 
Now this will be a learning experience for all of us, except for maybe some chiros that follow the research or some professors that teach manipulation. For those of us that aren’t doing manipulations (or grade V mobilizations depending on the state that you live in) on a daily basis, this information is interesting. It will be a learning experience for me to type about it and I may not be able to give a strong background on the information, as I continue to learn about this type of information over time.
 
“Joint mobilization is delivered as a low-velocity sustained or oscillatory force, while joint manipulation is often defined as a hight-velocity thrust.”

 
For the most part this is true. Joint mobilizations are graded from I-V (Roman numerals like in Star Wars seems to provide more credibility than simply writing 1-5). Grade five is defined as the rapid thrust that is described in the manipulation aspect.
 
RANT: The APTA, in its white paper on mobilizations and manipulations, prefers that only PT’s perform these movements because students will become proficient in these movements through schooling. I call BS! I have only met one student in 8 years as a clinical instructor that could walk into the clinic and perform all of the manipulations without error. Most students have difficulty performing basic mobilizations. That’s okay, I am not judging the students (well really I am, as the CI, but I won’t knock the grade because they can’t perform the manipulations). The point is…most PT’s become proficient at the manual aspect of the profession outside of schooling. With all of that said, I don’t agree that PTA’s can’t perform mobilizations as a treatment, assuming the PT is there to assess prior and post manipulation. It is really arguing semantics, as it is not applicable in most situations.
 
“A number of researchers have demonstrated changes in the excitability of motor pathways following manipulation of the spine”.

 
When the article speaks of manipulations, the authors are describing the high velocity thrust technique. Performing these techniques causes changes in pain pressure threshold in some patients (think that you could tolerate more pain following the manipulation). In real world sense, it would theoretically require a greater stimulus to create the same pain that you felt prior to the manipulation. There is good work by Stephen (sp) George out of Florida regarding this concept.
 
“Existing research utilizing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has also indicated an increase in corticospinal motor excitability following manipulation to spinal joints, but not following low-velocity end-range positioning.”

 
I’ll be honest, I had to go look this one up. Neuro is not my strong point. I know that we have a brain…the end. Okay…I know a little bit more than that, but not much. I tended to fall asleep during the neuro portion of PT school and would dream about orthopedics. Oh well. Live and learn, it’s actually important.
 
http://bmcneurosci.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2202-9-51
 
The basic of the article is that the brain dictates the muscle action. There’s that old saying that “if you see it, then you can be it”. It’s something like that. The brain can increase electrical input to a separate muscle group and the brain can shut down the impulse to muscle groups through imagery, but it can also happen through manipulations, as seen in the article that I am quoting.
 
“Measuring modulation of corticospinal excitability with active contraction is important, because such changes would suggest an alteration in voluntary recruitment”

 
This is big for me, as a meathead, because if I can get my brain to send out more electrical impulses, then I, as a meathead can theoretically lift more weight. That’s all that really matters. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of research on this in the PT world, so more to come later when our profession starts to look into athletic performance.
 
“Individuals in the control group received the hand placement used for a caudal talocrural thrust manipulation only…Individuals in the intervention groups received a caudal talocrural mobilization or thrust manipulation.”

 
I won’t describe the technique because… “Kids, don’t try this at home”. Just know that it is fairly easy to perform for someone with experience performing manipulations. The manipulation is performed at the foot/ankle complex.
 
“Our findings indicate that thrust manipulation increased corticospinal motor excitability of the tibialis anterior approximately 30 minutes following thrust manipulation directed at the talocrural joints…there was no significant change in ankle dorsiflexion or dynamic balance following either of the interventions”

 
Big picture…a manipulation may make you stronger at contracting a muscle, but there doesn’t appear to be functional carryover in this report. It is still big news because there may be other manipulations that not only make your stronger, but also has functional carryover. This will be the fountain of youth once found. A stronger person is a more functional person, assuming that the person has adequate ability to move.
 
