Tag Archives: Matt Callison – Brian Lau

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The Stomach Sinew Channel and Low Back Pain



 We want to discuss the, uh, low back pain and the significance of the stomach channel. So let’s take a look at that first slide. Our discussion, very short discussion about this topic is going to be looking at the stomach sinew channel from above the knee and into the rib cage region and its influence on low back pain.

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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hello everyone. My name is Matt Callison. I’m here with my colleague Brian Lau and everyone. Uh, thank you to the American Acupuncture Council so much for having us. We want to discuss the, uh, low back pain and the significance of the stomach channel. So let’s take a look at that first slide. Our discussion, very short discussion about this topic is going to be looking at the stomach sinew channel from above the knee and into the rib cage region and its influence on low back pain. Um, the techniques that we’re going to be presenting here today is just something that you can routinely check for low back pain patients to see if the stomach Sr channel is a contributing factor to this person that’s coming in with chronic low back pain. It could actually even be acute low back pain to go ahead and check that as well.

So I think we should probably get going. We’ve got plenty of, of information here. Um, the first slide or this next slide that we’re going to be getting into is going to be specifically about the lateral Rapha. Now the lateral Rapha is a very significant tissue along the stomach sinew channel. That can be a contributor to low back pain. Let’s discuss this very strong fascial connection to the lateral Rafat. Um, you can see there on that lower left-hand corner of that. Call-out if you can circle that there for us. Yeah, there we go. It’s a continuation of tissue from the abdominals, the fascia from the abdominals and the thoracolumbar fascia. Uh, for those of you that know about the thoracolumbar fascia, it’s gained a lot of popularity over this last 20 years, significantly over the last decade about its importance functionally, but also in low back pain.

So the thoracolumbar fascia, it has got three layers. You have a posterior layer that covers the erector spinae. Okay. You’ve got a middle layer that’s underneath erector spinae and above the quadratus lumborum and then you have a deep layer that’s between the quadratus lumborum and the LDO. So as each one of these layers connect laterally, it becomes the lateral Rafa, the thoracolumbar fascia specifically between the poster and the middle layers. However, if you also look at cadavers, you’ll see that that poster layer also has some contributions to the lateral Rafa. It’s a communication link. It’s a segway between the abdominal fascia and the thoracolumbar fascia, and it sits right on top of the quadratus lumborum and we can be able to pal that palpate that for Osher point. So, uh, the reason why we’re talking about the latter fr right now, before we go into an overview, just such an important tissue for us to be able to consider and then farther into this presentation and we’ll get into the assessment and the treatment of it. So let’s go into the overview of the stomach channel and Brian, do you want,

Yeah, yeah, sure. So next slide. Yeah, we have, um, just a real quick introduction or re-introduction of the stomach sinew channel, if you haven’t, uh, looked at it recently. Um, the secondary channel that includes the myofascial planes, uh, of the stomach channel, there’s really two main branches. Uh, we have one that travels up the anterior lateral leg and thigh goes around the genitalia and spreads out into the abdomen. Then from there, it travels up the chest neck and face to the lower eyelid. So this is the main channel that you’re seeing in this image and this kind of, um, 3d model image here. Um, you can see primarily that main channel coming up, the midline of the thigh are a little bit, uh, lateral on the thigh. And then up into the abdominal layers up through the chest, up into the neck and up into the face, um, that kind of follows the, the primary channel for the most part.

Uh, the second channel is another branch of this that you don’t really see from this image, but we’ll have plenty of opportunities to see it in the next few slides. Um, this other branch is on the lateral kind of starts from the lateral knee, goes to the region of gallbladder 30. Sometimes it’s in that translations, they might say it and it connects the shower young. That might be another way that it’s worded, but it kind of becomes a little bit more lateral as a sort of a segue between it and the stomach channel from there. It runs to the 12th rib and ends at the spinal column. This is kind of adapted from a Vanguard translation at the link shoe, which is a particular source that I really like. Um, but, uh, all of the sources say relatively about the same thing when you look at translations. So let’s go through each of those branches a little bit more clearly and to the next line.

So if we wanted to start at the distal part, um, from the lower extremities, we can look at the stomach DJing, Jen, how it travels along the anterolateral leg and thigh. I think actually these two branches actually, uh, start in this, uh, leg region below the knee. And you can kind of look on this image for the tibialis. Anterior tibialis. Anterior is just lateral to the tibia. This is where really the primary channel of the stomach, the stomach primary channel runs along this area. Stomach 36 would be noodling directly into the tibialis, anterior and happens to be the motor point, uh, for tibialis anterior. So that’s an actual primary channel point. That’s going right through that region. From there, we could kind of follow that up, uh, lateral to the knee, into the rectus femoris, continuing to follow that stomach primary channel. But if you look at this image, we also have the extensor digitorum, longest muscles.

Um, you know, there’s several slips of those. The two, um, create a poll extension for toes two through five and especially toes two and three are part of the stomach channel. So this in some ways is sort of the beginning of that lateral branch. It’s kind of a, between the stomach primary channel and the gallbladder primary channel. It’s part of the stomach sinew channel. You have those toe two and three slips that kind of drive up toes four and five would be gallbladder send new channel, but we’re on the stomachs in your channel. That’s going to connect into the vastus lateralis and start to become that a secondary sort of a branch that more lateral branch.

All right. So let’s go back to the main branch main branch is going to run up the rectus from Morris. You can see the rectus for Morris, this image that kind of dark line on the thigh is the kind of the fascial separation between rectus Morris and vastus lateralis. So that’s in my opinion where the stomach channel runs, but that rectus for Morris that more medial muscle in that picture is going to be the sort of primary channel branch of the stomach sinew channel that then connects to the a, I S it actually connects to the a S I S or it’s fascia. And then it runs up through the inguinal ligament up the abdominal layers up the chest, et cetera, kind of following the primary channel of the stomach. Um, so in this case, what we want to focus on for today’s lecture is the abdominal fascia in particular, because we’re going to look at how that connects and wraps around to the, um, to the thoracolumbar fascia and the lateral Rafa in the stomach channel. It’s all the fascia that lives in is found on top anterior to the M rectus for Morris. I mean, excuse me to the rectus abdominis. So it’s all the fascial layers that are on top of, or superficial to the rectus abdominis. Um, part of those fascial layers in wrap around the body, following the fascia of the abdominals into the thoracolumbar fascia, into the lateral Rapha, and then connecting all the way to the spine. So next slide.

So the lateral branch on the other hand is going to be a little bit more lateral on the thigh. It’s covering the vastus lateralis, which is a pretty big muscle. That’s the fastest part, I guess, but the vastus lateralis actually covers really a lot of real estate on the lateral thigh, really going into attaching all the way to the back of the femur. Um, so it really covers the territory of both the stomach primary channel to some degree. And the, also the gallbladder, um, primary channel, the iliotibial band would be running down on top of this structure. Um, so it would be a kind of in a pretty big area, but this is the link through that lateral branch. If you follow that fastest ladder up, you can see where it communicates the chair’s fascia. It attaches to the same region as the anterior portion of gluteus medius and minimus, especially minimis. So, uh, just that, that hip joint region, you can see where those two muscles are communicating. Then from there, it’s going to continue into the thoracolumbar fascia meeting with a lateral Rafa about anything you want to add on these are,

Yeah, that tissue with Cal patient is pretty significant when somebody has a posterior tilt or an N tilt of the anonymous bone, versus when it’s a neutral pelvis, you can really tell the difference in palpation of that fibers of the anterior fibers of the minimus and the medias, like I said, with quite a change in inclination with that.

Yep. And it’s an often, we actually had a discussion on our, uh, Facebook group on sports act, a sports, um, acupuncture group. And, um, we were talking about how often this fastest ladder Alice is ropey and rigid and dense. And I think if you palpated the thigh quite a bit, you can probably notice that you do know, you do find a lot of patients that have a ton of tension in this area. Right. So let’s move on to the next slide. All right. So we have a few, uh, three, I think, cadaver images. So just the general warning. Um, this was in the beginning, we have the warning on the bottom of the screen. We’ve already had one small image, but these are a little bit closer, a little bit, um, more obvious they fill up the screen. They’re a more obvious cadaver images. So just be aware of your surroundings, you know, if you’re at a Starbucks and there’s people looking at your screen, maybe, you know, get it into a position where they can’t see it, it’s better not to view these in public, don’t share these images, um, you know, keep, uh, it’s it’s, we have to be very respectful to the donors and make sure that we don’t do anything inappropriate.

So this is an educational settings. So we have these images, but, um, but don’t share them with the general public or be mindful where you’re watching this ad. All right. So next, uh, next slide, let’s start looking at this connection. So there’s two lines on this, uh, cadaver drawn over this cadaver, and it’s just the dissection image. And then the top one, uh, which is the shorter of the two lines that’s showing the upper border of the glute Maximus and sports medicine acupuncture. We’ve referred to this as the gluteal app and erotic line. So that’s going to be more superficial than the glute medius and minimus, but I just wanted to show that demarcation, the bottom line is traveling up from the vastus lateralis. Then as it kind of makes a curve, you see it connecting into the glute medius and minimus, and then it follows right up into that, uh, lateral border of the erector spinae, which is that top portion of the line, um, that is kind of that whole trajectory of that lateral branch of the stomach, uh, send you a channel going all the way through the lateral Rapha and a moment we’ll actually see the erector spinae lifted, um, so that we can, um, get a clear view of the lateral Rafa.

One other thing to highlight from this image, you can get your bearings straight is if you go to the very top of that, um, that line, the longer line that’s, um, from there, if you go to the midline of the spine. Yep. Right in that region, we actually have the erector spinae cut. So everything above that, you’re seeing deep to the erector spinae. That’s going to allow us to lift up that little flap of the erector spinae to see the lateral Rafa a little closer. So let’s go to the next image then. And, um, this is just the lines removed, right? So see if you can find that same territory we just discussed kind of look at that trajectory of the sort of channel, like portion going from the thigh all the way up the glute medius and minimus up into the lateral Rafa. Okay.

And now let’s look at with the rector SPI and a lifted. So that would be on the next slide. So there is that little portion of the erector spinae lifted. Then you can see deep to that, to the next fascial layer and that boundary of the lateral RFA. That’s just that little, um, band that runs just lateral to the erector spinae. So again, you can follow that line down from the thigh, from the lateral thigh, going through glute medius and minimus into that lateral Rafa all part of the stomach sinew channel, that lateral branch of the stomachs, a new channel and a pretty juicy area when you’re working with a lot of chronic back problems. Right. That’s pretty sick.

Yeah. It’s pretty significant, uh, continuation from the lower extremity into that latter Rafa, you can see that line with the erector spinae lift up and the thickness of that ladder Raffa as well.

Interesting. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Get that image in your mind though, because you’ll see some palpation coming up in a bit. Um, and this is where actually, can we go back to the previous image with the erector spinae down? Imagine you are pressing not on a cadaver specimen necessarily, but on a person, if you were pressing and you could kind of see through the skin and, um, and see that your, your pressure is going right to that lateral edge of the erector spinae diving, just deep to it, to that, uh, that boundary of the lateral rafting, that’s going to be where we’re going to be palpating. Um, so this is a, a lot of the types of things we tried to get across. Like these images come from our, um, uh, uh, anatomy, cadaver dissection lab that is on, uh, LASA right now. So these are part of, uh, you know, we have a bunch of videos and I’m really a little more thorough presentation on this, but even just looking at these images, you can kind of get an idea of, okay, if I were to press into that tissue and try to reach the next image, go to that, the next slide and reach that tissue that’s on that boundary, just deep to the erector spinae and know that, okay, that’s the lateral Rafay, I’m palpating for tension at that region.

And knowing that that’s part of the stomachs and new channels. So we have a lot of information right there that you want to take it and kind of go over that. It kind of kind of started the process a little bit, but I wanted to highlight it on the cadaver portion. So when we see it, we know what we’re looking at.

No, that’s great. This is going to be the cadaver dissections in module two anatomy, politician, palpation cadaver lab on Los OMS. But what you said, bright for the person to really understand where that lateral Rafa is, which is going to help significantly when they’re looking for Osher points in this tissue. And also when they’re palpating for, so the lateral Rapha attention test, which is going to be coming up here in just a couple minutes. So am I next? Yep. Okay. Let’s go to the next slide please. All right, here it is Latta Rafiq tension test. So you guys hear it for your notes. Um, you have this a step-by-step, you’re going to ask the patient to designate the pain level with palpation of this tissue on a scale of one to 10. Um, many people are gonna be thinking, well, you’re just palpating. The quadratus lumborum is actually the depth of the palpation.

That is significant here. When you look at the video that’s coming up next, you’ll show it it’ll show that Brian is palpating within the first quarter inch of the superficial tissue. Just touching that lateral Rapha that covers the quadratus lumborum. If we’re looking for the quadratus lumborum trigger points or motor entry point ratchet pop hitting more from deeper into that tissue. So there’s a difference in the palpation of it. A practitioner is going to attempt to decrease the tension and the pain of the lateral Raphi by using the following acupuncture, motor points, stomach 41 works great. 43 can be used on 36 being the motor point, as Brian said of the tibialis, anterior, the vastus lateralis motor points work really, really well for reducing the tension and the latter Rafiq. Um, same with the rectus abdominis points. We’re going to be covering that because there’s four different segments of the rectus abdominis motor points.

And it’s usually going to be the lower aspect that is going to be changing significantly, the tenderness of that lateral Rafa. So let’s look at this image here. You can see how Brian was talking about the, uh, channel going all the way up the vastus lateralis, going to the anterior fibers. I’m talking about the lateral image here of the patient. So you can see going up the vastus lateralis, going up the anterior fibers of the minimus, the media’s going across that iliac crest, which you just saw on the cadaver going right into that lateral Rafa right now from that tissue, the lateral Rapha is going to be following along on the poster and the anterior aspect of the abdominal wall, going to the rectus abdominis. So there’s your connection, your significant connection of the stomach Sr channel for low back pain into the latter Rafa.

And also the abdominal aspect is contribution to low back pain as well. There’s something that we’ve been talking about for a few years now, it’s called acupuncture as an assessment. Um, this is something where you can use a couple of acupuncture points just to be able to see if they will decrease the tension of a particular orthopedic examination. In this case, what you’re going to see in this next video is Brian’s going to be using a couple of points to reduce tension in the lateral Rapha. So let’s check out the ladder off a tension test and acupuncture as an assessment, let’s go to the, into the video


So we’re looking at the lateral branch of the strong stomach send new channel. So the lateral branch of the stomachs and new channel from the thigh comes up through the vastus lateralis, connects with the gluteus medius and minimus, and then to the thoracolumbar fascia. So one of the key areas we look for in this lateral branch that connects them to the lumbar spine from the stomach channel is the lateral Rafa. The lateral Rapha is the meeting point is the fascial wall. That is the boundary between the iliacus Dallas’ lumborum the erector spinning and the quadratus lumborum. So those fascial planes come together in a seam at the lateral Rafa, and we’re going to go right into that lateral Rapha at a Rambo level of L three. Doesn’t have to be exact, but L three is a good landmark, and we’re going to start to palpation following the angle. So here’s the erector spinae falling off following the angle of the erector spinae down into that valley of the lateral Rapha. And we’re just looking for tension, but also palpatory pain to that. So we can ask the patient on a scale of one to 10, how that, what that pain level is with palpation. So what does that pain level there? Three by three? Yeah, it feels denser. Doesn’t feel, it feels like it’s healthy tissue. Most likely go to a different area. How about right there?

Three. All right. So can you stop bad? But if this was a big pain producer for the patient, then we would look at reducing that with distal points for this assessment and come back and how pain and see if that changes it. So primarily we’re going to be looking down with stomach channel and we can include things like vastus, lateralis, vastus, lateralis Motorpoint would be a good one to consider. We could look at, even though it’s on the gallbladder channel, the most, uh, pasture and edge of the vastus lateralis would be a possibility. So that would be in the region of gallbladder 31, and then we could follow it down also into the stomach channel, just by palpating. It feels like tip anterior has a certain amount of tension. So I’m going to use Tim anterior. I don’t know if it’ll change much based on the fact that you didn’t have a high pain aspect with the additional palpation, but let’s go ahead and work on it anyways. So we’ll use stomach 36, 1 of the motor points for tibial anterior.

Now we’ll come back to the area. So there’s two things I can look for what my palpation tells me. Does it feel like that tissue softened? And then what does the patient report in terms of pain, quality back at the same area and scale the one from one to 10? Yeah. And it feels softer to me. She says the one now, and from a three to a one, I’m having a hard time finding the exact location where I felt that tension before. Cause it feels like it’s been reduced. So other points to consider the distal stomach channel points down towards the feet, stomach 41 would be a possibility stomach, 40 stomach, 36, just based on palpation, felt like a good starting point for me. And then also looking at points along the thigh.

All right. So let’s just talk logistically about what we just saw here. So if you’re going to be treating the patient in a lateral recumbent position like that, using acupuncture’s assessments going to be really quite simple, um, you can also check the lateral Rafiq, the tension tests when the patient’s going to be standing, which is nice because you’ll be bearing and load bearing. So therefore the tissues are going to be a little bit different. Um, in that case you can check for Osher points while the person is standing. You could still go ahead and needle stomach 36, or you can use some distal points to, to see if that was start to change the tissue. You can also do the, do the lateral Rafa tension tests when the patient’s Lang prom. Now that makes it a little bit more difficult when you’re trying to be able to needle the vastus lateralis points, but we will have more access to the distal stomach channel points using stomach 45 stomach 44 stomach 43.

Those points are going to be a lot more accessible when the patient’s link prone and they will also change the tension within the lateral Rafa. And that way you can be able to plug in those points and then continue with your treatment. Um, this is going to be, um, just kneeling some Osher points within that lateral rafting. And you could see with Brian’s angle that he is angling it more toward the belly itself. Not necessarily parallel with the table, like how you would be needling the quadratus lumborum so pressing into that ladder, I Fe looking for Osher points and just tapping on that tissue. Remember that lateral Rapha is going to be a thin tissue on top of the quadratus lumborum and you might have two or three different Oscher points within that lateral Rafa. That’s going to span the region from the 12th rib all the way to the iliac crest. So let’s remember the depth of where that lateral Rafiq is. I’m trying to be able get disperse Oscher points within that region. Bride. You wanna add anything to that before we jump into the next slide?

Yeah, just that it’s um, I think I have that needle in about L three. Um, I do find that that region of L three and the lateral Rafa tends to be, um, pretty responsive and, um, you know, it’s a, it’s a good, I, I often find that is kind of the greatest tension, but for those who followed, uh, Luigi Stecco his work, um, you know, he has these really involved system where he talks about these different points, that parallel acupuncture points to some degree, but he calls them the centers of coordination. Um, and they’re like fascial unions between certain, certain regions of Paul on the muscle. Like this would probably be, I’d have to go back and look, but it’d probably be the, uh, include like the quadratus lumborum the erectors and coordinating movement between those. Um, but it’s in the fascia itself of the lateral Rafa. So this is one of his points, one of his centers of coordination, um, is that, that, uh, L three lateral Rapha mark. So kind of interesting. And I do find that that’s, I don’t know if this works super well, but I know a little bit of it, but I do find that that L three region is usually pretty predictable predictably. Um, more of the center of, of, of tension of that lateral or FFA. Sometimes when I need a lead, I have a slight inferior angle though. Like you said that 45, but, but slightly inferior.

Yeah. So predictable Osher point within that. [inaudible] so that’s great. That’s good. All right. Let’s see what the next slide is, please. All right, let’s go over the best slash motor entry points. There’s two primary for the vastus lateralis. One of them will be extra points, team food two, which is located just one to two soon, lateral from stomach 32, which would be food too. We know that stomach 32 is located six soon up from the lateral border of the superior lateral border of the patella. Uh, so following that up, make sure that you are going to be in the vastus lateralis, not in the rectus femoris. You’re going to slide over then one to two soon, um, into sheen futu, if you cross fiber, the vastus lateralis, it will often facilitate, uh, which would also be at the definition of a trigger point. Uh, if shin futu is going to be referring somewhere, then that would end up being also location of point.