Quotes from:
 
Fisher BE, Piraino A, Lee Y, et al. The Effect of Velocity of Joint Mobilization on Corticospinal Excitability in Individuals with a History of Ankle Sprain. JOSPT 2016;46(7):562-570.

Lateral shift deformity

Crooked patients 

1. “A lumbar lateral shift (LLS) is defines as a lateral displacement of the trunk in relation to the pelvis…repeatedly associated with discogenic pathology…McKenzie reported that 90% respond rapidly to manual correction.”

 

In school we learn the theoretical aspect of the shift, but when you see your first patient that is shifted the though process immediately goes to a mixture of “oh shit and piss on yourself excitement”. The shift can be extremely painful and students, if not treating this in a clinical, may not be prepared for a patient in a true 10/10 pain status. After so many years in practice, it is just another puzzle to solve now. The excitement has gone away and lucky for the patients, so has the “oh shit” response.  

 

Patients come into the clinic “crooked”. Scott Herbowy once said it is like looking around the corner to see if the dog is hiding.  

 

2. “…prevalence of LLS is difficult to establish, but estimates range from 5.6 to 80% of patient with low back pain (LBP).

 

This statistic is so far away from informative, that it shows that it is present in any where from 5-80 out of 100 patients with back pain. I don’t see it in 80% of the patients, but 5% may be more applicable to my population in the clinic.

 

3. “Lumbar spinal fusion, perhaps the most invasive of these (surgical) procedures, is increasingly common in the United States. However, its effectiveness is questionable…”

 

If you are going to have a fusion, go so someone that is either certified or diplomaed in MDT first. Some things can’t be undone, and this is one of those things. Make sure that there are no other options of getting relief prior to undergoing something that may not be effective and can not be undone.

 

4. This article is a case study of a patient that has a lateral shift deformity in the presence of an “X-stop” device, which is typically used to prevent lumbar extension in the case of spinal stenosis. The patient centralized with side gliding mobilizations and was issued side gliding against the wall in order to close the affected side. The patient responded well to this motion within the initial 4 visits and the final 4 visits were used to improve functional performance without the return of the lateral shift. The X-stop makes this case interesting because typically patients that are post-surgical are excluded from most research.  

 

5. “The rapid centralization of symptoms observed in this patient is similar to that reported in previous case reports describing a lateral shift correction. Centralization or peripheralization during repeated movement testing has been positively correlated with pain provocation during lumbar discography.

 

Centralization phenomenon is something that trained clinicians are looking for during examination of the spine. When noted, the results are typically great, but if the peripheralizes (opposite of centralization), then the patient’s results are typically poor, at least if it happens with all movements tested.  

 

First point to make from this is that if you have back pain, seek out a trained therapist in order to address your symptoms. Always start conservative before going invasive for pain based symptoms. If you have progressive weakness or have a loss of bowel and/or bladder function go the doctor immediately, but aside from this stay conservative first.  

 

Second, people get crooked. If the crooked is not associated with pain, it may be that the person has always been crooked. Not all crooked people need therapy.  

 

Excerpts taken from:

 

Peterson S, Hodges C. Lumbar lateral shift in a patient with interspinous device implantation: a case report. JMMT. 2016;24(4):215-222.

Keeping the customer/patient happy

 

“…owners and managers an no longer rely solely on the relationships they have built with referral sources to grow their practices”

 

Look at the drug companies…they know how to peddle their wares. Once it became mainstream to advertise directly to the consumer we have what is now known as the “opioid epidemic”. If we can advertise directly to the consumer, and give the consumer what they want…business will boom. We have to know what the consumer wants first though. Don’t try to sell them what we have, know what they want and then create the product. We know that patient’s primarily want education first. Give them a taste of the education during a seminar and then tell them that they have to schedule an appointment in order to get the rest of the information. It’s funny. I remember working for Bill Curtis at PT and Spine and he would refer to the magic treatment. In that patients are looking for that magic so that way they can take control of their own issues. If one is the owner, we want to give the patient the magic…but not on the first day. If we got paid for outcomes and not for the patient coming to the clinic, there would be more incentive to help fix the patient at the initial visit and not carry it on for the national average of 8-16 visits for the average orthopedic issue.  

 

“Even five years ago physicians largely dictated our referral patterns…hospital-based clinics and physician-owned practices are aggressively attempting to keep their patients “in-house”.  

 

Everyone in business wants money. THEY WANT YOUR MONEY! There is incentive to keep you going to the same company for every service performed. If you need an MRI, X-ray, PT, sports physical, etc it is very convenient if it is all under one roof. Now, who is making the money? I’m going to make it easy. If your mechanic finishes looking at your car and then says that you need $10,000 dollars worth of work, but he can do it all at once, what are you going to say? What if I say that you need $20,000 worth of work? How high do I have to take that number before you realize that it may not be legitimate needs to continue? The doctors/hospitals that own all of the above “services” may be doing the same thing, but you never see the costs because the insurance “covers” the cost.

 

“We are aware that patients can choose to receive therapy wherever they would like…”

 

Are the patients aware of this? If you go to the doctor and get a referral for therapy (it’s like a referral to any other practitioner), but the referral has the name of a specific clinic on it, does the patient realize that they can still go anywhere? IF YOU ARE A PATIENT AND ARE READING THIS…YOU CAN GO TO ANY THERAPIST THAT YOU WANT TO GO TO! Not all PT’s have the same training or even the same specialty. If you don’t see progress with your therapist after 6 visits, and you are given the words “it just takes time”, find a new therapist. Some things do take time, but hear it from 2-3 different therapists before you actually believe it.  

 

“We are not here to ‘fix’ a patient; we are here to partner with them in their rehab”

 

This is huge. I don’t fix you…I help you fix yourself. I play the role of cheerleader, teacher, listener, advisor, but at no point am I the “fixer”. When I see you for 2 hours per week, there are so many hours throughout the week in which you have to help keep yourself fixed by what you learn in the clinic.  

 

I realize that I can come across as negative with regards to the business of healthcare and unfortunately it is more of a realistic view than either pessimistic or optimistic. I have had discussions with those that audit clinics, researched the Department of Justice website for healthcare fraud, shadowed/worked/observed in unethical clinics and have heard patient stories from their times in other clinics. My view is personal, but real. When I say get a second or third opinion, it’s because you may have to go through that many different clinics before you find one that has your intentions at the forefront.  

 

Excerpts taken from: Stamp K. Happy Customers: How to create a positive patient experience. IMPACT. July 2016:31-32.

 

 