Um, so this is going to be a branch off the femoral nerve going into that vastus lateralis extra point sheen food to a pretty powerful point. So it makes sure when you are kneeling it pretty slow and methodical needling, otherwise it can be a strong cheese sensation can come up really quite quickly. Now the upper fibers of the vastus lateralis, which oftentimes, um, can atrophy on many patients where it’s not really quite used, if they’re having some mechanical problems with the extension or knee flection, those upper fibers, if you divide stomach 31 and the superior border of the patella divided by thirds, it’s the meeting point between the middle and the upper thirds. Uh, you’ll definitely find an off SharePoint within that meeting point. That’s going to be another motor entry point from the femoral nerve going into those upper fibers. Um, the needle technique, that being that should actually be a little bit deeper than that, uh, should be more like, uh, 0.75 to 1.25 inches because the innervation is actually going to be more to the medial side from that femoral nerve.

So you have to go a little bit deeper into that mass lateral, so you guys would be able to make that correction. That would be great. All right. So let’s now I believe let’s go to the next slide, our rectus abdominis motor entry points here. You can see four needles on the left and four needles on the right. It’s an old bleak angle going into the rectus abdominis. The needle is starting at the spleen channel and then directing it toward the wrench channel going. Uh, th the objective here is to try to be able to get the needle to go to the poster aspect of the rectus abdominis. That’s where the innovation side is more on the poster aspect and not necessarily on the Antar aspect. We have to be very mindful to make sure that we know where the tip of the needle is going, and it’s not going past the rectus abdominis, therefore into the peritoneal cavity.

So be very, very mindful of where that needle is going, but your goal is to cross fiber, the rectus abdominis, and angle it. So it is going to be affecting more of that poster aspect. Um, there’s a great video. That’s going to be in the motor entry-point protocol. This will be in module two part of the online recordings that we have thankfully have finished. We’re coming really close to getting them all aligned. Um, it’s been over a year endeavor and what an adventure that has been I’m sure Brian can agree to that. Um, so those are available on Lassa OMS, um, the research for the rectus abdominis motor, point’s the largest diameter of these intercostal nerves. That’s going into the rectus abdominis or the ones that’s going to be located in the lower half. So that means number three, and number four, that’s on this particular slide.

So you want to locate stomach 23, which we know is going to be too soon above stomach, 25 and needle towards stomach three from the spleen channel, right? So the rectus sheets you’ll be connecting the spleen with the stomach then. So the needle is going to be going from the spleen channel toward the stomach channel, going into the motor entry point for that particular muscular segment of the rectus abdominis. I believe that particular one is innervated by the T 10 intercostal nerve. I could be wrong. It could be T 11. Um, again, but those, the research was showing that’s more of the larger diameter, um, um, uh, nerves coming across into that motor entry point. The next one to choose here would be also just below stomach 27, which we know is going to be located to super low stomach 25. That was nice about this too, is you look at it’s pretty much at the same level as the lateral Rafa as well.

So with low back pain, many times practitioners are not needling into the abdominals. And boy, you can really great get really good results by combining treatment on the back and also treatment on the front. So if you’re not treating the abdomen with low back pain and maybe your results haven’t been as good as you want to please make sure that you are going ahead and needling into these, these points, you’ll see that it actually will help significantly. And just as a side note also, um, I’ve had many patients have actually had constipation and I’ve used this needle technique and it works really quite well, more for the excess type of constipation, not necessarily for the blood deficiency type of constipation, but it’ll change Paris dialysis pretty well. All right, Brian, I think we’ve got a myofascial release technique that you’re going to be showing that’s really a great for spreading here. So do you want to introduce that?

Sure. Uh, so Matt mentioned getting better results by including the abdominal layers, especially if you’re doing these assessments and you find that, you know, somebody reports a seven out of a scale of 10 on the palpation of the lateral Rafa on a pain scale, and you need all the rectus abdominis, uh, as a, um, assessment or the vastus lateralis. And you find that when you go back and pal plate that maybe it’s gone down to a four or a three, so that’s telling you that that’s a component, you know, part of their low back pain. Maybe it’s not the primary source, maybe it is, but a component of their low back pain has to do with that tension in the thoracolumbar fascia. So sure if that, if that assessment showing improvement and why not put those needles back again as part of the comprehensive treatment and, or, and I say, and or maybe the person doesn’t have enough, cheetah include that many more noodles, or for whatever reason, maybe you don’t do the needles that you can do the myofascial, or maybe you do the acupuncture and the myofascial.

But speaking to this tension in the abdomen and possibly on the lateral quadriceps is going to be important for these patients. So this is a technique on the rectus of the dominance and it’s working, you know, the rectus abdominis has the six-pack six-pack muscle, it’s actually an APAC, but each of those little packs are there because there’s a tendonous transcription that separates one of the four segments of the rectus abdominis. Um, you know, so that, that’s what creates the six pack, but actually there’s a, uh, pack on each rib cage that doesn’t show up when people have really developed at abdominals. So it’s a, technically, it’s an APAC, but we’re going to be working in those tendonous transcriptions to free tension in the fascia. And this would not be uncommon to refer to the back, especially in the 20, uh, stomach 25 region. But let’s go ahead and look at the video for that.

So we’ll be working now with the rectus abdominis, but specifically the tendonous inscriptions of the rectus abdominis. This would be really relevant for when there’s pain at the thoracolumbar fascia, or especially at the lateral Rafa because those abdominal layers wrap around and become part of the thoracolumbar fascia and can add tension into the lateral Rafa. So in your assessment with the thoracolumbar fascia test, if you find that it reduces palpatory pain by doing acupuncture assessment at the rec fem, these would be techniques you could do after the needling. So we’re going to start at stomach 25. I’m going to use my fingers, pads and my fingers to sort of find that tenderness inscription, I’m going to sink perpendicular. Usually I find that a little bit inferior, like I’m kind of dropping in perpendicular and a little bit inferior helps to hook into that tendonous tissue, that fascial tissue, you don’t have a bone to push again. So I can’t just go straight in and resist against the bone. So I need to find a way to hook into that tissue. And this is a good, that little kind of curving motion seems to get a good hook, a good investment on that tissue. And then I’m spreading my fingers apart. So you can’t see it much. It’s a small movement, but it’s just like you’re unzipping a zipper hook in and spread.

Sometimes patients actually will feel this refer towards the back or even into the lumbar region.

You can work up to the next one, well, into the tenderness inscription sink in and spread

You can notice that as we’re working here, she’s starting to be able to take a little bit deeper of a breath, cause it’s freeing that tissue that can clamp down and resist the breath. And we’ll be at the cost of margin. I can continue to do spreading apart, or I can go up or down. If the person has a very hold in, compressed lower rib cage, I might want to bring the tissue out if they don’t have good tone in the abdominal muscles and it’s over flared, I might want to move the tissue up or I could just bread. And either way, I’m working along that costal margin,

Mindful that I don’t want to go all the way to the xiphoid. I’m just going up towards the xiphoid

One last pass. I can be at the attachment and again, spreading at that rectus abdominis attachment where the fascia starts to meet the pec major

And then I can work at the final attachment site at the pubic bone. I want to start above the pubic bone. So there’s the pubic bone I started above so that my pressure can get deep to where the rectus abdominis dives deep today, a posterior border of the pubic bone tendon, a tender area. Is that okay? And I can do a slight minuscule across fiber, or I can try to lift the pubic bone and decompress. This is another region that might refer into the lumbar region.

Right. So you don’t need to do all of those areas. You might pick and choose one or two regions. Stomach 25 is often very frequently involved. Costa margin’s frequently involved. All of it’s going to free the breathing take tension off the thoracolumbar fascia. And you can consider this technique when there’s a stomach, send you channel relationship to pain, such as facet, joint problems,

Especially a great technique to be able to use after kneeling, because it also takes pain away or soreness away from the needles as well. Um, there’s a lot more great Mahvash release techniques that we’re showing. And that’s from the assessment and treatment of the channel, send you module two, available a loss of OMS, um, really great techniques to be able to use right after the needling that can reinforce what you’re trying to accomplish with the acupuncture.

All right. It’s a slow treatment. Yeah. Yeah. It just, it’s kind of a slow, you know, you don’t want to rush through those treatments at the same time I was talking and I was teaching. So it seems like it would take a long time, but you can actually get through those, those, uh, even if you do all passes, all four passes, you can do that pretty much quicker than I was doing it there, you know, there was teaching and discussion and where and what I was doing and all that. So it seemed like it would be a long, long time spent, but not, not so much in practice.

Hi, Brian, it’s always a pleasure to be able to hang out with you and to be able to share knowledge. Thank you very much. Thanks very much at the American Acupuncture Council. Also next we’ve got, uh, Lorne Brown is going to be coming in and discussing some great things. I’m sure Lorne has been in the field for a long, long time and a great pioneer in himself. So check out Lorne next week. Thanks again to the American Acupuncture Council. Thank you very much. You guys for attending and we’ll see you again. All right. Yep. Bye-bye.


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Working with the Psoas Major and its Respective Sinew Channels



This is  a particular muscle that a lot of people have interest in. It’s a very prominent structure. You could consider it part of the core of the body depending on how people define core.

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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hello, welcome. And thanks for having us. Thanks to the American Acupuncture Council for welcoming us back. Uh, always great to do these webinars. Um, very frequently I do these with Matt Callison who had something to attend to today, so he wasn’t able to be here. Uh, we’ve kind of put this presentation together, uh, between the two of us, but in some ways, uh, sometimes one of us does a little bit more work on one particular one or the other. So this one, I actually did a little bit more of the setup with, so if he’s going to be out for a particular event, this one was probably as good as any, but it’s always nice to have them here and do this together. But anyways, um, that is why I’m doing this one by myself, but let’s go ahead and jump into the presentation. So what we’re going to be presenting on is the psoas major muscle.

This is, uh, a particular muscle that a lot of people have interest in. It’s a very prominent structure. Uh, you could consider it part of the core of the body depending on how people define core. Um, it can be one of the core structures. That definitely is a very core structure in terms of its stabilizing role on the spine. So we’ll go over all of this in the presentation, but it is such a central muscle that we decided to focus on it. Um, this particular timing, uh, we, we are focusing on it in this presentation because we’re getting ready to put together a, um, a little bit longer of a class, maybe like a three hour class, really much more of a deep dive into the, so as that that’ll probably be out for, um, available, uh, on a webinar for, uh, um, see use later in the, either the year, probably more likely, uh, closer to the new year in January.

So, uh, be on the lookout for that. It’ll be available on our webpage. It’ll be available through net of knowledge. Uh, so this is kind of the preparation for that. It’s a little shorter version of it. And we’re going to go into a little bit of depth in here and give you some ideas of how to work with this really important structure. So let’s go ahead and jump in. So first of all, let’s look at the anatomy. The, so as some ways has two heads on the axial spine there’s attachments, uh, on the vertebral bodies and actually right into the intervertebral discs of L four through T 12. So that tells you something right away that this is going to be involved in a lot of spinal problems in terms of its centrality and how it’s right up against those vertebral bodies with attachments right into the desks.

But that’s one of the heads L four through T 12, but then that one’s available in this image here. But if we were to kind of think, uh, posterior to this, if we were to kind of remove a vital little clicker and could remove the front surface of that. So as we’d see, it’s more posterior head, which is on the lesser trow canter, uh, excuse me, on the transverse processes of L five through T 12. Uh, so we have those two heads, which will be important in a, in a second, when we look at some of the neurology of this structure. Um, but for now just understanding that it really has attachments all the way up from L five to T 12, all the way on the lumbar spine, including lumbar discs for Debo bodies and that, um, the transverse processes, then it sort of descends down.

It crosses over the Elio pectineal Ridge, sort of over the junction between the pubic bone and the ilium, and then crosses and dives down towards the lesser trochanter of the femur. So that’s the territory we’re looking at in the grayed out sort of portion of this structure. We have the iliacus and as you see, and as many of you I’m sure know that the iliac is, has a common attachment on the lesser trow canter with the SOA. So sometimes people refer to as the iliopsoas, including that iliac Cassandra. So as I personally like separating those muscles, even though they have a common attachment on the femur, for reasons that we’ll get into a little bit later, both, uh, something we can see right now. And so as has actions on the spine where the ELA Acus doesn’t, but when we started looking at the channel sinews and some of those relationships, it’s nice to, in some ways have those muscles and separate mental compartments so that we can look at the sort of channel relationships to them. But yes, a lot of times people were referred to the iliopsoas because of that common attachment on the femur. Uh, so that’s the anatomy and that’s the territory that we’re looking at.

So one thing to know, right from the get go with the solo ads is it’s intimately related with the lumbar plexus. Uh, and, and particularly with the nerves that come from the lumbar plexus. So let’s look at this Netter image for a moment and kind of get our orientation straight. First of all, on the right side, we have the so as intact. So if you look at it by right side, I mean the illustrations, right. You know, the, the specimens right on the right side of the size is intact. And if you look at the left, so as not only is it cut as you get a little bit towards L five, you know, imagine you’re doing dissection and never was painting this image, I’m sure he was going by a dissection model. Um, so maybe they had already cut the so as, and, and so we can see the iliac is deep to that.

Um, but more than that on the left side, you can see that some of that more anterior head that attaches to the vertebral bodies and discs have also been cut away and we can see right into the body of the psoas and see that the lumbar plexus is actually situated right in top or right inside the, so as between those two heads between yeah, right there between those two heads of the, so as, uh, is the lumbar plexus and the nerves that come from the lumbar plexus, uh, and this particular study, uh, I’m quoting here, looked at the, um, dissections for 63 specimens and dissection and 61 of those, that was the case. So there’s variability like everything in human body, but in the majority, the vast majority of the cases that whole lumbar plexus is going to be situated inside the so ads. And then all the nerves that are coming from the lumbar plexus are going to penetrate through the solo ads.

So we can kind of look at that here. If we go back to the right side, we can look at the top most nerve that doesn’t actually penetrate through the, so as cause it’s not part of the lumbar plexus, that’s the subcostal nerve. It does share with the lumbar plexus, but then it wraps around the body, uh, innovate some of the abdominal muscles and the skin kind of, of the, the abdomen then below that we have the Iliad hypogastric and the ilioinguinal nerves, those do actually penetrate right through the psoas cause they’re coming from that lumbar plexus. So then they exit the, so as in those upper portion, uh, upper kind of proximal fibers of the, so as if we continue down from there, we have the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. So it exits, so as a little bit more distal, a little bit more on the inferior portion of the fibers.

If we go a little bit, medial, you can see penetrating right through the psoas is a genital femoral nerve. And then if we go actually immediate to the, so as in that area, we’d have to kind of pick it out, but there’s the opterator nerve. So all of those have a relationship with the psoas in the sense that they’re all coming from the lumbar plexus, they all, you know, Pierce the, so as, uh, an exit, the, so as, um, and they have, you know, again, this intimate relationship with the psoas muscle. So we’ll get into that later in the importance of that. There’s a lot of importance just thinking about the anatomy. I’m sure you can think of many cases and pain patterns, trigger point referral patterns, how all of that is tied together and makes the, so as such a prominent structure and creating its own pain in the body, but also contributing to, um, various pain syndromes, like maybe back a lumbar junction syndrome, uh, involvement with clean Neal nerves, which are also coming from this lumbar plexus, but they’re on the posterior part, not visible from this image.

There’s a whole bunch of pain patterns. Um, a brief sidestep on this. This is not directly about the solo ads, but for those who are really into channel relationships, my interpretation of the dye, my, uh, is really these nerves that wrap around like those subcostal nerves, dealio hypogastric Leo and wean all lateral framework, cutaneous nerves, there’s nerves that are wrapping around from the back lumbar plaques, plexus and wrapping around the abdomen. I think that that speaks a little bit to the dynamite. I don’t know if I would say that the dynamite equals those nerves, but those nerves are part of the physiology of the dynamite because those nerves also innovate the abdominal muscles, like the transverse abdominis and the mobile leaks. Um, those nerves are influenced, as we know, by gallbladder 41, the oblique muscles are part of the gallbladder send you a channel. So I think somehow regulating tension through gallbladder 41 has an effect on those nerves that really wrap around following the trajectory of the diamond.

One other little thing about this it’s quite interesting is that the, you might have to go back and look this up if you haven’t looked at it for awhile, but the kidney divergent channel links intersects with the, my, uh, at L two, that’s just how it’s classically described intersects at the dynamite. And if you look at the trajectory of the opterator nerve, this other nerve of the lumbar plexus that opterator nerve goes right down and has sensory fibers right down to almost like the kidney 10 region. And that’s where the, um, kidney divergent channel takes off come kind of from that popliteal region comes up the thigh and then meets and intersects at the dynamite at L two region. So I think when we’re looking at the, my we’re looking somewhat at the physiology of the, uh, um, the lumbar plexus and the psoas is as kind of part of that relationship, but little bit more of a different subject, maybe in another day, we can hash that out a little bit more, but since we’re looking at this anatomy, it’s worth taking a moment to kind of, uh, compare and look at that kind of comparative anatomy between Western and Eastern.

All right. So some other, uh, ways that the, so as, um, interacts with the anatomy around it again, let’s get our orientation straight from this Netter image on the right of the specimen. The so as has been cut. So if you look closely, you’ll see the proximal fibers where it’s cut, and if you follow it down, you might even see the distal fibers. That’s kind of right over the [inaudible]. Yeah, they’re right there. So again, that’s so we can see what steep to that. We can see the quadratus lumborum. So the psoas and the quadratus lumborum have a pretty close relationship. The quadratus lumborum being a little bit more posterior takes off from the iliac crest and then goes up to the 12th rib. So there we have the quadratus, lumborum a really important muscle. We could do a class on the quadratus. Lumborum, it’s, it’s also really a, a quite a, um, important structure.

And maybe someday that’ll be a subject of one of these webinars. Um, I do want to highlight that anatomy because we have a dissection video coming up that is on the, so as, and that’s why I put it on here, but it does also cover the QL because if you look just distal to the quadratus, lumborum on the right. You can see how it shares fibers into the iliacus muscle, which isn’t that kind of pelvic bowl. And then that iliac is muscle. Like we looked at that common attachment on the lesser Cho canter, really farms, a continuous myofascial plane, all the way down to the ad doctors. You’ll see this in another image coming up and I’ll highlight it again. Um, but that in our interpretation and sports medicine, acupuncture is part of the liver send you a channel. You wouldn’t think of the quadratus lumborum as being part of the liver channel because in some ways we have to needle it from the back, but it’s not really a back muscle.

It’s a core, it’s a central muscle. It’s really a yin muscle on the inside of the body. Um, none of the medial thigh from the ad doctors, but then it blends in at the spinal attachments that we looked at and it really then becomes part of the kidney send new channel, which is interesting because not only is it part of the kidney send a channel, but we can see that the kidney organ is right up against that. So as, and in visceral osteopathy, they talk about how that, so as moves along the rails of the, so as you know, that if you kind of picture the psoas as being a rails of a train track, you know, that the kidney moves along the, so as the fascia is really intimately related with the, so as the renal fascia, and so as muscle, um, and by moves, what I mean is every time you take a breath that, so as moves about two centimeters down as the, as the diaphragm descends, it pushes the dominal contents, including the kidneys, all of the organs, liver, all of that.

But in this case, the kidney itself, it moves along. It kind of follows along that rail of the solo ads. So if you think about how many breaths you take every day, I don’t have the exact figure. This is something that when Matt was here, because he does know this Lennox, I heard him say it recently, but, um, but it’s quite a large amount of distance that, that kidney travels two centimeters isn’t that far, but two centimeters, every several seconds, all day that’s, that’s a lot of territory. So what happens now, if the renal fascia and the kid in the psoas, fascia are all adhered to each other and there’s limited capacity for that kidney to descend, well, then we’re going to have, you know, maybe restrictions in the psoas restrictions in the, in the hip flection. Uh, we’re going to have inability for the diaphragm to descend, you know, it’s going to cause some kind of obstruction, some kind of congestion that’s going to cause some health issues.

So when you’re working with the psoas, I think what I would take home from that relationship is when you’re working with the psoas, to some degree, you’re working with the kidney, if there’s more movement and more movement potential. And so as there’s more movement potential in the kidneys, and one of the ways that the kidneys become ill, and I don’t mean like kidney disease, um, in Western Sant standpoint, but in terms of lack of function is that they start to lose that mobility and motility of the Oregon kind of moving along the, um, the, so as, and then that can maybe descend a little bit. It can put pressure on those nerves we were looking at and it can cause their own symptomology. So being able to free up this region can really, um, both include improve function in the hip muscles. But, um, but also in the internal organs, the other thing that we can highlight, if you go back to the right side, we can see that proximal part of the, so as it’s cut, we can see how intimately related that is with the Dyer for him.

So that’s the cut portion yet right there. So in this nice, clean, better image where they take off all the fascia, you can see that it touches it, but in a real dissection with the fascia intact, you can see how integrated those fascial components are. And they become really one in the same, those sort of feed the crew of the diaphragm, the extensions and attachments of the diaphragm with the proximal. So as, so when you get people who are posterior tilt of the rib cage, maybe their pelvis slides forward and the rib cage tilts back. And it compresses that region of the diaphragm on the, so as that can have implications in breathing, I’m already thinking of kidney, not, um, grasping lung Chi is one way that I see it manifest. Um, so it’s gonna, it’s gonna decrease the ability of the diaphragm to descend, but it also can actually turn off the, so as, and cause problems with SOS its ability to stabilize the spine.

So when you start getting patients who maybe have back pain after starting to run, or they’re out dancing, moving in the back, pain comes on maybe five minutes as they start to tax their breathing. That’s one to start thinking of that relationship. And we have ways that we work on that in sports medicine, acupuncture. Unfortunately it won’t be in this webinar, but we’ll look at some ways that would affect it. Um, also, so kidney, so as QL, those are all and diaphragm. Those are all pretty intimately related. So let’s go into the next image, the next slide.

So here’s the, uh, image I put together for the send new channel relationships. So we’ve already talked about them. I don’t think I need to spend a whole ton of time saying it again, but, but we can see it from a different capacity now. So we have that medial thigh with the ad doctors, especially at Dr. Longest brevis and Peck tineas Priscilla’s could also be included in that these are part of the liver, send you a channel for those who know anatomy pretty well. The posterior muscle of this ad doctor group adductor Magnus attaches to a different portion on the back of the femur. It’s in a little bit different that, um, region that’s a little more posterior than this group that would be part of the kidney send new channel. So we’re looking at the thigh portion. We’re looking at the liver, send you a channel as it comes up to medial thigh, and you can see both the iliac is in the, so as the Eylea.

So as is part of that, liver send you a channel coming from distal, going up into the body. Uh, we talked about the iliacus and the QL. You can kind of find that in this image that it’s marked on the right [inaudible], that’s following that liver sinew channel all the way to the 12th rib. And then the, so as starts to attach more into the bodies of the vertebra blends in with the anterior longitudinal ligament, and it becomes part of the kidney sinew channels. So the SOA has this kind of a crossover. It takes off this delay from the liver sinew channel, and it ties into, um, the kidney send new channel. So which isn’t, well, we talk about it a couple different ways when you’re working with the distal ileus. So as for like grind strains, then more often than not there’s direct needle and you can do of course, but if you’re using disappoints, it’s going to be liver channel points that are going to have more of an effect on it.

Liver for liver five, those types of points are going to have a stronger effect on that liver. Five’s going to have a really strong effect on the quadratus lumborum through that, that QL iliacus relationship, but it would also have an effect on the distal Lilya. So as, so really when you’re talking about that distal portion, as it comes over the alien pectineal Ridge, and then God goes down to attached to the femur, you can kind of think of that as, as liver territory, liver sinew, channel territory, as it dives deep into the body. And we’re talking more about stabilization of the lumbar spine. We’re talking about how that stabilizes and moves and supports the lumbar spine. Then I’m going to put on my kidneys and new channel hat and think about its role more from the kidney sinew channel and how that’s going to affect it.

We will look in this webinar at a way of affecting that relationship when it’s not stabilizing the spine. And if the, um, so as this sort of testing week, um, but if I were going to use distal points, I might start thinking more kidney points, give me seven, the tone of vacation point on the kidney channel, uh, can sometimes wake up that ability for the SOS to support the lumbar spine. Uh, so if you’re thinking more body of the size, I guess you could say kidney, if you’re thinking more distal iliopsoas, you can think liver’s a new channel. I can say it a different way that if I’m thinking excess, I tend to see more of a relationship with the liver sinew channel, uh, excess meaning hypertonic restrictive. When I start seeing situations where it’s more about stability and support, then I see more of a relationship with the kidney channel kidney, send new channel a kidney channel points, distally.

So that’s a way of kind of making sense of its roles in terms of these two channels and it connects with all right. So actions of the SOS, the, so as does hip and trunk flection, hip flection, of course, we think about that with walking trunk flection. I want to come back to and a couple of slides. So just kind of put a little asterisk by that one that does lateral rotation of the hip, unless you see a source that says it does medial rotation of the hip. Um, lateral rotation is the bigger consensus, but I think gets rotation on the hip is negligible. I don’t really think about it so much personally, unless I’m doing a manual muscle test and you’ll see in the image coming up for that, that, um, there is a slight, uh, lateral rotation, but I don’t think it has a real large role in terms of lateral or medial rotation of the hip. Um, and sources say different things about it. So maybe it varies depending on the person’s position and how their body’s structure is hip flection, definitely trunk flection, definitely. Um, this third bullet point also definitely lateral flection of the spine and contralateral rotation. So if you can kind of picture that. So as contracting on one side, it’s gonna side them, that’s fine until a lateral flection to that side and rotated away.

Okay. So let’s think then about that. The, so as could be shortened, it could contract and shorten can contract and shorten and movement have flection and all that. But if it’s chronically hypertonic, it’s going to Paul on the lumbar spine it’s going to, and this is the consensus it’s going to pull it into more of a excessive lordotic curve. It doesn’t attach directly to the pelvis, but in the process of that spine being pulled into a lordotic curve and exaggerating that hyperextension of the spine, as it pulls the spine closer to the lesser trow canter, it’s going to pull the pelvis into an anterior tilt. So that top image is showing a neutral pelvis. Matt has a measurement at the ASI S and then I’m in the front and then a PSIS in the back. And there’s about a quarter inch. We’ve got about a finger width between that.

So that’s, uh, the, the measurement for a normal kind of a neutral pelvis. It’s about a quarter of an inch higher on the back, that’s normal. Um, but in the lower picture, you can see now that, uh, that quarter of an inch that is greater than a quarter of inch, that ASI S is situated, uh, much lower than what you see in the top image. So that’s what you had started seeing with bilateral shortness or unilateral if we’re just looking at it from one side, but let’s imagine that the, so that the pelvis bilaterally in that anterior tilt that same measurement and he’s doing on the right would look very similar on the left, this measurement, you know, it takes a little practice. You have to be right at the center of the PSIS. You have to find the upper border. You have to find the lower border, kind of find the lateral medial border and get right in the center of it.

And then the highest part also of the ASI S and that’s going to give you the measurement, cause you can kind of picture if I’m at the top border of the, um, uh, geez, it looks like I’m a mirror image here. I’m going to change my Android phone. See if, I don’t know if you guys are seeing the same thing I am. Um, if I’m, if I’m at the top border of the PSIS and the lower border of the ASI S it’s going to give me a false read, I need to be in a very consistent place. And that would be at the peak, you know, the central aspect of the PSIS and DSIS, um, and that’s gonna give me a sort of a more accurate measurement, but, um, that’s how you would measure it. But, you know, just looking at it, if you just look at that lower image, you can see that there’s a greater inclination forward, uh, anterior tilt of that bottom image.

So that was that way on both sides. And I would be thinking that the so as is in a locked short position, bilaterally polling, that’s fine into an excessive lordotic curve, taking the pelvis with it into an anterior tilt. Sometimes it looks like the person can’t fully stand up, picture them, seated, their hips flex. They go to stand up. And it’s like, as if they, that last few degrees of hip hip extension isn’t there, and they’re kind of held into hip flection and their spine tends to be a little bit more arch. This is the consensus with a shortening of the, so as at least bilaterally, uh, Tom Myers has an interesting perspective on it that I do kind of think there’s some merit to this, and he looks at the upper fibers versus the lower fibers. So when you remember back to those images were talking about the anatomy.

There is, it’s almost like six muscles, right from, from L five all the way to T 12. I did it as dissection at university of Tampa with a physician assistant group, um, where they’re there for the students, for the physician assistants. And I was helping lead this dice, the kind of group of dissections, and one of the specimens had really severe scoliosis in the spine and the lumbar spine almost became horizontal. And you could really see on that side, there’s six individual slips of the muscle as they were kind of widen that whole aspect of the psoas. And you’d see those each of those little slips going and attaching to the various side, um, attachment sites on the, on the spine. And with that spine orientation change to kind of widen the whole. So as, and, and almost gave that appearance of the six muscles.

So if you think of that, that way, those upper fibers, the ones that are accessible more laterally are the ones that go up higher, uh, on the, uh, on the, on the T 12 L one region, if those are shortened, like in that upper picture on the right, that might actually pull the spine more into a, uh, straighten kind of curve as if the person is on the floor doing trunk flection, like a curl, which the so as would be involved with, I would say that, that in that case, it’s more of the upper fibers, whereas the lower fibers in that bottom right image and kind of drawing, that’s really showing more of the lower fibers, pulling the spine into a hyperlordotic curve. I think this plays out quite a bit, especially when you get people whose pelvis has shifted forward and the rib cage has shifted back.

Sometimes those upper fibers are the more involved ones. So you can almost see the, so as, as being, uh, an antagonist of itself, you know, upper fibers versus lower fibers, this is not the norm, a normal view. This is not the consensus. This is an alternate view, but I kinda liked this view. And it kind of does give me some suggestions of how I work, especially with manual therapy, unilateral shortening, like we mentioned, is going to pull the spine into lateral flection to that side and contralateral rotation. When you’re looking at somebody, the umbilicus will look like it’s pointing away from the, the short. So as, so it’d be, that’s a, that’s a simple way of looking at it. You can kind of see the, uh, the umbilicus saying, you know, I’m pointing away from it that said the direction is pointing to would be more of the length.

And so as the, the direction is pointing away from would be the short. And so as there’s a lot of things that can involve that can affect the iliac. I mean, the umbilicus a position there could be scar tissue there. So I don’t take that too literally. That’s, um, it’s not an way, but you can sometimes come over the person and look down the spine and you can see that lumbar spine rotating one way or the other. So the side that’s more posterior is going to be the length and side. Um, in the side, that’s more anterior is going to be the shortened side. We’ll look at another way to, uh, to address this in a second.

All right. So we have a cadaver video coming up. I just want to remind people, who’ve seen some webinars where we have cadaver videos that these are, um, you know, it, shouldn’t be kind of viewed in public if you’re at Starbucks right now, and there’s somebody who can see your screen, maybe it’d be good to, to not watch this. Now, come back and watch it later. Just be mindful of your surroundings. This one, no faces are shown, but this one is pretty internal. And I think it could be disturbing for people who aren’t medical professionals of yourself. Do you find this stuff kind of disturbing, maybe don’t watch, but especially be mindful of your surroundings. Don’t take screenshots, don’t share these don’t record and share these videos. You know, we have to be really respectful for the donors. This is for medical professionals. Um, so just have that caveat when you’re watching it. And let’s go ahead and look at this. It’s going to show the, so as it’s going to show that QL and iliac is relationship and some movement.

So one last that aspect with the solo ads is we can look at the different fibers medial versus lateral, and how that relates to the lumbar spine. So if I look at these medial fibers, the medial fibers are going to be attaching to L five and L four and the lower portion, but the more lateral I go, the higher up the fibers become. So the fibers that are going up to T 12 L one upper portion are going to be the lateral fibers. And the ones that are going into the lower lumbar spine are going to be the medial fibers. So there’s some indications and some viewpoints on this that the medial fibers would be more involved with an anterior tilt and with lordosis, as they would be pulling the lumbar spine into a hyperlordosis hyperlordotic position, pulling the a L five L four L three lower portions into lordosis versus a posterior tilt where maybe the T 12 L one portion could be putting the, uh, lateral fibers and more upper fibers into a shortened position.

It’s not the common view, it’s just an alternate view, but interesting to think since the muscle is multiple slips, that this could be both involved in an anterior and posterior tilt, depending on which fibers you’re looking at, especially relevant for manual work, um, because we’re, we could highlight the different fibers. Last thing we can look at since we’ve talked about the quadratus lumborum is we get a good view of the quadratus. Lumborum now coming to the medial portion of the iliac crest and joining facially, at least the fascia has been taken off, but you can see the same fascial plane in through the iliacus. And then of course, down into the liver channel, as it travels and meets with the, uh, fascia of the abductors, as I go up from there, the diaphragm has been removed during the evisceration process, or at least disturbed, but we can appreciate that that same fascial plane then would blend into the cruise or the feed of the diaphragm from the upper fibers of the QL. And of course the so as itself would be a very, uh, integrated with the upper fibers of the diaphragm.

Actually, Alan, I think there was a, a little bit more of that video. I wonder if we can go back and slide forward a little bit, if we can’t do this, it’s no big deal instead of watching the whole thing. I don’t know if this can be a jumped up at the middle,


Okay. Yeah, no worries. No worries. Yeah, no worries. Okay. So let’s go to the next side that this one just shows some of the, like, kind of move the rib cage and you can see the, so as like side bending the spine, but I think we got a pretty good, pretty clear idea with that. Um, just by description. Uh, so this, uh, test here is, uh, lumbopelvic rhythm. This, we look more at for the urinary bladder, uh, channel relationships and new channel. It’s looking at the normal position where the lumbar spine moves in a one-to-one relationship with the nominate bone in the middle one. It’s showing that the innominate bone, um, is not moving so that you’re getting all, all movement in the lumbar spine, showing a restriction in the hamstrings, in the farthest, right. One, the nomina bone is moving, but the lumbar spine, not some more of that restriction in the urinary bladder sinew channel at the level of the lumbars.

Why am I showing it here? Because after we do this test, we can go to the next slide and we can have the person, uh, facing away from us and we can look at them from the back. And if you look at that image and I’ll let you look at it for a minute, um, from the back, can you see that one side is up higher? And by one side, I mean, the lumbar spine is up higher than the other side. So going back to that information of what the unilateral imbalance does at the, so as that Ray’s side is going to show us, show us the likely locked long inhibited. So as whereas the lock short, so as it’s going to be on this case, on the right side, which is pulling that accessibly into rotate rotation, or the left side is failing to support the spine, which is it, is this excess or deficient excess on the right deficient on the left, in relationship to each other, but on any given person, then we have to figure out, is this more about that excess more about the deficiency or both, but at least it’s telling us there’s an imbalance there.

So this lumbopelvic rhythm, great test for the urinary bladder, you a channel, but we can, uh, look at it from the back and get a window into the kidney sinew channel. So we have that left side showing that a relative length and position compared to the right side. And we can take that right into a manual muscle test manual muscle test of the psoas is having the hip and about 35 to 40 degrees. Fluxion that image is showing a little bit more than that. I think I put the wrong image in that. I noticed this just before we went live. Uh, this looks like the iliacus manual muscle test. So imagine that same position, but a little less hip flection. Yeah, yeah. About that angle of hip flection. So they look alike and I just grabbed the wrong one. But, um, so as manual muscle tests, everything else would be approximately the same, but it’s more of that 35 to 40 degrees of abduction flection, and then abduction to about 35 degrees driving UV 58 back towards the table.

So you’re taking them and slight AB duction, but really focusing on the extension and the so as it’s called onto to support that. So that is a manual muscle test of the so as you can do that immediately after the, um, seeing that, that sign, that, so as signed in the previous task store, you might do this on its own, but this is going to give you a window into how the so as is, are supporting the body. You have the person, you kind of give an initial load and as you over pressure, the, so as you’re seeing of that, so as fibers has enough cheese to lock on, we’ll talk about GB 27 in a second at top, probably we’ll close with, but you could also try even just putting a point in something like kidney seven and seeing if that wakes up, you might have to draw the needle back before you test and then retest and see if there’s a little bit more strength than the, so as kidney 27, we’ll definitely do it.

But, um, but you can also look for other points like kidney seven, kidney, three, kidney, six other channel points that might affect it. I’m not going to talk about 62 and [inaudible], that is a little bit longer of a discussion. Um, let’s go then to the next slide. So that goes into treatment. We have motor points that lie deep to UV 24 and UV 25. I’m not going to go in and into the needle technique for these because they involve a pretty deep needle technique that really takes some time to, to talk about, um, and we’ll allude to it, but it’s really something that needs to be spent a lot more time, uh, for safety reasons, but you can needle the, so as directly from the back, um, there’s these two motor points, they lied deep to a U B 24 and UV 25 physician is going into the next slide is through the back.

There’s a needle technique that kind of follows the edge of the, um, Leo Castelli’s lumborum muscle and goes along the lateral Rapha, right to the, the, so as, um, it’s safe if it’s done properly, but to go through all the details in such a quick, uh, class, like this would be a little bit irresponsible cause this one can cause damage. Cause it’s a fairly deep technique and there’s some, some complications, first thing going to reflect some spasm. You just have to be aware of some things before doing it. Um, this could be though useful for the excess side, particularly. So it is one of the, to consider learning at some point. Um, but the next one is going to affect the psoas actually quite well, especially for the, the locked long inhibited. So as, um, this is a technique that Matt, uh, came up with years, uh, years and years ago and as used and taught and a lot of people have used it quite successfully for a long time.

And this is using, uh, gallbladder 27. So with gallbladder 27, you’re angling it slightly lateral. And with like a slow sort of in and out, um, green turtle searching for the point, uh, noodle technique until you get either one of the following sensations, either wrapping back around the diamond, uh, wrapping down towards the liver channel towards the groin or following the stomach channel down the side of the leg, effecting either the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve down the stomach channel, the Elio hypergraph gastric nerve going towards the groin or the ilioinguinal nerve wrapping around. Um, maybe I think I have that back rail hypogastric wrapping around the DMI ilioinguinal wrapping to the groin, but it’s affecting one of those nerves from the lumbar plexus then, which is going to reflexively turn back the, so as on kind of stimulate that same neurology, cause it’s also in an innervated by that lumbar plexus and turn that so as back on, so it doesn’t have to be a strong sensation, but you need one of those three sensations and that will turn kind of calm down.

We’ll lock short. So as, but this technique really shines for the lock long inhibited size. Right. And I think I was wasn’t sure timing if we’d have time to show a manual technique, but, um, I think we have a little bit of time. It’s not real long, so let’s go ahead and go into that because I think this will bring it together. This is from a blog post. We just came out in October. Um, so it’s not sports medicine acupuncture. If you’re looking at this, um, webinar later on, um, it’s the October post. You don’t need to know that you can just find it, do a search warrant or find it, but it’s called working with SOS. Um, and it goes into this technique a little bit of setup, but then into this technique a little bit more in depth, uh, this technique is also on our YouTube channel, this video you’re about to see so you can access it there.

And if you wanted to review it later, um, or of course it’ll be in the recording for this class. So quick set up and then we’ll look at the video I’m working on both sides at the same time. It’s a very integrated technique. I’m going to do a movement that simulates walking. And then as simply I could say, I’m pinning down the cell ads and just letting that kind of free up each side, but really I can do more than that. I can kind of nudge, you know, maybe so as it’s really narrow and pulled medial, I can nudge it more wider. I can kind of work on those medial fibers and nudge it out a little bit. I can nudge the lighter side more, even more medial and kind of even that out that way. So, um, depending on which fibers are short, I can kind of affect it.