HR 101

“We must recognize that each one of our employees comes to us with a unique personality and a backlog of experiences that will influence the way they work.”
My experience at Sam’s Club plays a large role in my choices as a physical therapist. Sam Walton was still alive during my first years working for the company. There were some major rules that we had to follow as employees of Sam’s Club. The first rule is the 10 foot rule. This means that any time that I come within 10 feet of a Sam’s Club member I must make eye contact and acknowledge that person. It seems so simple to just give a hello, but we all know that customer service is lacking in many companies. Customer service is the reason we are doing what we are doing. Without the customer we have no income. In healthcare, we can substitute the word customer with the word patient. Without the patient I have no income. I need to ensure that that patient is well taken care of, and that starts just by acknowledging that the patient is a person. Other things that I learned from Sam’s Club is that hard work is rewarded. I was given many merit raises during my first three years at the store. In 2003 I was the best employee out of the 200 employees. This is not subjective on my part, but I was awarded with the employee of the year award. At that time I knew I had to quit. This is another thing that I learned about myself while working at Sam’s Club. I have a drive to improve and to consistently and constantly get better. Once I have reached the top of a certain position, then it is time for me to try new things and strive to be the best. 
“… More than 30,000 physical therapy jobs that will go unfilled in 2016, it is difficult to understand why a practice owner wouldn’t make the effort to appropriately care for their therapist.”
It is easier to take care of the good people that you have working for you than to find a good person In the sea of applicants to a business.  
“Daniel Pink, In his wonderful book, Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us, point out that people want to believe they are contributing to something meaningful.”
When I worked for Sam’s Club, we had a core group of people that we would go to bat for. We worked hard in order to make up for any shortcomings of the people that were around us. When everybody is pulling in the same direction, great things can be done. I believe that. At the time I worked at Sam’s Club we were doing great things. I currently work with a group of people at small community-based hospital in which we all have our niches. We are all really good at our specific specialties and it is fun to be a part of this team. We don’t have the newest equipment, but we are all share a passion for patient care. It is demonstrated in both our outcomes and our patient satisfaction. We are playing our part in the changes that are occurring in healthcare, which emphasize patient outcomes and improving overall health status.
“Creating strong company values, and a clear mission statement, are necessary to motivate and engage staff. Period. More than 70% of all employees were disengaged at work. Disengaged employees tend to create drama… And subtly communicate their unhappiness to patients.”
This correlates with the old saying idle time will provide for the devils handiwork. If we have something to do and are passionate about doing that activity, we will provide customer service. We have to be engaged more with our patients than with our cell phones or Facebook. 
” Pink suggest that most people are innately motivated by autonomy. Essentially his philosophy is that we should hire good people and let them do their job.”
I love this quote! The problem though is that not all companies hire good people. When you surround yourself with people who are going the extra mile, they push you to go the extra mile. I would much rather play on a team with scrappers, then play on a team with a bunch of superstars. My job is to make my teammate better and their job is to make me better, in the end the patients get better because of the team.
“Too often we repetitively train, and retrain, an employee who is falling short rather than letting them go in order to preserve the overall atmosphere within the clinic. As difficult as it is to terminate an employee, we must put the needs of the whole clinic above the negative behavior of one person.”
This couldn’t be said any more clearer. Politics unfortunately cloud judgment. Legalities cloud judgment. Dave Ramsey has said it many times over if I wouldn’t re-hire that person, then that person should no longer work here.
Excerpts from:

Stamp K. HR 101: The art of managing people. IMPACT. Aug 2016:29-30. 