I can feel when I’m in there, that one, so is going to be much more medial and that’s going to be probably the last kind of short side and the way it kind of changes the orientation of that. So as the, um, other thing is when the person presses their foot move into, you’re going to see in a second and lifts the other foot, there’s sort of a down on the foot, they press, there’s sort of a downward movement and an upward movement on the foot they lift. And you can feel if those are even, and I can nudge it down or nudge it up. So I can kind of look for an even movement of the psoas. But what I’m really doing is using the SOA as its puppet strings to sort of mobilize and get an easement, even rotational movement in the lumbar spine and all the way through the pelvis. So simply I can just hold it down and kind of free, or I can influence movement. I can kind of mobilize in various directions. I kind of say this in the video, but I don’t think I go quite in as much detail. So let’s go and look at the video.

So we’re going to do it. So as technique, this one is going to be, um, working on both sides left and right at the same time, it’s very much of an integrative technique because we’re trying to sort of get an even tone between the two sides, but also an even movement. So let’s look at the movement aspect. First, the patient is going to slowly lift one foot up. At least they’re going to lift the weight up. They might not actually lift the foot off the table, but they’re going to start to bring the weight off that foot while they push the weight into the other foot. It’s like a walking motion. There you go. You don’t have to actually lift the foot up. It’s more about the pushing, but than it is about the, um, lifting foot. So they don’t have to literally lift it off the table.

There you go. Now decrease that movement by about 60, 50%. There you go. Yeah. So it’s a small movement. So she’s starting to do a movement. That’s very much like walking. So when I’m in working on the SOA, as at the time, I’ll be able to feel the movement that’s happening associated with the so as I’ll be able to feel the tone of the size, but also the rotation aspect that’s happening in the spine and through that area to the sacrum. So go ahead and relax. I’m going to find the ASI S going to start following the slope of the iliacus muscle, and we’ll be able to, to get down to the depth of the solo ads. So it’s like, you’re kind of going into a, um, a slope going medial, which will take you right to the iliopsoas. I can move a little bit, medial moving, any visceral or neurovascular tissue off to the side.

And now I feel like I’m at the depth of the size before she does the movement. I want her to lift and lift your left foot. Relax. I can just fine tune where I want my pressure and lift the left foot again. Here we go. Good. Now I’m right. The psoas on the left. And I go ahead and lift the right side, right side already feels like there’s a little bit more tone. Okay. So now I’m on the sides on either side. So start slowly doing that movement. It doesn’t have to be a big movement. It’s just about encouraging an alternating contraction with the as, and I can do two things. I can soften the right side, but I can also follow that rotation and help try to get an even movement to where it kind of sinks more easily on the left side, right side feels like it doesn’t want to go, but I can follow it into that movement And just wait for the tissue to sort of normalize and feel a little bit more similar between the two sides. There we go. Now it’s starting to move, starting to soften a little bit too. Okay. Definitely want to work respectfully with SOS because it’s very sensitive and you want to take your time and not bully through the tissue.

You might also, with this one, find that you work a little bit more on the medial aspect of the psoas and one side and the lateral aspect on the other, which I’m doing on the right side. I’m hooking into that medial aspect and helping bring it lateral.


One more time. That’s good. Okay. Now I’m just going to hold and just have her just do that movement a little bit. I’m not going to do so much this time just to let the body function normalized a little bit. Okay.


All right. So that is ed. Here are some references. If you want to go back and look at any of, of those, um, just from the presentation, but I think that is, uh, the presentation for today. If you wanted to look at that blog post, it goes into that last technique a little bit more in depth. Um, and like I said, hopefully by new year, we’ll have a three hour class, so we’ll be able to go through a little bit more of the needling and more, um, comprehensive. But I think hopefully this is something you can use right from the get-go. So, uh, Lorne Brown is going to be here next week. So tune in for that and thanks again to the American Acupuncture Council for having us and look forward to seeing you guys next time.


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Cluneal Nerve Entrapments: An Often Overlooked Cause of Low Back Pain



We’re discussing actually some case studies in low back pain and how routinely it is so important to check for cluneal nerve entrapments that could be contributing to the patient’s low back pain, or even mimicking it being 100% of the low back pain.

Click here to download the transcript.

The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hello everyone. And thank you very much for coming to the American Acupuncture Council, our sports acupuncture webinar. We’d like to thank the American Acupuncture Council for sponsoring us with this. I’m here with my friend, colleague and partner in the sports medicine acupuncture certification program. Brian Lau.

Hi, nice to be here again,

Brian and I were discussing just the other day about the upcoming module two low back hip and groin webinar that we’re having in the anatomy pop patient cadaver lab. We’re discussing actually some case studies in low back pain and how routinely it is so important to check for cluneal nerve entrapments that could be contributing to the patient’s low back pain, or even mimicking it being 100% of the low back pain. For example, the superior cluneal nerve entrapment can mimic yarn syndrome pain at the iliac crest, or it could be maybe 30% or 40% of that con contribution to the pain. So something just to routinely check in your cases of low back pain to see if an attraction is contributing to part of it. So I think we could probably just start bouncing right into it. So, Brian, do you want to go ahead and take it away and we’ll just go to the next slide.

Yeah, sure. So, uh, we’ll go, um, pass the title slide here. So into the next slide, and we’re going to start by, um, just giving a quick overview of the clinical nerves. So you have three circles that you see there. Uh, we have the superior cluneal nerve, so that’s that upper circle, uh, that I’m going to cover quite a bit in just a moment. So just for now, yeah. There’s the highlight, uh, showing the superior cluneal nerves now there’s multiple ones. Um, and we’ll, we’ll talk about that in just a moment, but then below that, in that middle circle, we have the middle cluneal nerves. Uh, those mats going to go into a little bit more, we’re both going to discuss some, but, um, he’s going to take that primarily. We’re not going to be discussing the inferior cluneal nerves, that bottom circle, uh, in this particular webinar, just because, um, this one is a little bit more on causes of low back pain and fluid inferior cluneal nerves, or are important.

Maybe another day we’ll cover those, but we’ll focus more superior and middle. Uh, so these nerves are cutaneous. Nerves are sensory nerves. Um, they, uh, then that means they’re going to be primarily innervating the skin. So they’re traveling in the subcutaneous tissue and innovating the skin. Uh, so let’s go ahead and move on and we’ll go right into superior cluneal nerves. So the superior cluneal nerves, uh, come from, they stem from [inaudible] the dorsal ramus. They travel posterior, uh, as they get more inferior penetrate through fibrous tunnels within the thoracolumbar fascia, uh, then they branch over the iliac crest to become subcutaneous where they, uh, innovate the skin and the subcutaneous tissue. Uh, so these are a common site of entrapment. Uh, so this, uh, superior cluneal nerves can becoming trapped in the superficial layer of the thoracolumbar fascia and can contribute to low back and leg pain.

Uh, just the note is that’s a little bit of a shorthand. So when it says that they, they, uh, stem from L one through L three travel posterior, there’s a whole lot of territory, you know, they’re not traveling through empty space at that time period. They’re actually traveling through structures like the, so as they’re traveling sometimes through the quadratus lumborum, but usually between the psoas and the QL, they travel through the para spinal muscles. So there’s a lot of territory, uh, in that region that we might be able to come back to later on in the, in the webinar to differentiate between various types of injuries. Our focus though is going to be on that, uh, area where they Pierce the thoracolumbar fascia, just at the iliac crest region, and then drape over the iliac crest. So maybe more on the other, other areas later, but let’s go with the entrapment site that we’re talking about in this webinar. So that’s the superior cluneal nerves and their site of entrapment.

So in, in terms of, uh, entrapment, there’s a, these are all the superior cluneal nerves, but there’s a middle or medial. Uh, one of those though, you know, the one that’s most medial, uh, then there is a middle or intermediate and then a lateral, uh, superior cluneal nerve. So these are all superior cleaning, the nerves that we’re talking about now, but we’re looking at the multiple nerves. So the medial most the middle and the lateral one, and it’s usually the medial branch that is commonly affected, uh, in terms of, um, becoming and trapped. So they all can be contributors, but this, this medial branch is the one that we’re really, um, gonna focus on, uh, in terms of where it’s, it’s going to become trapped. So, uh, these traveled through a fibrous tunnel, uh, then they go over the iliac crest so they can get in trapped in that fibrous trunk tunnel of the thoracolumbar fascia, or they can get trapped between that and kind of adhering to the iliac crest. So there’s a lot of research out there. You can look into it if you want it to, to check more information about it, but this image really kind of highlights that fibrous tunnel that you can see that those medial branches of the superior cluneal nerves travel through. So it’s just a, just a sort of a fibrous tunnel through the thoracolumbar fascia. All right, so let’s move on next one.

So in a cadaver studies, the researchers found that this medial branch of the superior cluneal nerve was frequently adhered between the fibers tunnel and the thoracolumbar fascia and where the medial branch travels over the iliac crest located just lateral to the PSIS. So there’s a lot of studies on this. Um, why it’s studied in Western literature, uh, is twofold. Uh, they study it of course, because it’s an entrapment site and it can be a pain generator. It’s considered not super common of a pain generator, but it is a pain generator and it’s worth knowing about, uh, that’s one reason that it’s a study. The other reason that it’s studied is when they harvest bone from the iliac crest to use for, um, fusion for lumbar fusions, uh, they want to know, you know, it’s really important that they know where these, uh, cluneal nerves are, so that they don’t damage the cluneal nerves in the process of process of harvesting bone from the iliac crest.

So because of that, there’s a lot of really good research that that kind of gives an average of where these cluneal nerves exit, um, both, you know, the, the medial ones, the intermediate and the lateral ones. So they have it all charted out on various different cadaver studies, measured from the PSIS are measured from the midline. And if we look at this, um, medial branch of the superior cluneal nerve, it’s approximately in the region of Yan, you know, of course they’re measuring it from different criteria. They’re usually usually measuring in millimeters, but the measurement kind of comes to about that same measurement, uh, as Yan, which is three and a half sun from the lower border of L four, just over the iliac crest. So this being a common site of entrapment means that it’s also a contributing factor, or sometimes the factor for Yan syndrome, which is pain at this particular region.

Um, again, we can come back and differentiate this type of pain that’s caused from an entrapment of the superior cluneal nerve versus other things that are in this region. Like the Leo Castelli’s lumborum, which attaches to the iliac crest in that region, or deeper to that, the quadratus lumborum, which attaches to the iliac crest in that region. So being able to differentiate what’s the, the pain generator is important, but in that process of determining what’s the pain generator, we want to make sure that we take into consideration the, uh, the superior cluneal nerves. So those cause pain Ayanna, that pain might radiate down into the buttock region, and you could follow those nerves and see how they drape over the glute medius. And even over the glute Maximus. Matt, do you want to add anything to that kind of just jumped in and covering it, but

That was great. Yeah, that was really good. So, uh, just to reiterate the, the, on, we just published a, an article as well on the sports medicine acupuncture website, and it’s talking about the superior superior cluneal nerve entrapment at the extra point Yon, and also in the Yon region, just something to, for practitioners to consider that there is a cadaver dissection that we did. And we were able to find one of the superior cluneal nerves, which is a difficult dissection to tease out these cutaneous nerves. Um, it’s not just us, that it’s actually in some of the articles, um, that are in the references. Um, they talk about the difficulty of actually trying to tease them out and try to be able to dissect them, to see if they are entrapped or not. Um, Yon syndrome that we call it is also in Western science called iliac crest syndrome is basically the, um, the strain of the soft tissues within that area like Brian was talking about, could be the thoracolumbar fashion, the illiocostalis or the thoracolumbar fascia and the quadratus lumborum.

And this has been treated for thousands of years by acupuncturist, but yet the entrapment side also could be a contributing factor to that. So the patient is complaining of that low back pain. They may also talk about a mild parasthesia you’ll have to dig that out of them. Most people are not going to consider that as a chief complaint. Um, it’s just more of the low back pain in that Yon region. So the entrapment side is something definitely to assess which we’re going to be talking about. The very simple assessment coming up in just a little bit, Brian, should I jump into the next entrapment? Uh, yeah. Yeah.

There’s some other things that we can come back to later on. That’ll be more differentiation. Um, but, uh, just to highlight one real quickly, what you said about why these are so difficult to dissect is that they live in the, at least the process that we’re the part of them that we’re looking for, uh, in terms of where they drape over the iliac crest, those live in the adipose tissue, and you know, this dissection, I mean, this, uh, this image from Netter, they they’re so clear looking. It’s so easy to see, but in dissection and it all looks alike, it’s all the same color. These are little over a millimeter in diameter, so they’re super thin. And just finding them in that adipose can be very challenging and take time to look for. But, um, one highlight from the video that Matt referenced on the blog, um, that in the processing of this video, it’s funny how you listen to things over and over, and you never noticed something. I just noticed today, actually, when I was listening to it, that I say superficial cluneal nerve over and over again, instead of superior cluneal nerve. Um, so, uh, if you listened to that video, if you go to the blog post and you look at that, that dissection video, don’t be confused. It is superficial because we’re looking at it, look, our we’re highlighting and showing it where it would be in the adipose tissue. But I meant to say superior cluneal nerve and not superficial clinical.

Yeah, that’s good. Brian, I think, I think it’s important for people to understand that this is really quite superficial. So if we have the low back, you’ve got the skin, then you’ve got your layer of your subcutaneous tissue. Then it’s just underneath that. So people have been treating the superior and middle cluneal nerve entrapment for a long, long time with techniques with cupping. And guash on with acupuncture. All of those actually have a strong effect on this superficial tissue, which we’ll talk little bit more about Sue

And Matt. It sounds like your chickens are laying eggs in case people are wondering.

Yeah. They just, they, they, they love to interrupt these webinars. They do. All right. I was wondering if you could hear it. All right. So let’s go to the next slide. Thank you. All right. So the middle cluneal nerves, so let’s separate, let’s differentiate this from what Brian was just talking about. The superior cluneal nerves are further broken down to medial, intermediate and lateral. You can see those three nerves as the superior, right? That’s not circled in this particular image. So now, now we’re going to be talking about the middle cluneal nerves that are branches from the [inaudible] dorsal. Ramiah now like the superior cluneal nerves. They also exit through the thoracolumbar fascia. And then the cutaneous area for them to innovate is going to be the lower part of the PSIS medial, buttock and OXA also the coccsyx region. So a patient may be complaining of pain in that area. It could, it could be planning of pain in the SSI joint that at first glance, you’re thinking that it could be a sake really actually problem. Um, but then you further differentiate that possibly the middle cluneal nerves are part of this. And we’ll talk about that. And just a little bit, when we get into our assessment and treatment, let’s just break down the anatomy of it for, for us right now. So let’s go ahead and go to the next slide.

So anatomically here’s an image from Grey’s anatomy, the course of the middle cluneal nerve stems from the sacral nerve roots. So we talked about S one through S3, then it travels posteriorly either under or through the long posterior sacroiliac ligament. Now there’s a number of different references for you guys to be able to check out and through the different anatomy from human to human, the course of the medial cluneal nerve, um, does vary. So sometimes it’s going to be underneath this long posterior sacral ligament, and other times it goes through it. And other times it goes above it with patients that have had the medial cluneal nerve entrapment with the surgeons. What they’re, what they’re saying. And their research is that when the long posterior sacral ligament becomes two tense in certain conditions, it will entrap the medial corneal nerve as it exits from the [inaudible] underneath that ligament, or in some humans, it’ll actually go through that ligament.

So that would be the entrapment site in the ligamentous tissue. However, like we saw in the slide before we saw that, that medial cluneal nerve, as it exits deep in this ligament and then comes superficial cause it’s a cutaneous nerve and it goes through thoracolumbar fascia. So in one of the articles that are in the references, they actually talk about that as being one of the entrapment sites it’s strong and Divya in 1957, they actually talk about how difficult it was to go to find the medial corneal nerves, but they felt that the entrapment side was through that thoracolumbar fascia. And then with further research, I think a decade later is when they actually started seeing the possible trap this side of the long posterior sacral ligament. So there’s two and Travis’ sites for us to be able to consider with the middle cluneal nerves that can mimic or contribute to pain in the SIB joint region. So let’s remember that one.

Hey Matt, can I add something to this, uh, later on, uh, when we talk a little bit more about treatment, it’s worth that noticing the connection between the, um, long posterior sacral, uh, sacroiliac ligament and the sacred tuberous, like a mint, cause that’s all kind of one chain of, of continuous tissue. So the sacred tuberous ligament ligament goes from the issue of tuberosity on the kind of bottom of that image as starting right there and then travels up at an angle towards the sacrum. Um, so we might come back and mention that later. So just, this is a good image to see that. All right, thank you. Um, next slide,

We talked about the neuro travels through the superficial fibers and exits a slightly lateral to you be 32 and 34. So that would be our landmarks. So the entrapment site couldn’t be through that long posterior sacral ligament. That’ll be deep to that region and also through the thoracolumbar fascia as a possibility. All right. So in this very interesting study from, uh, Kono and atta, the middle cluneal nerve is associated with pain involving lower back and buttocks. It can mimic sake, really act joint pain. It creates sciatica likes sensations, which is really quite fascinating. Now, according to our research, the trapping of the middle cluneal nerves is underdiagnosed cause of low back and or lakes symptoms. And if you refer to this research, uh, what they found was in 13% of the cadavers that they dissected, they found that the, uh, middle, middle cluneal nerve was adhered and trapped underneath the long poster sacral ligament.

In fact, they teased out the middle corneal nerves in the middle colonial nerves. If we look at this pin had normal density on one side normal density on the other side, when the attract it was, it was really, really very, very thin. So that patient most likely had low back pain, which was an attribute from the middle cluneal nerve as fascinating. So 13% of the population. So think about how many people are coming into your office with low back pain, like said it’s a good routine thing to check for superior cranial, nerve entrapment, and middle cluneal nerve entrapment on this image. You’ll see, there’s an a, and then there’s a B. And what they did is they measured from the lower border of the PSIS and the posterior, um, the long posterior sacral ligament, which is a mouthful to say where approximately where that attracted is from the lower border of the PSIS. And on average, it was about one centimeter. It was about one centimeter, so that you can see why that entrapment would mimic sacroiliac joint pain because you’re right next door to the lower aspect of the sacroiliac joint. [inaudible]

All right. So Brian, we’ll go ahead and jump into this one together. I’ll start it off. So the Cardinal symptom of chronic low back pain with, or without legs symptoms, you guys, so this remember that it doesn’t always have to be a chief complaint of parasthesia, but it’s a good thing to ask if somebody talks about a little bit of numbness or tingling and they may not even be aware of it because it can be so subtle, um, into the butt off region or maybe down the leg. I’ve of course, if it’s going down the leg, we have to rule out a disc problem with the many different nerve tension test for sciatica. Um, common aggravating activities are going to be walking rising from sitting, standing flection and extension. So a lot of functional examinations are going to be important with this. Uh, patients often find that pushing above the iliac crest with their hand relieves symptoms of the superior cluneal entrapment. So that kind of body language you want to watch for, you can ask the person if they find that if they put pressure on their low back and they push down a little bit, if that helps, that would be a sign as a possible nerve entrapment.

Yeah. They’re kind of decompressing it themselves, right? Yeah,

Exactly, exactly. They’re decompressing and try to open up the, uh, Travis’ side. I mean, people can have this for years because it may be just low back pain of a two or a three, and then sometimes it gets really bad to a four or five. And how many people do you know that just don’t get treated with their low back pain thinking that it’s just an aging thing. So this is something for us to consider when that patient comes in. They’ve had it for chronic low back pain for years, definitely check for these nerve Travis’ sites. In addition to the other things that could be occurring, it could be sacroiliac joint problem. It could end up being a Yon syndrome where there’s a strain within that soft tissues. And we’ll talk about that a little bit more when we get into posture, which I think is in a few more slides, Brian, you want to take it from here?

Let me just, uh, dimension the, uh, leg pain aspects. And, and you can tell me if I’m correct on this map. And my understanding with that, first of all, the cluneal nerves, if you go back to those images, do travel through the gluteal region. Uh, they’re superficial at that point, but they’re traveling in the adipose to, in route to the skin, uh, over glute max glute medius, depending on which, uh, which ones we’re looking at. Um, but the leg symptoms, uh, from my understanding, I think is more of a sensitization and, and a common innervation for other nerves that are traveling peripheral nerves that are traveling down to the legs. So if it’s very, um, severe entrapment, then that can start to irritate the other, other structures in that same innovation zone and, and cause pain in the legs. That’s my understanding of it. Does that match, match your, your, um, understanding of that, the leg symptom, uh, component of it?

Yeah. Cause it makes sense. I mean, it shares the same sciatic nerve distribution of being L four down to S3. Yeah.

Yeah. And especially the middle cluneal nerves, which have a lot of, uh, innovation of the legs. Yeah. So, um, looking at, uh, uh, pelvic imbalances, if there’s an elevated ilium, uh, anterior tilt, uh, is, is often associated too with it because of the shortening that can happen in the thoracolumbar fascia with that, of course a posterior tilt is going to kind of overstretch that, um, that same structure. So it wouldn’t be unheard of to have a posterior tilt of the pelvis, but those are the things to really note and notice with, um, with, uh, uh, cluneal nerve entrapment, regardless if we’re talking about the superior or the middle colonial nerves, just because those, uh, postural imbalances and we’ll look at an image for this to kind of highlight it. Those are gonna put extra tension on, on the ligaments, the, the, uh, posterior, uh, sacred iliac ligament that we’re talking about, the long posterior sacral ligament, um, but also the thoracolumbar fascia and how that tension patterns are then going to relate to a propensity to entrap the nerve.

So when we get to an image on that, we can highlight some of those aspects. Uh, as we both mentioned, this could be the cause, you know, this could be what, uh, is the, the, the main pain generator for a patient. Um, it could be like number one, but you know, it also can be just a component of a series of things that are kind of coalescing in the same area, and that can cause pain. So it doesn’t have to be an all or none type of type of thing. Like Matt mentioned, I think 20 or 30% of it might be coming from the clinical nerve irritation and entrapment. So it’s worth checking for, uh, do you want to talk about assessment mat

With it? I think the next slide we can jump into and kind of get into a little bit more. Yeah, there we go.

Yeah. So here we have that image of somebody with an elevated ilium. So you can look at and see that the person has an elevation on the left. So sometimes we call it a left, elevated ilium. Sometimes we refer to that as a right tilt of the pelvis because the whole pelvic structure is tilting to the right. The top of it’s kind of pointing to the right, but the left side is high. And that’s the main thing to notice. So with that, there’s going to be a lot of shortening and things like the quadratus lumborum iliacus Talis lumborum, those are all, uh, kind of intimately associated with the thoracolumbar fascia. Um, so that’s gonna, uh, tend to, uh, correlate with more of a propensity for entrapment of the, um, cluneal nerves. I would tend to see it more often, see it on the side of the elevation, but again, just those changes are going to change the tension patterns on both sides. Really. So the fact that that, that the tension patterns are changed and disrupting the, uh, the, uh, uh, normal sort of, uh, even balance, uh, in the pelvic and low back region that, that elevation of the Lem could really be a big factor for, for people. Um, of course it’s not the only one.

Yeah. So at the takeaway with this, I believe is to make sure that you are addressing the pelvic imbalances, which will then help with the soft tissue imbalances that are in trapping the cluneal nerves, as well as causing a sick really act joint problems or Yon syndrome, or the other many other causes of low back pain, something of which that we spent a heck of a lot of time in module, two, trying to be able to teach people how to be able to balance these. Because when you think about it, you want to balance that dantien your center of gravity. And then by balancing that pelvic curdle that changes the balance above, and it changes the balance. Yeah.

Now this particular patient, uh, I can’t tell looking at them, especially from the back, uh, if there’s an anterior or posterior tilt, um, sometimes visually you can see that it’s a little easier to get in and palpate, uh, to, to, um, feel landmarks like the PSA. I S N a S I S and look, we have a particular protocol we teach to measure that that’s a little bit more accurate than just glancing. Same with pelvic rotation. That’s a somewhat of a visual assessment, but it’s all, it’s really more of a palpatory assessment, but this particular model, you can definitely see the elevation of the Lem. Cool.

All right. So then now the second to last bullet, did we cover? Yes. So, so the third to last bullet where it says cluneal nerve and trauma can be a contributing factor along with other causes of low back and leg pain. Absolutely. So when you’re diagnosing what is causing that person’s low back and leg pain simply, and this is the assessment. One of the assessments is simply taking your index finger or your middle finger, and just tap firmly, firmly, right over the area of Jalya where the superior cluneal nerves could be in tract. It’s like a tunnel sign. Alright, just tap very thoroughly all around that region, even onto the PSIS, where the traffic could happen, then move down level with you be 32 and you’d be 34, do the same type of tapping. What you’re looking for is the patient have any pain with that is a reproducing, the pain that they’re complaining about, is it reproducing any of the parasthesia that they know about, or maybe they don’t about it? Like if you’re, if you are tapping on there and it’s causing that, parasthesia consider that the nerves are entrapped and they are contributing to part of the clinical picture here. Brian was anything.

Yeah. Even before that, you might not have gotten to the point where you, you think about doing a tunnel sign there, but you’re just palpating. You’re kind of going through the process of figuring out where the cause of the low back pain is and trying to diagnose what the, what the condition is. And you go to palpate, maybe you think it’s an SSI joint, um, uh, it’s SSI, joint pain, and you go to palpate that PSIS region. And even with superficial pressure, you know, you barely, you’re definitely not pressing past the subcutaneous tissue into the deeper muscular structures, but when you start getting that superficial, uh, pain, that’s a little bit more pain than you’d expect at such a superficial level. That’s if I haven’t already been considering cluneal nerve entrapment, that’s a, that’s a point at which I’m definitely starting to think about it because it’s, uh, it’s, they’re, they’re cutaneous nerves. So you don’t have to press particularly hard to elicit pain if they’re irritated and then going from there to the tapping for a Tinel sign might be a consideration that’s, especially the case with the superior ones, you know, with the, the middle ones, the, the entrapment can be a little deeper if it’s at that, uh, ligaments. So that may or may not be quite the case, but if it’s irritated, uh, uh, at a periphery from that entrapment site, you still might get that elicit that, uh, very superficial pain.

All right. Should we go into a couple of needle techniques we could use? Yeah. So these are some images from the sports medicine acupuncture textbook on the left-hand side, you’ll see four arrows. Those are different vectors angles that we’ll use to palpate to affect the, um, iliac joint region. So the needle is going to actually be going into ligamentous tissue and the deep [inaudible], but let’s talk about the arrow that’s on the very bottom. Now that particular direction there, if you remember that direction is going to be very, very close to where the entrapment site of the middle cluneal nerve in the long post of your sacral ligament would be. So you could take your finger underneath that. PSIS approximately one centimeter go directly anterior, and then push upward toward that PSIS but deep angle it toward the sacroiliac joint. Now that’s really very, very tender and maybe even causes some parasthesia again.

Then you could be able to consider an entrapment site, and that would be a needle angle that we could choose. So going in with a three inch needle, or maybe a two-inch needle going into that Oscher point that we just diagnosed through palpation stimulating. Now, what you can do as well is to rotate the tissue around the needle. So turn the needle 180 degrees, 300 6720 degrees in one direction, as long as the patient’s. Okay. And then gently just pull up to loosen up that tissue with the idea, the intention of opening the area of the entrapment site. Of course, always to patient comfort. Uh, patients usually really liked that area because a deep, deep massage really doesn’t get to it, but that acupuncture needle can get to that region. So that’s one needle technique that you can use, but remember, that’s just one spot and this area is associated with the urinary bladder primary channel, and also the sinew channel.

So remember to link points that will address this region. So your adjacent and your distal points as well. Now you’ve got the images on the middle here on this slide and also in the lower right. That’s going to be looking at Yon. So the finger, you can see the middle fingers pointing right toward where that superior cluneal nerve can be entrapped. So that’s really quite tender. You can kneel that with your three inch needle. Um, the lower right-hand side is going to be kneeling in that level. And then as we discussed in the smack program, and this was Brian’s finding that this particular level is going to be more about the urinary bladder, send your channel, and if it would happen to be deeper, it’d be more about deliver channel Brian. You want to take it away? Uh,

Yeah. So this is another one that that needle technique by itself, uh, is great. And, um, I think what Matt was alluding to was if we’re at superficial, uh, pressing into Yon, we might, we’d be pressing into the iliacus Dallas, uh, muscle, which is also a potential, uh, site of pain in and of itself. But, uh, that could be putting excess tension into the thoracolumbar fascia. Um, and that would be more online with this new channel associated with the urinary bladder. So we might link it with, I don’t know, biceps, remoras, motor point, maybe beat channel points. We could try distal points and then go back and palpate that area and see if it reduces pain. If we go a little bit lateral sink in and go deep back to that same point. And we were at the quadratus lumborum attachment quadratus lumborum is on the myofascial plane that is continuous with the iliacus and into the abductors.

So it’s part of the liver send your channel. Uh, liver five would be my go-to point for that, but again, you can try different points and see if, uh, if that helps reduce pain at that site. Um, those, those are, those could potentially be vectors for the muscle pain, but those would also be associated with tension in that region. Um, when I, when I think that there’s, um, cluneal nerve entrapment, sometimes I do one vector like that, uh, just as being shown and I’ll do another vector above and trying to actually touch the iliac crest, kind of like two needles meeting at the same point and do it just what Matt mentioned with the middle Glendale nerve, where I’ll, I’ll, I’ll twist the needle to comfort to get the needle stuck purposely. You know, if you let it sit for awhile, it’ll, it’ll be able to come out, but you want to be able to get it a little bit, uh, wrapped around the tissue so that I can pull both of those needles in opposite directions. You know, one superior the other lateral to help decompress and open that area up. Maybe even a couple needles in, in that, uh, that region might be useful that way, but that would be by patient comfort. And you have to keep in communication with your patient.

Chinese needles are usually the best for that. Some of the, um, the Japanese or Korean Neil’s needles that are coded doesn’t wrap the tissue as well. So, um, our favorite needles for that is watchtowers. And you get the, watch us from LASA RMS. That’s good. Um, we’re about to show you. We’ll be,

Uh, Matt, since I let’s go back just for a second, since we’re mentioning, we both mentioned that, uh, usually you let the needle sit for 10 minutes or however long you’re going to have the treatment. They come right out after that time, but it’s always good to note which way you’re rotating the needle in case there is an issue and you have to D rotate it. Do you want to remember, oh, I did a clockwise. I needed to D rotate a counter-clockwise. So just, uh, to make a note of that is, is useful.

One more thing for me now is that after that needle technique, now this is not just an allopathic needle technique. This is going to be a needle technique for decompressing, that nerve entrapment in the region that you leave with that we’ll be communicating with all of the rest of the needles that you’re using during that treatment. So just to be clear, we’re not going in and doing the different needle techniques and then taking the needles out. That’s actually part of the treatment it’s going to be communicating with the channel systems. Just want to make sure that that was clear, uh, before we go to the next one. So we’re going to have two videos right now. These are some myofascial release techniques that are really very useful to use after the needle techniques. These techniques are going to be taught in the assessment of treatment of the channel sinews module two coming up in September. So these are just two of the, uh, mini techniques that we’re going to be teaching in that weekend class. Um, very useful for, uh, low back pain. And also in particular, these nerve entrapments. Brian, can we just go for it? Yeah, sure.

So this is a very simple technique just to spread and, and descend the tissue or the erector spinae as part of the urinary bladder sinew channel. A couple of considerations though, is as we’re spreading down the urinary bladder line, when we get to the iliac crest, we have a couple options. If the patient has an elevated ilium, may hike your Liam up. We might work a long, the iliac crest to be able to descend that tissue, but also to help, uh, push the helium down. In addition to that, a posterior tilt moving from medial to lateral will help sort of put the tissue back into a place. That’ll take them into an anterior tilt. So either posterior tilt or ilium elevation, I can take that tissue then to, from a medial to lateral position, they have an anterior tilt. I might gently come over the ilium, just being sure not to push into the bone and then descend down through the fascia over the sacrum. We’re going to find a good starting place somewhere around the inferior angle of the scapula. I want to be careful not to dig my elbow into the spine, but I’m going to be pretty close to the Lima, but the bulk of the pressure is going to be along the urinary bladder line sink in, and then slowly spreading downward [inaudible]

Patient movement. They can just gently take a nice deep breath and breathe in to the pressure

And exhale [inaudible].

And again, when I get closer to the OEM, that’s when I need to make a decision based on my assessment to either spread along the top of the iliac crest, going medial to lateral or in this case, I think I’m going to be careful not to dig my elbow into the bone. And I’m just going to continue downward to take the pelvis or influence the pelvis into a posterior tilt. Yeah. I can have the patients slowly talk to the pelvis under and relax one more time and track the glitch. Just try to slowly, just a little bit tuck under. Yeah, there you go. And that feels like a good place to exit.

Okay. It’s a very nice technique, especially after Neely needling in that area and helps reduce any kind of needle soreness. And then we have another one coming up, which is in particular really great for the sacrum and middle cluneal nerve. Brian, do I say anything before we jump into it? Nope. I

Think it’s about to start anyways. Or maybe that’s that play? Yeah, I think the video will describe it pretty well.

So it will be well working on the attachments of the glute Maximus, especially the sacral attachments and just that spreading and moving kind of softening the attachments along the sacrum. Very nice technique. Uh, we can adapt the technique to somebody who has a posterior and anterior tilt. This model. We have an anterior tilt, but I’m an exaggerate. The anterior tilt. You can imagine with that, that it’s going to be much more effective if I move that tissue away from the sacrum. Yes. But also downward to help encourage more. Posteriority tip the pelvis. Conversely, if somebody has posterior telecon tuck your pelvis under. Yeah. And in that case, you know, if you were working in that same direction, it’s going to encourage them more into a posterior tilt in the RDR. So it would make more sense to come from a different angle and help lift the tissue to help encourage more anteriority to the pelvis.

So we can adapt that general direction. But in both cases, you’re moving the tissue away from the sacrum, either away and down kind of lateral and down or lateral and up. So we’ll start with lateral and downward. I’m going to set a little bit out at the edge of the table. My side is towards her, so I can gently let my body sink into the tissue, using the elbow. Also a little bit of the proximal, although I’m going to go right to the sacral attachments, think perpendicular and then spread slightly lateral just to distract the tissue away from the sacrum, an inferior. I might have the patient gently and slowly tuck the pelvis under just the small movements, adequate good and relax, move slightly downward, get another area of the tissue sink in, talk under and move. That movement that you’re doing is going to help them talk the pelvis under relax [inaudible] and slowly, gently talk under


So in some instances you might, especially with an anterior tilt, you might add to the technique I put in the patient into sort of a crawl position. And you can see in this position, that’s going to encourage even more of a posterior tilt of the pelvis. So I can do similar technique here. Again, similar technique with them in this position. And the position itself is going to encourage more of a posterior tilt


And I might hold a little longer in this particular position.


Okay. That was great. So with that crawl position, you could see that the long posterior sacral ligament will then be slackened because the attachment sites were brought together closer. The PSIS went into a posterior tilt and his Brian’s elbow was right there. Pretty much level with S two S3 S four region. So what a great technique for sacred iliac joint problems, as well as if you are suspecting any kind of, of middle cluneal nerve entrapment, Brian, anything you want to say before we do our conclusions?

No, I think, uh, I think we’re, we’re good. Um, just the fall assessment really to differentiate what’s causing the pain. Is this a contributor or is this really a sacred iliac joint problem or is this a facet joint problem? Um, thoracolumbar junction syndrome for me is one that’s really tricky to differentiate between just because of those nerves can also be involved in thoracolumbar junction syndrome, but they’re involved, uh, not as they exit the thoracolumbar fascia, but they’re involved, uh, in route to, to that region. So those are, those are a little trickier to differentiate, but looking at all, differentiation for all of those really ruled out which one is, or, you know, figure out which one is really the pain generator is important.

Yeah. A thorough differential diagnosis. Yeah. With through sports medicine assessment, and also through TCM, which is something that we do in sports medicine, acupuncture certification program. So you guys, if you like our education, please come join us at www.sportsmedicineacupuncture.com. You can also reach out to Patricia, which is, uh, through email AQI sport info@gmail.com. Um, I believe that’s going to be wrapping it up for us. You guys thank you so much for staying the extra time. I know that these are only supposed to be a half an hour, so thanks for the extra time and also come back next week. Cause we have Chen Yen coming in. Who’s going to be discussing a lot of great things. So, uh, Brian, it’s always a pleasure. Thank you so much. We want to thank the American Acupuncture Council for having us. Thanks for much you guys. And we’ll see you again soon. Yeah. Have a great day, everyone. All right. Bye

Callison-LauHD07072021 Thumb

Motor Points and Trigger Points: A Compare and Contrast Discussion



We want to talk about the compare and contrast of what is a motor point, what is a trigger point, which is a very, very common question and also how to use them clinically.

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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hello everyone. Thank you very much for attending our Sports Acupuncture Webinars sponsored by the American Acupuncture Council. My name is Matt Callison. I’m here with my colleague and good friend,

Brian Lau. So

Last month we had Josh Lerner as a guest. I was not able to make it last month, but Brian and Josh talked about trigger points quite a bit, and the pathophysiology and also different clinical uses. We wanted to this month to discuss and build upon last months, a narrative. We want to talk about the compare and contrast of what is a motor point, what is a trigger point, which is a very, very common question and also how to use them clinically. So before we actually start going into, let me talk about Josh a little bit here on the reason why we have him is he’s like Brian, who is, uh, not only just an excellent clinician, but a true academic. So that’s a pretty rare combination to have, uh, Josh graduated from the north west Institute of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in 2001. And he’s currently on faculty of the Seattle Institute of east Asian medicine, or he’s teaching orthopedic medicine trigger point theory, muscle-skeletal amp and also points and channels. Now he’s studied with Tom Bizzio and Frank Butler for quite a while. Starting in 2006, he also started taking trigger point release, uh, acupuncture trigger point release in 2007, and started dry needling classes in 2016, which he has become certified in dry needling in 2019. Now being an overachiever that Josh is, he also took the smack program at the same time and graduated from the sports medicine acupuncture certification program in 2017. So Josh is welcome. Thank you very much for coming Josh and help us out with this podcast webinar. Really appreciate it.

Thanks for having so you appreciate being asked back for this.

Yeah, absolutely. Well fun. All right. So we only have 30 minutes, so let’s jump right into what is the motor point? Well, you didn’t get into the trigger point, then start talking a little bit about case studies and how to be able to use them. Uh, first things first, the motor point when I first started studying them, this would be before I was an acupuncturist when I was going in and, uh, physical education and athletic training school at San Diego state university. I graduated from SDSU in 1986. Now in the training room, we were taught to use one inch by one inch or two inch by two inch could be even four inch by four inch electrical pads to place them over the central aspect of the muscle in order to influence the muscle belly or the motor point region. Now, it was common to be able to use these pads on agonist and antagonist muscles, for example, hamstrings and quadriceps, or even on hamstrings and then to a distal tendon or a proximal tendon in order to influence the electrical energy of that particular muscle.