HR 101

“We must recognize that each one of our employees comes to us with a unique personality and a backlog of experiences that will influence the way they work.”
My experience at Sam’s Club plays a large role in my choices as a physical therapist. Sam Walton was still alive during my first years working for the company. There were some major rules that we had to follow as employees of Sam’s Club. The first rule is the 10 foot rule. This means that any time that I come within 10 feet of a Sam’s Club member I must make eye contact an acknowledge that person. It seems so simple to just give a hello, but we all know that customer service is lacking in many companies. Customer service is the reason we are doing what we are doing. Without the customer we have no income. In healthcare, we can substitute the word customer with the word patient. Without the patient I have no income. I need to ensure that that patient is well taken care of, and that starts just by acknowledging that the patient is a person. Other things that I learned from Sam’s Club is that hard work is rewarded. I was given many merit raises during my first three years at the store. In 2003 I was the best employee out of the 200 employees. This is not subjective on my part, but I was awarded with the employee of the year award. At that time I knew I had to quit. This is another thing that I learned about myself while working at Sam’s Club. I have a drive to improve and to consistently and constantly get better. Once I have reached the top of a certain position, then it is time for me to try new things and strive to be the best. 
“… More than 30,000 physical therapy jobs that will go unfilled in 2016, it is difficult to understand why a practice owner wouldn’t make the effort to appropriately care for their therapist.”
It is easier to take care of the good people that you have working for you than to find a good person In the sea of applicants to a business.  
“Daniel Pink, In his wonderful book, Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us, point out that people want to believe they are contributing to something meaningful.”
When I worked for Sam’s Club, we had a core group of people that we would go to bat for. We worked hard in order to make up for any shortcomings of the people that were around us. When everybody is pulling in the same direction, great things can be done. I believe that. At the time I worked at Sam’s Club we were doing great things. I currently work with a group of people at small community-based hospital in which we all have our niches. We are all really good at our specific specialties and it is fun to be a part of this team. We don’t have the newest equipment, but we are all share a passion for patient care. It is demonstrated in both our outcomes and our patient satisfaction. We are playing our part in the changes that are occurring in healthcare, which emphasize patient outcomes and improving overall health status.
“Creating strong company values, and a clear mission statement, are necessary to motivate and engage staff. Period. More than 70% of all employees were disengaged at work. Disengaged employees tend to create drama… And subtly communicate their unhappiness to patients.”
This correlates with the old saying idle time will provide for the devils handiwork. If we have something to do and are passionate about doing that activity, we will provide customer service. We have to be engaged more with our patients van with our cell phones or Facebook. 
” Pink suggest that most people are innately motivated by autonomy. Essentially his philosophy is that we should hire good people and let them do their job.”
I love this quote! The problem though is that not all companies hire good people. When you surround yourself with people who are going the extra mile, they push you to go the extra mile. I would much rather play on a team with scrappers, then play on a team with a bunch of superstars. My job is to make my teammate better in their job is to make me better, in the end the patients get better because of the team.
“Too often we repetitively train, and retrain, an employee who is falling short rather than letting them go in order to preserve the overall atmosphere within the clinic. As difficult as it is to terminate an employee, we must put the needs of the whole clinic above the negative behavior of one person.”
This couldn’t be said any more clearer. Politics unfortunately cloud judgment. Legalities cloud judgment. Dave Ramsey has said it many times over if I wouldn’t re-hire that person, then that person should no longer work here.
Excerpts from:

Stamp K. HR 101: The art of managing people. IMPACT. Aug 2016:29-30. 

Not all back pain is back pain

“Findings such as disk height loss and disc bulges are common in individuals without low back pain.”
Disc bulges, degenerative joint disease, spinal stenosis, can all be a result of living with gravity. We have gravity acting as a compression force on us almost 16 hours a day. Anytime that there is a problem, we want to blame something or somebody. Low back pain is an enigma at times. We can draw correlations, we can come up with risk factors, we can even tell you how to treat it sometimes, but what we can’t do is tell you is exactly what causes your back pain. 
“Surprisingly, disc protrusions were associated with a lower risk of subsequent back pain. Nerve root contact and central stenosis had the largest hazard ratios on baseline imaging findings, and they were associated with incident back pain in the expected direction but not statistically significant. Self identified depression was the strongest predictor of subsequent back pain, with a greeter hazard ratio than any imaging findings.”
What should be taken from the above statistics is that mental health plays a role in pain. There are a lot of new studies that are associating catastrophizing and external locus of control with increased pain levels. Work by Nadine Foster demonstrates a screen for patients who will have a difficult time improving with therapy alone. New were books, such as the one by Annie O’Connor and Melissa Kolski (two people with whom I’ve studied at our RIC study group), goes into great detail regarding pain science. Big picture, we can not neglect the patient’s emotional well-being when attempting to treat the patient’s physical complaints.
“Our results indicate that depression is a strong predictor of who will subsequently report low back pain than baseline imaging findings.Subjects with self reported depression at baseline were 2.3 times as likely to have back pain compared with those who do not report depression.” 
There is obviously a psychosocial component to low back pain. The question is… Chicken or the egg. Is a person more likely to be depressed because they have back pain that is not improving? Or is that person more likely to have back pain because they are depressed? I don’t think that there are cause and affect articles in the literature at this point, but there is definitely a high correlation between patients who are depressed and patient who continue to report low back pain.
“In our analysis of baseline data, we concluded that central stenosis, nerve root contact, and disc extrusion were the most important imaging findings related to prior low back pain. Our current analysis indicates that central stenosis, disc extrusion, and root contact may also be risk factors for future low back pain.”
In other words, if you have a major deformity you will probably have pain. This doesn’t mean that you will definitely have pain, it just increases your risk of experiencing symptoms.
The moral of the story is that we cannot deny the brain. The brain has the ability to see pain, and some patients are more susceptible to seeing this pain. Don’t get me wrong, a thorough mechanical evaluation should be performed when a patient has pain, but when this patient is not inclined to respond to mechanical therapy, the patient should be referred to someone that can better handle this patient’s pain.Sometimes, that person will be a behavioral therapist, a psychotherapist, or a clinical psychologist. Physical therapists are not always the go to in order to treat a patient’s pain.
Excerpts from:

Jarvik JG, Haegerty PJ, Boyko EJ. Three-Year Incidence of Low Back Pain in an Initially Asymptomatic Cohort. Spine. 2005;30(13):1541-1548.  

Core stabilization compared to McKenzie method treatment

 

  1. “The condition has been identified as the leading contributor to ‘years of life lived with disability’ in the world including the United States.”

 

Big surprise, we are talking about back pain again. I see a majority of my schedule as back pain for the previous 8 years. There is no loss of people with back pain. This is an epidemic. The only reason it is not treated in such high regard has cancer, AIDS, Zika, and others is because it’s not deadly and does not cause major deformities. Because back pain is so common, it’s treated with little urgency such as the common cold.

  1. “In Australia, LBP is estimating to reduce gross domestic product by $3.2 billion annually and is the leading cause of early medical retirement for older working people.”

Think about that! You go to school and you load up on student loan debt. After school you get a job paying much less than you think you’re worth. Then you get sidelined by low back pain and are forced to retire well before you’re ready. It doesn’t have to be this way! Not all low back pain is the same, and when you figure out what type of back pain you have it becomes a lot easier to prevent recurrent issues of back pain.

  1. “Directional preference classification is characterized by a reduction in distal pain and/or observation of the centralization phenomenon with the application of repeated or sustained end-range loading strategies to the spine that remain better after assessment. Centralization is defined as a progressive change in pain from a more distal location to a more proximal location that remains better after applying repeated or sustained end-range movement to the spine… hallmark characteristic of the McKenzie derangement classification.”

There is no doubt that a directional preference correlates with great outcomes. There is no doubt that centralization correlates with great outcomes. The thing that needs to happen is that therapists need to be trained to see these during the initial evaluation. A majority of patients demonstrate a classification utilizing the McKenzie method, based on the research of Stephen May. The derangement classification is the largest classification syndrome based off of Stephen May’s previous research, but there are other syndromes. Typically, it’s the derangement syndrome that the research attempts to study. I see very few articles on the other two syndromes in the mainstream research journals.

  1. “There is some evidence that improvement in size and recruitment of the muscles of the spine, including the transverse abdominis, is associated with improved function in the short-term when patients with low back pain receive motor control exercises compared to general exercise or spinal manipulation. However, increases in transvere abdominis and lumbar multifidus thickness using real time ultrasound have also been observed immediately and one week following spinal manipulation in people with low back pain, suggesting that increases in transverse abdominal recruitment may not be specific to motor control exercises.”

OK, a muscles ability to contract is not dependent on its side. A muscle’s ability to contract is based off of that muscle’s ability to receive the nervous system input from the central nervous system. Should there be something that allows for better neural activity, we expect to see an increase in muscle contraction and possibly an increase in muscle size. This is important because we may not have to train a muscle in the traditional sense in order to making muscle contract better.

  1. “The McKenzie method was prescribed according to the principles described by McKenzie and May… Delivered by two therapists who had obtained the level of credentialed therapist from the McKenzie Institute International… Mechanical therapy, including patient and therapist generated forces utilizing repeated or sustained and range loading strategies in loaded or unloaded postures, according to the patient’s directional preference..that guided by symptom response. The aim was to reduce, centralize, and abolish peripheral symptoms… Once symptoms centralize, any movement loss was then treated with repeated and range movements in the direction of movement loss… Received a copy of treat your own back to supplement treatment and self-management.”