Now, when I became an acupuncturist graduating from Pacific college Oriental medicine, which is now called Pacific college of health sciences, graduated from Pacific college in 1992, always was curious about the motor point and wondered as an acupuncturist. What would it be like to take a highly conductive electrical material, a stainless steel needle, and put it into this region as defined as having the lowest resistance to electrical conductivity. So therefore we, you have a region that has the lowest resistance to electrical electrical conductivity. That means that there is a enormous amount of cheap potential to manipulate. Now, of course, an acupuncture needle is much thinner than a one by one or a two by two pad. So therefore I started my journey and researching motor points. Where are they located at that time? Nobody was really talking about motor points, trigger points was the big thing.

Um, it was still under a lot of influence of Janet Chevelles and Dr. Simon’s enormous work and trigger point theory and their books as well. Um, and at that time, I, like I was saying, motor points really weren’t discussed very much. They were mentioned in the Shanghai text of acupuncture, which is an interesting read with that. And then going online and trying to find who was actually doing acupuncture on motor points, um, was Dr. Chan Gunn. Now he was up in Canada and he was also researching on motor points, but she’s got some incredible research if you guys wanted to go and check that out on Google scholar, um, being more of the dry dealer, um, he was really staying quite a bit away from traditional Chinese medicine and taking it more toward the dry needling aspect of it. And so we’ll finish that story at another time.

So what I found was taking acupuncture to the Motorpoint region was changing range of motion, changing muscle strength, decreasing pain. And this was really very, very exciting. Um, but trying to find where those motor points are at that time was very difficult because there really weren’t that many maps available. It was more of a line drawing with just like a black dot on it. So gathering a number of different research articles. I think it was in the forties or fifties, and today it’s well over 300 research articles that I have on motor points in their locations. But back then, there wasn’t very much so collecting that information and then also electrocuting a triathlete friend of mine with the surface surface electrode, trying to find exactly where these motor points are. Then I would map them and then locate them according to bony landmarks and acupuncture points for the acupuncturist.

Now this was way back in the early 1990s. And that was when the motor point manual came out, which I even have a copy of that anymore, but also the motor point chart came out and I’ll since then, it’s also has been updated the motor point chart. And this just came out in 2019. The original came out in the year 2000. Also some of the work that I was doing back then in the year 2000, I actually collected a whole lot of notes and started writing quite a bit and then published this treatment of orthopedic disorders manual, which came out, like I said, in the year 2000 or actually 1998, it came out and it’s been used at all three Pacific college campuses since then now in 2007, then my research came out and published the motor point index in 2007. So long story short, my work has been out there for a long, long time and has actually influenced quite a few people over the years.

Um, this has a lot of accountability and a lot of responsibility to it because even as today, Motorpoint locations have changed a little bit. The definition of the motor point has changed. Um, motor points. Now over these last 15 years are talked a lot about you’ll see research articles all over the place. It has infiltrated our field pulled a lot from the work that I have created, but then also what other people are also doing with motor points. So it’s, it’s something that is needing some discussion about what is a trigger point and what is a motor point. Now, the definition of the motor point in the 1940s, fifties, and sixties was basically an umbrella term for where the motor nerve inserts into the muscle belly and where the motor nerve inserts at the intramuscular junction, the neuromuscular junction. So both of those locations, which can actually be far away from one another in a muscle was the umbrella term called motor point.

Now recently, I would say within the last five to seven years, you start to see articles talking about motor entry points. And this is actually a better way of describing where my work has actually been taken is I’ve been looking for the motor point where it goes actually into the muscle belly itself. And the reason why is because it has the largest diameter of the motor nerve, then going into that motor point and has the lowest resistance to electrical conductivity, I’m taking that acupuncture needle and inserting it into that spot is where we can actually change quite a few things within that muscle, not only within the muscle itself, but also how the central nervous system views what’s happening within that muscle.

So the interesting, interesting thing about this is with motor points, like I said, that’s more of an umbrella term for what’s now being clearly defined as a motor entry point or where the motor nerve inserts into the neuromuscular junction would be the intermuscular motor point. So again, as the motor nerve comes in and inserts into the muscle itself has the largest diameter that goes into the motor into the muscle. Then it usually will bifurcate and go into a proximal part of the tissue. And also the distal part of the tissue sometimes close within an inch sometimes far away, six to eight inches, depending on the length of the muscle. So these collateral branches from the motor nerve travel within the muscle tissue and then insert into the actual muscle itself back can be called the intramuscular motor point. So we have motor entry points. We have intermuscular motor points, VM umbrella term would be motor points.

So I hopefully that actually helps. Um, you don’t really see motor entry point too much discussed in our field, but I’m sure it will start to spread over this next five or 10 years. Just, just because that gives us a little bit more clear definition of what exactly we’re trying to be able to treat. Now, the motor entry point is where the green triangles are on the sports medicine, acupuncture textbook, and also on the motor point chart, that’s where the motor entry point is located. Okay. So then now the intramuscular motor points themselves, um, those can actually be turning into trigger points with Josh and Brian and I are going to go ahead and discuss that in just a little bit or a trigger point can also develop, uh, at the location of the motor entry point. So from here, why don’t we now start to compare and contrast with the trigger point? Josh, do you want to take it away or Brian, do you want to add anything?

Yeah, I’ll, uh, I’ll step in here. And so Matt and I have had lots and Brian, Matt and Brian, and I have all had lots of discussions about, um, comparing and contrasting, um, trigger point phenomenon with motor points. And so there are a few different, um, dimensions within which we can kind of talk about these both contrasting differences and comparing areas that are similar. So one of the things to keep in mind, especially once we start talking a little bit more clinically, is that as helpful as it is to really talk about the, the differences between ideas about motor points versus trigger points to a large degree, especially clinically there’s a huge amount of overlap. And it’s a, if you really like Venn diagrams, there’s like a big circle about trigger point phenomenon and a big circle about Motorpoint phenomenon. There’s a huge gray area of overlap between the two of them.

So I’m going to try and keep that in mind as I’m discussing this, but it might sound at times like I’m being a little bit arbitrarily black and white about differences between them when that’s really not the case. So, um, one of the, one of the areas of contrast is that the motor points are basically a, a normal physiological phenomenon. Everybody has motor points. It’s just how the body works. Whereas trigger points are very specifically a pathological phenomenon. I’m not going to talk too much about the details about trigger point physiology, Brian and I spent an hour actually last time talking about a lot of that stuff. And so if you want to brush up on that, you can kind of go watch the previous podcast that Brian and I did. I think there are also going to be some links to some other discussions that Brian and I and a few others have had about trigger point stuff.

So you can refer back to that. Um, so that’s the first contrast is just normal physiology versus a pathological condition, right? Trigger points. Are they form due to some kind of muscle damage, right there, a small contracture in a muscle fiber that is the response to either like an excessive eccentric load or, uh, a low level contraction that goes on a long time and kind of wears out the fiber. Uh, another, another type of contrast between them is that motor points in a lot of ways are more like acupuncture points in that not only everybody has them, but the, the locations tend to be somewhat predictable, even though there can be quite a bit of variety of from person to person, whereas trigger points can really form just about anywhere in a muscle. So when you’re looking to treat trigger points, you really have to palpate the entire length of a muscle.

Whereas when you are treating motor points, um, you’re generally starting from a somewhat relatively defined position. Like it’s, uh, say, you know, in the middle, like the middle part of a muscle, or like in the case of say the rectus femoris, one of the common motor points is going to be halfway between like stomach 31 and hunting, right. You still have to palpate locally and the actual location you’re going to be looking for like a kind of an usher point. It might be, you know, one up to sooner, so away from that point, but you’re starting roughly from [inaudible].

Um, another, another area of contrast, uh, that I think will probably open up interesting discussion because Matt and I have talked about this quite a bit is how you use them clinically and what muscles you choose to treat, whether if you’re thinking about a trigger point versus a, um, a motor point. And so I’ll just kind of talk just very briefly about my take on this and then maybe, uh, Brian and Matt, if you guys want to pop in and, uh, contradict what I’m saying. Awesome, nice and heated, spicy debate going. So motor points in my practice, I tend to use very, uh, very kind of more generally to really overall improve the functioning of the muscle and to treat in the sense of the little skeletal homeostasis, what I’m really focusing a lot on biomechanical issues, where there’s a joint dysfunction in gallons of muscle pull across a joint, or are treating, uh, a muscle in one area of the body.

And I want to treat the entire senior channel. I might need other muscles more display or more proximally in that CGU channel. I’m 10 years motor points is in those locations, more commonly, um, and for trigger points, I tend to overall use the more specifically to treat the referral patterns when there’s pain or some other like parasthesia, that might be part of the referral, but even having said that there’s a huge amount of overlap between them. And so I also very commonly will use trigger points to treat more general biomechanical issues and old very often also use motor points to treat painful conditions. Um, and there’s a more subtle distinction to be made. And how I diagnose personally between the use of those two things. Um, it has to do with the fact that when you have pain, sometimes the pain is coming from a motor point, but you can have pain due to a muscle dysfunction that isn’t sorry, a trigger point.

Um, you can have pain from muscle dysfunction that is not from a trigger point pain, but just you can have pain because the muscle itself isn’t firing correctly, which can send signals to the central nervous system, kind of a warning signal. That just something isn’t right. We’re going to just give you some pain. So you stop using the muscle. Um, so you can have cases of pain that are in a muscle that are not to the trigger point, but they can be helped a lot by motor points. Um, so there are just kind of muddied the whole discussion a little bit with that. So I I’ll, uh, let’s open this up, Matt, Brian, uh, what do you guys want to talk about in terms of that?

Uh, Brian, I’ve got a few things to say, but why don’t you go ahead and start? Uh,

Well, I just say something simple and that’s, uh, you, both of you guys painted an ice clear picture of, uh, a difference between a motor point in a, in a trigger point. But if you look at a lot of the discussion and sometimes even the research out there, it’s not always so clear cut as, as Josh kind of alluded to it, the Venn diagram of how they overlap in terms of, um, comparisons, but even in terms of discussion like Matt was mentioning, sometimes they use the term motor entry points, sometimes motor point to encompass all of that. It’s not always very, um, consistent sometimes there’s discussions of trigger points that talk about, like, I saw several research articles that talked about an anatomical basis for trigger points. And they were basically looking at the motor entry point as the site of where trigger points tend to form.

Um, so the it’s not so clear how we’re going to try to discuss it from a, um, you know, compare and contrast and as if they’re different, but there’s a lot of overlap out there. So if you’ve looked into this at all, sometimes it’s easy to get confused because it’s confusing cause there’s a lot of different, different people saying different things about it that aren’t always consistent. Um, and I know this isn’t the case with the newer edition at Trevell and Simon’s book, but, um, in the previous additions, you know, they had Xs on sort of the frequent location of where a trigger points tend to form. And there was numbers, you know, like trigger point number one, upper traps trigger point number two, and in a different regions and different kinds of common sites. Now, of course, within that common site, you’d have to palpate and find the exact location.

Um, uh, and it’s going to be very variable, but there were sort of go-to sites, so to speak. And, um, if you look at those go-to sites, you’ll see that those go-to sites tend to be at the motor point, the motor, uh, close to the motor entry point location, um, where the muscle is getting the innovation. So, uh, the reality is that motor points are at the location of where common trigger points form, and both of them share one similar thing in their description and their language is that a motor point is the highest concentration of motor in plates. It’s a motor in plates or the cite on muscles that are, uh, have receptors for acetylcholine. So a motor point is the highest concentration of motor end points, a boater, um, in plates. I think that’s more of the classical definition of, of a motor points. Now with motor entry points, that’s more about the entry side of the nerve, but the classic definition going a little farther back as the highest concentration of motor in plates and trigger point in the language is often described as forming at the site of the highest concentration of motor in plates. So there’s a lot of parallel and there’s a lot of overlap and it’s not always clear to differentiate one from the other, my turn.

All right. Thanks Brian. Um, Josh Brian, that was awesome. That was good. Uh, in, in my mind, the motor implants are going to be where the intramuscular motor points are a little kid at, um, where the motor nerve enters into the muscle. There can be collateral branches that go into the motor end plates, but not always. So let’s now take this information and see if we can be able to bring it into some kind of clinical sense, for example, let’s I remember before we get into clinical sense, let’s remember that motor points also can be used as empirical points that will take pain away from a distance site. And that pain from a distance site has nothing to do with the trigger point referrals. Like for example, a flexor carpi ulnaris motor entry point is pre magnificent and taking pain away from the levator scapula attachment.

And that lateral posterior side of the neck or the piriformis motor entry point takes pain away from a urinary bladder 10 region. So there’s a number of different ways of looking at the motor entry point. And also what the trigger point is. Let’s say that tomorrow a patient comes in with sciatica, you use slump tests, you use straight leg, raise tests, a neural tension test, and they’re negative. So it doesn’t seem like it’s true sciatica. So what could be causing the sciatica like sensations? There’s a number of things that can, for example, a Fossette joint can cause referral pain, a sick really act joint can cause referral pain trigger points can cause the sciatica like referral pain. So let’s say that with this patient that you’ve done slump test and straight leg raise, and you’ve ruled out sacred iliacs joint dysfunction or Fossette joint dysfunction.

And you’re palpating along the iliac crest where the gluten minimis attaches and you find with palpation, it reproduces that patient’s sciatica likes sensations. This is just in the hypothetical example. So you’re looking at the glute minimus at its attachment side, or maybe the muscular tenant is junction site that you’re palpating around that area. And it’s a way from the motor point, which would be the muscle belly halfway between the superior border of the greater show canter and the iliac crest. That point definitely needs to be treated because it was causing this person sciatica or sciatic, like sensation definitely needs to be treated and TCM. We look at it as being either as an access or deficient, is it cold? Is it damp? And we are treated according to how we know how to get rid of and resolve damp or treat cold, reduce access, reinforce the deficiency.

It’s all going to be predicated on your palpation. Now, from my experience, if we treated the motor points of the gluteus minimus, first that trigger point that was located two or three inches away would be difficult to find it’s not going to be reproducing that same type of parasthesia. So from my experience, I would like to treat the trigger point. First, what I’ll do clinically is treat the trigger point first because that’s what’s causing it. And they’re like what Josh was talking about before let’s treat the motor entry point, cause that’s going to be then communicating quite a bit, the central nervous system about where that muscle is in space. You guys want to comment on that? Yeah. So

I think, um, another really great aspect to think about motor points is that in that particular case that you’re talking about, the motor points are also going to be incredibly useful to then treat the other muscles that might be involved in why that glute minimus develop trigger points in the first place. Right? So there may be, uh, there may be some, you know, if there’s like a pelvic imbalance where you have to look at the balance between the, the hip, uh, AB doctors like the glute medius and minimus plus with the add doctors plus with like the QL, um, that there may be this larger muscle imbalance issue between keeping the pelvis level in the, in the frontal plane, right? So it could be that treating the motor points of the adductor longus and brevis the quadratus lumborum and even using the motor points more in a TCM sense of looking at excess and deficiency to try and balance.

A lot of that is going to be a really important part of the treatment to keep that one gluteus minimus that’s causing referral pattern to keep that from developing further trigger points, right? Cause the trigger points could just be the end result, like the last symptom of a dysfunction that has been going on from these other areas, right. Um, where you might need to treat motor points, uh, down in the, in the cap for any of the motor points for the muscles that control the foot of the ankle. Cause maybe the glute minimus is developing trigger points because of its being overloaded because of an ankle dysfunction. Right? So I think that’s another aspect to the balance between looking at trigger points versus motor points that can be really helpful clinically. Awesome. Brian, anything you wanna say?

Yeah, I would just add into that some distal channel points do it. Now we have a pretty comprehensive picture. You know, we, we use this one a lot with the glute medius and minimus minimus in this case. Cause it’s clearly on the gallbladder sinew channel ma uh, Josh mentioned the quadratus lumborum and the add doctors, which we on time to go into it now, but the QL is, uh, part of the liver send you a channel as the ad doctors are. So you could also include points, um, to affect the relationship between those channels like sourced and low combination gallbladder, 40 liver five would be a really good combination that we use quite easily in the program. So you do, maybe we have this one point, that’s creating a referral, but it’s linked, uh, functionally with other muscular structures. So glute minimus in this case, linked with quadratus, lumborum add doctors in terms of how they’re in dysfunction together. So we can use motor points and trigger points and combinations of those muscles along with distal channel points. And that’s a to create a good local distal and point combination from a TCM standpoint.

Oh, awesome. Yeah, that’s good. Let’s go farther into that. So remember you guys, Osher points have been treated for thousands of years. So trigger points and tender motor points have been observed and treated with traditional techniques. And in some of the discussions that Josh and Brian have had is that when a trigger point is located in a different location than the motor entry point, it’s really common to find a tight palpable band linking the two. So for example, from the motor entry point, if you cross fibered toward the trigger point, many times you’ll actually find that type palpable ban linking the two, which maybe is why punk’s a needle technique was developed, which is really quite common in myofascial acupuncture by kneeling three or four needles in a row within that tight palpable bag. One of the needles would be at the motor entry point.

One of the needles are two of the needles might be the trigger point. So you’re covering those bases. And then as Brian was talking about linking that particular channel with points that will open up the channels in the collateral Xi, cleft Lubo points and such, and let’s also remember this patient, what’s their internal balance. What’s happening with them? How well can they handle inflammation because it’s on the gallbladder channel. Well, how is their liver and gallbladder functioning in their life? Could the liver and the gallbladder be contributing to part of this clinical picture? Always something for us to be able to consider is people are not just coming in as meat suits. We treat the entire patient. Great discussion. You guys.

Yeah. Another really interesting aspect to, uh, bringing TCM theory into this is also looking at, uh, general, like we get into TCM basic constitutions, right? There’s I very often find an element of spleen Xi deficiency with certain types of people who tend to develop a lot of trigger points because of the, the spleen’s ability to supply energy to muscles. Right? Cause the trigger point formation is in a sense of problem with energy supply to the muscle after it gets damaged, right? There’s a, there’s a very strong case to be made for looking at the importance of blood status and using herb formulas to treat a lot of blood status. Um, I think I mentioned maybe in a previous discussion that Brian and I had, I’m a big fan of the drew Yutang family of formulas for treating various types of musculoskeletal pain for that, uh, for that purpose. So I think that that’s, that could be a whole other podcast. We could talk about like a TC woman also talking about like postural distortions and TCM constitutional diagnoses, and then talking about muscular relationships between postural distortions and TCM stuffs. That could be a whole other thing we can get. Right, right.

That would be hours and hours and hours or people would just go to the smack program. Right. Well, this has been a great conversation, you guys, and I think there’s a lot of clarity that was added to this. Um, we are right approaching that 30 minute mark right now. Is there any closing comments that you guys want to be able to say?

Uh, I’ll just say, well first, um, Matt and Brian, thanks again for inviting me to do this. I really appreciate it. And uh, I just want to put it out there for everybody listening that the, the, the smack program, the sports medicine acupuncture program was one of the real turning points in my career. It kind of brought together, even though I’ve done a lot of work with trigger points and some orthopedic stuff before then, um, it really brought together, uh, so many different elements of what I was trying to get at when I was doing, um, orthopedic work with my patients that it’s probably saved me 15 or 20 years of studying on my own, trying to do a lot of this together. So I just wanted to say, thank you, Matt and Brian for, uh, giving people this opportunity. Great.

Well, thanks for that, Josh really appreciate that. And that’s good. Um, yeah, it’s always welcome. And no, Josh, you didn’t bug me with your questions during the smack program where you sat down as a no, no, you just have very inquisitive mind. And the thing is, is that kind of dialogue is so welcome to because other people are stimulated by that kind of conversation. So it’s always welcomed. So thank you, Josh, for that also for more, let me finish this one real quick, Brian, for more information about Josh in the comments section, there’s, uh, three different links that, um, he’s talking about trigger points for anybody who’s interested in a motor point chart or motor point book. There’s also, there’s going to be links for that as well. Go for what Brian.