The patients included in the study were all patients of the derangement syndrome. When assessing a patient utilizing the McKenzie method, we are attempting to classify the patient into one of three syndromes. This has a high reliability when performed by therapists that are highly trained. The hallmarks of the derangement syndrome is centralization, this occurs when symptoms move from a segment far away from the spine towards the spine. The symptoms in the furthest position from the spine have to decrease or abolish. This is accompanied by the directional preference. A directional preference is as stated, when we move you in a specific direction…your body prefers that. Your body tells us it prefers that direction by centralizing symptoms, improving range of motion, improve strength, or improving other neurological tests such as reflexes and dural tension testing. One can also have a directional preference in the absence of centralization, as extremities also demonstrate directional preferences.

  1. “Initially, promotion of independent contraction of the deep stabilizing muscles, such as the TrA and multifidus, was facilitated by pelvic floor contraction…Objectively, skill mastery of TrA recruitment was measured by palpation and visual assessment for a reduction of overactivity of the superficial trunk muscles…practice daily…attend the physical therapy clinic twice a week for the first 4 weeks and once per week for the remaining 4 weeks”

This is beat into students during PT school…understanding the impact of performing TrA contractions on low back pain. The problem with this theory is that the research is scant on cause and effect. We know that patients with low back pain have smaller multifidi and TrA muscles, but we can’t say “chicken or the egg” yet. We also can’t say if the back pain caused the smaller muscle or if the muscle was smaller and then it caused back pain. More research needs to take place. The topic of centralization and directional preference was briefly touched upon while I was in PT school and the topic of TrA was hammered into us. Now it appears that centralization and directional preference are being taught more in PT schools based on the students that I get as a clinical instructor.

  1. “Participants allocated to the McKenzie method group attended an average of 5.4 +- 2.5 treatment sessions over an average of 38.6+-18.8 treatment days, while participants in the motor control group attended an average of 6.5+-2.7 treatment sessions over 47.3+-22.7 treatment days”

This doesn’t look like a huge difference, but this indicates that those being treated by a MDT credentialed therapist, one less session was required. Think about this again. Each session is performed at a cost to insurance companies (read Medicare) of about $100. At this point, each patient would save $100 to insurance companies when seen by a credentialed MDT therapist. This, over the long term, has dramatic effects on the total cost of spending in the US.

  1. “…no statistically significant effect for treatment group for muscle thickness…at an 8-week follow-up in a population of people reporting chronic LBP classified with a directional preference. Global perceived improvement was the only secondary outcome that demonstrated a significant between-group difference, which favored the McKenzie method”

Let me say this slowly. Using a directional preference based exercise provides the same result as actually training a specific muscle in terms of muscle size! This is huge! We all are taught that to make a muscle bigger (hypertrophy) requires up to 6 weeks of performing an exercise in order to specifically improve a muscles size. This indicates that a muscle’s size can increase without any direct exercises to improve a muscle’s size.

The final piece of this is that those treated with MDT based principles actually felt better than those receiving motor control exercises (read this as core stabilization).

You walk into any clinic in America (aside from those that are doing MDT) and you will see bridges, bird-dogs, pull your belly into your spine exercises, and of course the traditional hot pack and e-stim. These types of treatments may not be the best. Ask your therapist how your back pain is classified. If they can’t give you a straight, honest, and well reasoned answer…FIND A NEW THERAPIST!

  1. I am bolding this, because it is important to read straight from the article. There will be no explanation needed.

Results from our study suggest that in patients with a directional preference, receiving exercises matched to their directional preference is likely to produce a greater sense of improvement than receiving motor control exercises.”

Excerpts taken from:

Halliday MH, Pappas E, Hancock MJ, et al. A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the McKenzie Method to Motor Control Exercises in People with Chronic Low Back Pain and a Directional Preference. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther.2016;46(7):514-522.