Yeah. On the topic of, uh, messages coming up, there was a question which we could go into a lot of detail and we don’t have time, but it was about osteoarthritis of the hip. Um, and I just want to quickly say that the same discussion we were just having about balancing the pelvis, um, by using motor points, uh, in terms of like, if there’s a, uh, elevated Lem, QL, glute medius, and minimus, and the combination of motor points, plus distal points, that’ll help balance the hip joint would be really a great idea for osteoarthritis, but you could also look at, uh, what trigger point referrals are referring to that region of pain. The hip joint itself can refer pain and can be, can be the pain source. Sure. But since we’re talking about trigger points and motor points, looking at the trigger points that are part of that referral, uh, it could be that the trigger point is causing 20, 30, 40, 50, 60% of that pain. Um, so also treating the, the, uh, looking for trigger points in those, um, regions that could be referring to that area would be a, it would be a good idea to start with

Joshua say something, I’ve got something to add.

Um, uh, the only thing I would add to that is if you’re not used to looking up trigger point referral patterns, it not is going to not just be the muscles locally to the hip, right? One of the muscles that might recreate something like osteoarthritis of the hip could be like the lung just amiss muscles up around the thoracolumbar junction around T 12, right. That can refer pain down to the truck hacker. So there’s a lot that has that a lot of, um, resources out there to allow you to look up for pain in one particular area of the body, what is the list of different muscles that can all refer to that area? And it’s really helpful looking, you can find those online it’s in Trevell um, uh, yeah, very useful resource.

Um, just to add some clarity with this one, cause I don’t know what kind of diagnostics were made with the osteoarthritis. So the patient may actually have confirmed osteoarthritis, but now these comments that we’re making is that, um, there also could be, uh, pain contributors, which would be trigger points. So as we know, uh, trigger points can also live not only in muscle tissue that we’ve been addressing over these last couple of hours is also can live in joint capsules, tendons, ligaments. So needling the joint capsule itself may also help in this particular case as well.

All right. Anything else, gentlemen? I think we, uh, we covered most of the stuff we wanted to cover.

All right. Well thank you very much. Really, really appreciate it. And so stay tuned for next week, come in, check in, check out Jeffrey Grossman for next week. And Brian is, was nice hanging out with you, Josh. Thank you so much. Really, really appreciate it. Thanks you guys. Bye now. Bye-bye


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Clinically Relevant Trigger Points



So we’re going to talk, uh, about some relevant trigger points. There’s a lot of relevant trigger points, but we tried to narrow it down to ones that are probably the most frequently seen in practice, especially ones that are good to with, for practitioners who maybe don’t use a lot of trigger points or wanting to get into working with trigger points.

Click here to download the transcript.

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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Welcome everybody. I’m here with Josh Lerner and I’ll introduce him in just a moment, but I just wanted to give a little heads up. Matt Callison and myself. Uh, co-present uh, frequently on this webinar that the American Acupuncture Council is kind enough to welcome us to. And I, Matt couldn’t make this particular, uh, uh, date and we’re here with Josh Lerner, but the reason I’m mentioning that is the subject matter we’re talking about actually has roots in some conversations we’ve had with Josh over the past couple of years, uh, specifically looking at the difference between motor points and trigger points, difference, comparison, uh, overlap, you know, uh, just a, it’s a, it’s a really great topic and that was going to be our webinar. But, um, the dates didn’t work for Matt. And, uh, we’re going to have this as part one where we’re talking a little bit more specifically about trigger points and then looking at part two on July 7th, Josh will be back with us and we’ll kind of get a little bit more into that difference between difference and again, comparison between trigger points and motor points. So thanks for joining us today, Josh.

Thank you, Brian. I appreciate being invited to do this. It’s always a plan involved with doing that.

Yeah, yeah. It’s great to have you here. So Josh, uh, Josh is up in the Seattle area and the Pacific Northwest has been practicing for 20 years. Um, and teaching at the Seattle Institute of east Asian medicine for 11 years. Uh, is that correct?

Yep, that’s it. Yeah.

And you focus on a lot of things, but uh, particularly in specifically relevant to this, uh, webinar with, uh, orthopedics TuiNa and corrective exercises.

Yeah. That’s a main part of my practice. So I incorporate a lot of the sports medicine, acupuncture protocols, as well as stuff, uh, dealing with trigger points, uh, corrective exercise, you know, movement assessment and lots of manual therapy with, uh, including things like 29.

Yeah. And Josh is also a graduate of the sports medicine acupuncture program. And like myself has a pretty long history in martial art practice, which I think is what gets a lot of us into this work initially, which is interesting. Yeah. Yeah. So there’s definitely, we would like to chat for a bit, but there’s a lot of material to present, so maybe we will go ahead and jump right into the, uh, the presentation and Josh, let me know if there’s anything you want to add before we, uh, go into that. Ready to go. We’re good. All right. So we’re going to talk, uh, about some relevant trigger points. There’s a lot of relevant trigger points, but we tried to narrow it down to ones that are probably the most frequently seen in practice, especially ones that are good to with, for practitioners who maybe don’t use a lot of trigger points or wanting to get into working with trigger points.

Um, this will be a, a chance to kind of go into those specifically though for a short webinar. We’re not going to really get into a lot of needle technique, which takes a little bit more set up. We’re going to try to put it into the context, more of, um, assessment recognizing and when, when to look for these and when to, um, utilize them and maybe even some disappointed channel theory with it. So let’s go to the next slide and we’ll jump right into that. So I’m strictly speaking, uh, myofascial trigger points, uh, or just oftentimes referred to as trigger points are a concept that’s developed in Western neuromuscular medicine. Uh, so there’s a history of it. Um, we’ll probably mostly be talking about the, the work of Dr. Janet Reval and David Simons or David Simmons. Uh, but there’s a history that goes way back, many people involved with it. I guess you could say a history that kind of parallels some, some discussions that happened in Chinese medicine, but it’s a, it’s a Western history. However, if you look closely and you, and you’re versed in both traditions, you will definitely see a lot of overlap. So we’re going to discuss the overlap, but just keep in mind that that overlap is

Not strict

Trigger point in the, you know, if you get travails books, she’s not going to be talking about the large intestine channel. Um, but there’s a lot overlap if you look for it. And just a as one quick example, looking at this picture on the right, we have two pictures actually on the left-hand side of that image, there is a supraspinatus trigger point referral patterns. Superspinatus access in the region of SSI 12 though, it’s attachment at ally 15, my tendonous junction around ally 16. And then you see the referral going down the large intestine, a little bit, the lung channel, but primarily the large intestine channel. So this muscle superspinatus as part of the small intestines sinew channel. However, there’s a link with the large intestine channel. So on the right, many of us are familiar with this Deadman image and you’re looking at that large intestine channel, um, where you see some of that trigger point referral pattern.

But it’s interesting to note that from ally 15 and to ally 16, where you would have access to the superspinatus, the channel then links, uh, intersects at SSI 12. So even the description of the large intestine channel starts showing some relationships to this, uh, um, superspinatus muscle and how there’s a relationship between both the referral pattern and the channel itself. We could talk the whole webinar about relationships between this, this type of thing between the channels and the trigger point referrals. But unfortunately, that’s not the topic though. Fortunately, we had some really great things to say, uh, uh, in addition to that, but Josh, anything you wanted to, uh, add or any thoughts that you have on, on this? I know we talk about this a lot.

Yeah. I’m not a whole lot, but just as a general idea, it’s something that people can really do is if you’re interested in this kind of thing, look at referral patterns and Trevell or other resources, but look not only at the main pathways of channels, but also delve into a lot of the law channels. Um, some of the other less commonly really known, uh, although everyone knows the law channels, but, um, the ones, your, a lot of the connections you’re not normally going to think of very often, you’ll see more connection with the trigger point referral patterns there than if you’re just looking at the main channel pathways. So in some ways you can kind of use this as an opportunity to go back and delve into traditional channel theory and kind of get into some details and start uncovering some connections you might not otherwise have thought about.

Yeah, and to me, it seems kind of obvious that the channel system in Chinese medicine has a pretty long history, a long tradition, many things that added to the development of the channels. But I think a simple one is that people were probably needling areas and node and noting and, uh, seeing the common referral and saying, oh, there’s something about needling at that SSI 12 region that kind of refers, um, down a particular pathway. And that was, you know, that, that, I’m sure I had a big part of the development of the channel system. And in addition to other things

I absolutely, yeah. Alright.

I think we can jump into the next slide. So just to give a definition, a myofascial trigger points are a hyper irritable spot in skeletal muscle that is associated with a hyper-sensitive palpable nodule and a top band. We’re going to break this down and talk a little bit more about it in a second. Uh, the spot is painful on compression and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, referred tenderness, motor dysfunction, and autonomic phenomena. This is the definition in a travail and Simmons book, the trigger-point manual, which is a great resource, a two volume, uh, resource. And you can see some of that play out in the image on the left, which is showing the sternal head of the, uh, um, SCM muscle sternocleidomastoid and the referral to the sort of frontal region occipital region Vertex of the head a little bit into the face when you’re looking at these referral patterns.

Something to take in, uh, into consideration is the darker, the red doesn’t necessarily indicate more pain when there’s referral. It’s more about frequency. You know, that that there’s going to be, uh, the greater frequency of that sort of frontal region for the sternal head occipital region. And these spillover regions are going to be a little less common, but still, still common. Uh, but the intensity of that pain might be, uh, for patient a might be greatest at the Vertex of the head. I would say it tends to be greater at those, those, um, more common sites, but, but that’s what it’s showing is more frequency of referral, uh, with the spillover being less frequent. And Josh, do you want us to actually break down a little bit of this definition? I think,

Uh, well just because one of the things that I teach at, uh, the Seattle Institute of east Asian medicine is a specific class on trigger point theory. And I find that emphasizing really understanding each of the individual words in that, um, in that definition can be really helpful. So, uh, I like the way that I define it, I kind of, you know, the words are shifted around a little bit, but it’s essentially the same definition, but it is first it’s, we’re talking about ones in skeletal muscle. They’re also their trigger point phenomenon that can occur in other tissues, aside from skeletal muscle, a muscle like in periosteum and joint capsules, things like that. But for the majority of what we’re going to be talking about is occurring in skeletal muscle. Um, it is, they occur in a taut band in the skeletal muscle. So whenever you’re looking at trigger points, you’re always going to be trying to palpate for a particular palpable taught band.

Then you will look along in that top band for the, the nodule. Usually it’s some type of thickening or a slightly harder section of that top band, and then you apply some type of manual pressure to it. And you’re looking to see if you can find the most hypersensitive spot in that nodule in that top band. And just understanding that definition itself can help you clinically when you’re trying to start learning this material. And you’re actually going to start looking for trigger points. If you keep all of that in mind, um, it will help with how you’re palpating, um, especially as acupuncturists, we tend not to palpate as deeply for, and as strongly for kind of big gross structures like taut bands and muscles. We tend to be much better palpating for more subtle things like pulses, um, chief lo in channels, whether or not, you know, kind of the spaces between things, the way that a lot of people find acupuncture points instead of big, you know, really obvious structures, uh, which it sounds kind of counterintuitive that that would be harder for acupuncturists to do. But, um, you know, Brian, you have this experience as well. And, uh, Matt and I have talked about this, how acupuncturists it’s, when they’re learning this material, whether it’s looking at motor points or trigger points, there’s always an adjustment period. We have to kind of shift gears perceptually to actually be able to palpate correctly for taught math and muscles compared to focusing on real kind of more subtle things like fascial planes and acupuncture points, things like that. And

You have to know the anatomy quite well, which is something that some acupunctures know really well. But, um, often we hear how that is something that could be a little bit under Todd in school. And I think as a profession, we really need to bring that level of anatomical understanding of


All right. Well, why don’t we move on to the next slide then? So, uh, just so you have some understanding of some classification of trigger points is they do have classifications, um, a trigger point can be an active versus a latent trigger point. The image here is showing the upper trapezius and the referral pattern active generally would be a little bit larger, probably more contractile tissue, but that’s not the main gist of the definition. It’s really about that. The patient is actively coming in with that complaint. You know, maybe they’re talking about in this case, a cervicogenic type or tension type headaches that are traveling up the neck and, oh, it really hurts, you know, at the temple. So they’re actively feeling that that referral pattern, whereas latent trigger points as any of us have probably noticed we’re in they’re palpating and tissue sometimes. And oh, I didn’t realize I was insensitive.

You know, somebody says that they feel maybe some referral, uh, so it’s late and it’s kind of hidden, you know, maybe it’s a little extra, uh, challenge on a tissue, you know, carrying groceries a little too far, you know, suitcase in the airport or something. Um, and that latent trigger point can start to become an active trigger point. But at this point, Leighton would be that you’re not feeling it until you manually put pressure on it and kind of, kind of, um, highlight it through that pressure. So active trigger points would be, you know, people coming in with that complaint late in you’re kind of finding in the process, a key trigger points, satellite trigger points, I think is a really important thing because, uh, the difference is, is key trigger points. In this case, using the image of the, um, the, the upper trapezius.

You can look at that referral and see that, that cervical region traveling along the gallbladder channel, if we were looking at it from a TCM lens into the temp temporality. So the temporal region, well, you can form satellite trigger points along that pain pattern. It’s like that irritating noxious signal, um, will start to cause satellite trigger points along that referral pattern. So upper traps are, are often a key trigger point that can refer into the head and into the temporal region causing secondary satellite trigger points into the temple region. And it might be that the person coming in is complaining about that pain at the temple. And we go, and maybe a point like Thai Yong or the, um, uh, trigger points, or maybe even the motor point of temporality we use, and that will help. But until we sort of get it at that source, it’s going to be much more likely to come back and be short-lived help, uh, unless we can kind of find those key, uh, trigger points.

So that’s very similar to the channel theory, you know, um, in terms of, uh, us looking at that sort of more of a comprehensive view of, of the, uh, the channel in this case, um, and the muscle within that channel. And then the last classification is central trigger points versus attachment. The previous image of the superspinatus, uh, showed the central trigger points around the SSI 12 region and frequently there’ll be attachment trigger points added this attachment, like an ally 15, let’s say. Um, and generally speaking, the central trigger points have a little bit more, uh, emphasis and trigger point thought, uh, in the sense that if you take care of the trigger at the central region belly of the muscle, then oftentimes the attachment months resolve, or at least, uh, um, it’s more likely to resolve. And maybe, maybe those are the secondary ones that you look at, anything with that Josh,

Uh, yeah, just a little bit about active versus latent because clinically this is one of the areas where people often can run into problems when they really start getting into act, uh, treating trigger points. Um, like, like Brian said, it’s the act of trigger points that actually bring them into the clinic, right? They’re coming in with, um, say pain in the front of their shoulder from like an infraspinatus or a superspinatus trigger point, or maybe trading down the arm and you palpitate. And then you may palpate up around the upper trapezius and find trigger points in the upper trapezius. And even if you palpate them, it may refer up into their head. Um, and you may get distracted because you found this latent trigger point that may have nothing to do directly with the patient’s symptom. Um, but you can actually find latent, trigger points all over your body.

Um, they’re much more numerous than active trigger points. Uh, you, I don’t want to alarm anyone who’s watching this right now, but as you’re sitting there or standing, or hopefully not driving, watching this podcast, uh, your body is riddled with Leighton trigger points. They’re all over there throughout your entire body, but they normally don’t cause problems, but they’re often very easy to find. And so it can be, um, a little bit of a stumbling block because once you get good at palpating trigger points and finding them, you can kind of find them in almost any muscle, not any muscle, but large number of muscles, if you look hard enough. And so that’s where we’ll talk a little bit later about differential diagnosis and how important clinical reasoning is in addition to just palpatory skills. Um, because I, and I’m sure Brian’s done this and anyone else who’s worked with trigger points.

You can spend a lot of, uh, needless energy and time treating muscles that may actually not be helping with their problems. So that’s just one other thing. And also some of the treatments can be, uh, can involve some discomfort for the patient depending on the type of treatment that you’re doing. And so sometimes you’re needlessly causing the patient some soreness afterwards, if you’re doing something like dry needling or mashing on a trigger point manually for a long period of time, when maybe you didn’t need you because the real problem was elsewhere. So that’s just another act, uh, another aspect to active versus latent. That’s helpful to understand clinically.

Yeah, that’s a great point, Josh. I’m glad you brought that up. I see similar things with needling to where, uh, there’s a response, a sensation achieve response. And, um, sometimes that’s not the target tissue that you’ve reached, but instantly, you know, people who are new to this type of work, it’s like, okay, oh, they felt it. I’m going to stop. Now, if it’s painful, you don’t need to keep on barreling through it. But the point is that sometimes that initial sensation you get might be not at the level and the depth that your target is. And it’s not that that shouldn’t be taken note of, but maybe, you know, you’re, you’re wanting to be a little bit different target tissue. That’s going to have a different sensation. And I see that whether it’s trigger points, motor points, tendon periosteum, whatever the target is, is that the target is one thing. Um, and the sensation that you get might be felt at a different region, um, that isn’t your target yet,

Which further strengthens the importance of really understanding the anatomy in three dimensions. If you actually know what it is that you’re, you’re effecting.

Yeah, absolutely. All right. So I think we can get into the next slide and then Josh and myself, we’re kind of bouncing back and forth, but he was going to take it in just a moment from here. So, one thing to consider with that with trigger points is that they’re often, like if you look at travails book, she talks about functional units, um, and this would be a grouping, usually agonist and antagonist muscles. It’s a little broader than just this, but that’s the basic simple definition, um, that they often also share us a spinal reflex. Again, that’s the simple definition, but if you look at our functional units, they often go a little bit beyond just that, but it’s groupings of structures that relate to each other that are functionally working together and often become dysfunctional together. So if there’s a, a pain generator and say the upper trapezius, well maybe also the superspinatus deltoids, maybe even the SCM, those are all kind of, um, uh, dysfunctional together.

And those can, uh, you know, be sort of creating a, uh, problem, uh, in, in terms of how they relate to each other. So needling the, the source of the pain is useful, but also working, um, kind of normalizing the relationship between that functional unit can really give much longer AskPat lasting results. This is something we teach in sports medicine, acupuncture, not necessarily from the trigger point lens, so to speak, but, um, you know, Matt Callison and in his book, um, uh, has, uh, has something called the Watteau arc and something that’s taught in module one. We have module one coming up, um, soon. And, uh, uh, the end of the month, uh, that’ll be on net of knowledge, a webinar for it, and then it’ll be live or accessible after that. But it kind of parallels this idea of a functional unit where you’re working with these groupings of related muscles, but then the Watteau arch, we’re also adding the lotto Jaci points to affect the deep paraspinal muscles for that level.

That’s, innervating those muscles really relevant in a lot of sports injuries, also extremely relevant for patients with spondylosis, where there may be having a reduced neural output to those regions of muscles, like the supraspinatus and infraspinatus, um, that that reduced output and the neural output might not be leading to, um, radicular pain. It might be, you know, preclinical, um, you know, before that radicular level, but that reduced neural output can cause dysfunction in muscles that those muscles then have muscle imbalances that can lead to dysfunction. So including those Watteau Jaci points of that segment can be really useful. We usually do a sets of three. So like say for the rotator cuff muscle, maybe we’re doing C4, C5 and C6 at the lotto judgy points. So that’s a great addition to working with these because you’re also working then with the do channel to some extent, and looking at that relationship between that and the channels, we also get a lot into send you channels in our program. And, um, uh, the way we look at sinew channels and define the sinew channels kind of relates to this functional unit idea too.


Yeah, and I saw, uh, candy justice just asked a question about perpendicular versus, uh, threading needling. I, um, I, I really want to answer that question. It’s a great question. I think given how long we’ve already been talking over just the first few slides, I don’t know if we’re going to get to it. I’ll just say really briefly that the, there are a few answers to that question. One of them is just practical. Some muscles are easier to needle perpendicular versus more, um, threading either with the muscle fibers or sometimes cross fiber. Sometimes it’s a safety issue. If you’re needling some of the muscles over the thorax, for instance, um, you’re going to often be needling more, uh, in a kind of a threading or like a transverse, um, just to avoid going into the pleural space. It’s going to have to do also partly with, uh, in some cases, whether or not you’re going to actually needle with retention versus doing more like a dry needling. So try this, not a very full and, uh, probably satisfying answer, but, um, for the, uh, so we can kind of get on with the rest of the lecture. And I dunno, think we’ll really have time during the lecture to answer any more questions, keep asking them maybe in the, in the conversation after this is posted and like on the Facebook page, whenever we can get to them. But I just wanted to recognize that question and address the aspect of it.

Right. So the next slide.

Okay. All right. So, um, understanding the pathophysiology of trigger points, meaning both the physiology and pathology of them can also be really helpful when you’re thinking clinically. So first just understanding what a trigger point actually is. And for the next few slides, when we talk about physiology, I’m going to try really, really hard to be brief, but this is such a really, really cool and interesting topic that Brian and I, as we were talking, we could probably spend an entire hour long, an hour and a half a lecture just on these first few slides. So I’m going to try and edit myself as much as I can here. So what is a trigger point? A trigger point is essentially a series of small, very localized contractions within a muscle fiber. It is not what is called an electrogenic contraction of the whole muscle. So if you remember back to your anatomy and physiology classes, which all of you took either as part of before acupuncture school, and you remember muscle physiology, normally what happens with a muscle contraction is there’s a signal from the central nervous system sent down along a motor nerve, it’s an electrochemical signal.

And then it reaches the end of the motor nerve to the little, the terminal button. The, uh, the nerve ending then releases a neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the case of neuromuscular junctions, which diffuses across the cleft, comes into contact with the surface of the muscle fiber. Depolarizes the surface of the muscle fiber. And then it causes all the actin and myosin to kind of ratchet past each other and you get a contraction. And that normally happens when you have a nerve signal sent down that happens to an entire motor unit within a muscle. Um, and then the end, it happens to all the motor units in a muscle. What happens with trigger points is because of damage to the muscle. Some of those motor end plates, meaning the areas where the motor nerve is touching and contacting the muscle. Uh, there is a type of dysfunction that has to do with, uh, based on the most recent research I’m aware of, um, an excess spontaneous leakage in a sense of acetylcholine across the claps.

So basically neurotransmitter is spontaneously diffusing towards the muscle fiber to a greater degree than normal. It is actually a normal process. It just starts to happen more commonly in damaged motor end plates. And this causes a small amount of localized depolarization in the muscle fibers. And so you end up getting small little pockets of, of contractile units of the sarcomeres within the muscle that are contracting. So this is happening independent of an actual signal from the central nervous system. So once these little pockets of contraction form, they essentially are kept, they keep occurring because of some feedback loops essentially within the muscle itself, independent of continued input from the motor aspect of the nervous system. Um, and if you look at another interesting thing clinically, that can be helpful to realize with trigger points is if you look at the picture on the right. So we have here a drawing that was actually taken from an actual slide that comes from Trevell.

Um, the top shows a whole muscle with the talk band in it, and then the kind of thick and nodule the middle of the belly, which is the trigger point region. And then if you zoom in and look at the lower portion, you can see each of these muscle fibers kind of running across the picture there, they all have these little vertical lines, which are the individual sarcomeres, right? In, in between each vertical line, there is the contractile unit and the thickened kind of darker areas are where the trigger point contraction is occurring. And you can see that those vertical lines closer together, right? So the, as the sarcomeres contract, they go this way. But also that means that as anything else, if you squeeze it in one direction, it’s going to get thicker in the other direction. And so that thickening of all those sarcomeres with those contractions is what causes the thickened, not in the muscle, but if you look on either side of those knots, right, you’ve got like this, not in the middle, but then you can see the rest of the fiber on either side that the distance between the lines is a lot greater.

So those sarcomeres, uh, that are not part of the little contracture are actually being stretched and usually being overstretched, meaning that the actin and myosin fibers are actually often stretched past each other, which means that not only do you have a knot in this muscle, that is so that part of the muscle is partly pre contracted, which means it’s going to lose strength and a bunch of other motor dysfunctions that’ll happen with the presence of trigger points, but it’s also going to lose strength because some of those fibers are overstretched to the point where they can no longer mechanically produce the same amount of force when they contract. So it’s not just referred pain, that’s going to be the issue with trigger points, but also a disruption of the muscle’s ability to fire normally, and to relax normally, and their whole sorts of other, um, re uh, neurological reflexes that are involved in this. So we can get into some other time, but that’s, uh, something that can be really helpful to realize clinically that it’s not just referred pain out. There is this kind of actual physical dysfunction in the muscle that has other implications. Um, so let’s anything to add to that, Brian?

No, I think that was great. Cool.

So let’s move to the next slide. So when you have this contraction in the muscle, one of the things that happens is there’s this interference with the local blood flow. So as with any type of excess tension in soft tissue like that, it’s going to put pressure on blood vessels and on the lymph system. And so you end up within the actual, not the trigger point itself, a decrease in blood flow, meaning, uh, not just decrease in the nutrients in blood, getting to it, but also a decrease in oxygen. So you end up with local scheming and hypoxia. Interestingly, there’s actually a, essentially a retrograde blood flow outside the trigger point. So as the blood’s trying to get in the knot is keeping blood from getting into that portion of the muscle. So you have the buildup and actually a higher oxygen saturation outside the trigger point with a lower oxygen saturation inside the trigger point.

When you have a lower oxygen concentration, this leads to a drop in the pH in that area of the body. So the area inside the trigger point then becomes much more acidic. And that stimulates the release of a lot of other chemicals that are often pro-inflammatory or allergenic, meaning pain producing. So it releases all sorts of prostoglandin serotonin substance P brainy, canine, um, uh, CGRP bunch of, uh, interleukins, some ones in particular. And so all you get this kind of soup of biochemical signals that are producing some localized inflammation and also stimulating nociceptive nerve fibers. So remember nociceptive nerve fibers, which are often called pain fibers, actually, they’re not, they don’t send pain signals. They send signals of actual or impending tissue damage, right? The pain is something that’s processed and occurs in the, in the brain central nervous system. But what happens with trigger points then is you have this biochemical soup of concentrated, essentially pain producing substances in the area.

When the signal through the nociceptive nerve fibers becomes prolonged enough and strong enough, you know, over a long enough period of time, those signals go up to the spinal cord. And there are actual changes that occur in the spinal cord that are called central sensitization. So that there’s essentially a decrease in the threshold necessary for a lot of those signals, no susceptive or, you know, pain and signals to get to the brain. So there’s an increased chance that any given, uh, no susceptive signal is going to make it up to the brain. Normally our nervous system in a sense is designed to weed out anything below a certain threshold, just so that we’re not flooded with too much information than we can deal with in our central nervous system. Um, but with trigger points and any other kind of chronic pain, the threshold for that information to get up starts to get lowered.

Plus the nervous system in the, in the spinal cord itself starts to wake up old and disused connections between different spinal levels, essentially spinal segmental levels, and actually can form new ones. So it’s a signal say going into the C5 dermatomal myotomal level at the spine, say there’s a trigger point, like an infraspinatus, um, what will happen if that happens over a long enough period of time and is intense enough, is that the signal essentially spills over into adjacent spinal segments, very commonly or more commonly inferior. So the there’s some, maybe some connections that spill over superiorly to like C4, but very commonly will go down. So maybe C6 and C7, those spinal levels are now going to be getting input, no susceptive input or damage or pain input. And what happens for reasons that people aren’t quite sure of is that by the time all those signals get up to the brain, the brain is really interpreting those spillover signals more than the signal coming from the area itself.

It’s really common when you have a trigger point in a muscle with a few exceptions that the area where trigger point is itself, you don’t have any symptoms there it’s pretty far away from the area where the trigger point is, um, especially with some of the muscles like in the hips and the shoulders out into the periphery. So the, the signal of pain that you’re experiencing is actually coming maybe from like the C6 or even the C7 level. And that’s what we call referred pain. So that’s why you can have a, not these trigger points in a muscle, but have the experience of discomfort or pain or numbness or parasthesia happening in what seems like a really distal, uh, area far away. Cool. Anything else for that, Brian?

No, that was great. Great explanation.

Cool. Okay. And so let’s move on to the next slide. All right. So a few other things to think about with trigger points that will also really help you as a practitioner, um, from getting to myopic. Um, so trigger points are a possibility and our component of pain and dysfunction, that’s, uh, an understatement. Um, really some of the research suggests that up to 80% of the cases of pain might involve some type of trigger point phenomenon with any kind of pain. So having said that once you get into trigger point stuff, it can be so effective and it can be so kind of interesting that you can forget to do a differential diagnosis for a lot of the other really important, uh, generators of pain and dysfunction. It might be, you also have to consider joint dysfunctions, other soft tissue, you know, looking at ligaments, you have to look at whether or not someone has other systemic problems that can be contributing to their problem, right?

Nutritional deficiencies, especially things like vitamin D I think iron deficiencies, metabolic disorders. Um, so hypoglycemia and diabetes can be two really big ones that can have caused someone to have a propensity, to, to, um, generate trigger points and also to have more kind of higher levels of pain. Um, basically anything that affects the energy supply to the muscles can be a condition that can lead someone to more easily develop trigger points. If you’re a TCM practitioner, it’s also really important to put these findings into your assessment. And so personally, what I found is when I’m dealing with trigger points and thinking in TCM terms, um, going back to the idea that there is this limitation of blood flow in the area, treating trigger points locally, in one sense, as a form of blood is can be very helpful. And I’m a huge fan of the [inaudible] family of formulas.

I tend to use [inaudible] [inaudible] few herbalists out there a lot or variations of those. Um, but also systemically looking at things like spleen sheet efficiency, especially in terms of how it affects muscle function can be really helpful. So even if you decide to get into this, you’re into this now, and you’re getting really myopic about trigger point stuff, always keep in mind all of the systemic stuff, and don’t give up your as an acupuncturist or as an herbalist and the TCM practitioner. Um, uh, although you probably go through phases where that happens to a greater or lesser degree, I know I did for awhile, but always keep the rest of that in mind. Uh, anything else there, Brian?

Nah, this is just something that Josh and myself have talked about a lot, is that when people just, like you said, start working with something like trigger points, it’s easy to sort of start to, to just see everything as a trigger point and, and kind of throw everything else out the window. Um, and sometimes we learn something new and that’s just the way it goes for a little while, but, but yeah, bringing that full comprehensive, uh, aspect of our medicine back into play is really essential. So, uh, yeah, so let’s kind of go into the next step. So I think we’ve covered a lot of information already in terms of, uh, pain and quality of pain with, uh, trigger points. I think this, uh, next couple of slides, we’ve pretty much covered in the context of the previous slides. So, um, if you’re going back and watching this it’s on the screen, you can reference it, but I think we’ve already really covered an aspect of this. So why don’t we move on even Ms. Josh, is there something you wanted to say about that? Let’s move

On, not on this one, the one after, see what’s the slide right after this one? Uh, yeah, just the fact, just the importance of, um, basically when you’re diagnosing trigger points that you’re looking for them, the aspects you have to take into consideration first or the history of the patient, because often they’re good. There’s going to be some type of traumatic injury or overuse problem or chronic postural disorder. So his, the patient’s history is one thing. Um, the importance of palpation is another thing that you have to actually get into the muscle palpate and look for those sore spots, um, uh, history of palpation and, uh, and assessing, um, you know, movement dysfunction kind of looking at actually doing some, either manual muscle testing, range of motion testing, things like that. Um, but that’s, yeah, we can actually, if you want to kind of just move into the individual muscles, that’s probably a good idea. This is, as we predicted, we’re kind of taking a long time to get from the really cool stuff that we have to be nerds about.

Know we were talking, we can almost do have done a long time just on this, these first parts, but yeah, let’s, let’s move forward. So diagnosis, um, uh, uh, trigger points as Josh was mentioning was really largely based on palpation. Of course, you have to rule out other components of pain and they’re not one or the other, but maybe there’s a facet causing a particular pain. And, um, you have to roll out all of those things. We’re going to focus more on the trigger point aspect, which is going to come down to palpation. And Josh, you wanna kind of go into a little bit of the, the criteria for that.

Uh, yeah. So the, the, the three most important things to understand with trigger points are these things here listed on manual palpation. So first, if you suspect a muscle has trigger points in it that they’re causing problems. And again, actually one of the other things we forgot to mention with diagnosis, the other third thing that I was trying to think of history palpation, but also understanding the referral patterns and a lots of resources online for looking at referral patterns. It’s best. If you look in Trevell or even the most recent version of it, um, by body part. So often you can find lists of if there’s pain in the front of the shoulder, there’s a list of muscles that are the most common muscles that refer to that area. Um, so understanding that, so that, that helps kind of narrow your, your clinical focus down a little bit, but then basically what you’re gonna do is palpate the muscle.

And look for first, the top band, look, you’re looking for these, those stringy or Roby bands in the muscle. And then once you find that, then you’re pressing directly into those top bands moving along the top band, really the entire length of the muscle, the trigger points will often tend to form in certain areas in certain muscles for a number of reasons, more commonly than others, but really you need to check the entire length of the muscle if you can. And then along that tender along that top band, one of those spots is going to be one or two are going to usually be the most exquisitely tender to the touch. Um, often there would be a slight thickening or hardening of the band in that particular location. And if you’re lucky, not lucky, I mean, probably about 60 to 70% of the time, at least, um, if you’re in the right spot, the spot that you press is not only going to be very sore to the touch, but it’s also going to refer pain elsewhere and ideally reproduce the symptom that the patient is coming in for.

So, because someone’s coming in for migraines, you feel the upper trapezius, you squeeze it. Not only is it sore in the upper trapezius, but it actually recreates their symptoms with things like migraines. You have to be careful not to cause it in the clinic cause that’s a whole other topic. But for, um, a lot of patients that recognition of, oh, this practitioner is, uh, knows exactly what’s going on with me, cause they can touch me this other place. And all of a sudden my symptom is occurring. I now trust this practitioner. Um, and maybe they’ve been to two doctors and an osteopath and a chiropractor and two other acupuncturists and massage therapists. And no one has thought to look at that. And you’re the, maybe the first one who’s doing that. So that’s a really common experience, both that I’ve had and I’m sure Brian’s had, and even all the students at the school that I teach, they get that in school of having a patient in the student clinic, tell them you’re the first person that I feel like has actually gotten to where my problem is. So,

Um, yeah, after this, we have a video also this, the video shows a local Twitch response with palpation. Some muscles don’t have a tendency to do this. Some do, and it’s not an essential quality of, um, diagnosing trigger points. But when you do find with palpation this local Twitch response, that it, it’s usually a good sign that you’re at the right spot, especially if they’re feeling that recreation of the symptoms. And I kind of helps you a zoom in on the region where that trigger point formation is. So let’s just look at a quick video that shows for the SCM, you’ll see this. And then for the peroneus longest [inaudible]. So you’ll see this both with the sternal head and the clavicular and especially the Clifford Cuellar head


So if you look down at the clavicle area with the curricular edge, you’ll see that clavicular head starting to fire just with the cross fiber strumming of the muscle [inaudible] Peroneus longus and apprentice, as long as you don’t see the muscles as much, but look at the foot going into aversion. So when that muscle is under a lot of, uh, uh, strain from metric or point formation just trumping the, the muscle will cause that muscle to fire. So just some things to look for when you’re, when you’re doing assessment. I think we can go to the next slide and, uh, sports medicine,

Muscles, maybe. Yeah, yeah.

I think that’s a good idea. Thanks Josh. Uh, so upper trapezius is one of the most common, uh, acupuncture is very familiar with this one because, uh, uh, oftentimes around the, the region of, uh, gallbladder 21, there’ll be trigger points. Uh, there can be other areas they call bladder 21 happens to be a motor point. We’ll talk about that difference in July, but, uh, this is a extremely common one that comes into practice, especially relevant for tension, muscle, tension, headaches, referring up the back of the neck and then wrapping around usually the gallbladder channel distribution to the temple occasionally to the chin, as you can see kind of the angle of the mandible. Um, most of us, uh, have needled a, this, uh, muscle just cause noodling gallbladder 21. Um, but again, with Josh was mentioning, mentioning with the trigger point palpation, you’re looking not just at one particular region, you have to look through the whole length of the muscle, but that gallbladder 21 or a little bit more medial where the upper trapezius starts to turn the corner are common sites where you start to see those pain generation, um, for trigger points of the upper traps.

And from a channel perspective, a gallbladder channel would be obvious it’s part of the gallbladder sinew channel, but it’s also part of the large intestines and you channel as it comes up the arm into the, uh, the deltoids up into that leading edge of the, of the upper traps. Um, so large intestines and Joel, to some extent, urinary bladder, if you look at the urinary bladder, send you a channel, you’ll see that it, um, has a lateral branch and it covers a whole wide range even coming into the front of the body. But in my interpretation, I see that as including the lower trapezius, upper trapezius, really the whole trapezius muscle, um, and then wrapping around to the SCM muscle. So, uh, the distal points that you can consider with this are along those channels. And one that I find is extremely helpful when people have pain and restriction rotating to the opposite side, as that upper trapezius starts to fire and becomes painful, it can limit motion, gallbladder 39 is my go-to for it, but not actually strict gallbladder 39. I actually do more of an anterior gallbladder 39, particularly at the peroneus Tertius muscle, which would be anterior to the fibula. That’s the one that I find really changes the upper trapezius. And of course I do needle the Udall locally with that too, but that peroneus Tertius motor point, which is kind of an anterior gallbladder 39, uh, is, is really a key one for me.

Yeah. Uh, another, um, distal treatment that I find works really well for this. Uh, if you do Richard tan balanced method stuff, we’re just interested in some of the other more esoteric channel connections, looking at midday, midnight relationships, um, in thinking of this as a primarily gallbladder channel issue, then often looking for Asher points along the heart channel, heart and gallbladder being across the clock from each other and the Chinese clock. Um, if you find a lot, a line of tender points on the forearm and the heart channel, very often needling, those can help quite a bit with upper trapezius stuff because of that heart gallbladder, the David and I relationship. Yeah.

And I think both Josh and myself are in agreement that local needling is also important and we’re not downplaying that, but just for the webinar where we’re not working with people live, we thought we’d focus a little bit more on the symptoms and the distal aspects. The combination is strongest and local distal. Linda Jason is really strongest. Right. Next slide. Uh, so just some things to look for, and then I’ll cue you into the traps. The symptoms that we mentioned are obviously important, but this sort of, um, upward sloping of the clavicle and where it’s kind of making like a V if it’s tense on both sides, uh, shortened on both sides, but that upward sloping and kind of backwards sloping of the clavicle is something that I noticed and kind of start tuning in with, uh, um, over-correct activity in the upper trapezius, particularly also limited range of motion, uh, um, with turning or lateral flection are keys for, um, kind of finding a restriction in the upper trapezius.

Definitely. I think we can go on to the next one. All right. So the SCM can have a similar referral pattern in some ways to the trapezius. Um, and there are actual neurological reasons for that in one sense, the, both the operatory pier or the trapezius and the STM are both innervated by the 11th cranial nerve in addition from like C3 area. And so, uh, they actually start out embryologically as one muscle, the trapezius and the SCM both. And then as you grow as a, as an infant, as child, as your collarbone lengthens, those muscle fibers separate, um, torn. Now there’s actually a gap between the two, but the, the two share a lot of interesting kind of symptomatology and function. Uh, so in terms of symptomatology, you can see in the picture, the SCM in terms of pain or other types of parasthesia causes mostly symptoms in the side of the head, occasionally one SCM will cause symptoms on the opposite side of the head.

Um, but usually it’s centered somewhere around the side of the face, the ear, occasionally the Vertex, um, the occiput, the interesting thing about the STM in particular, and this is one of the few muscles in the body that has this happen is that trigger points can often cause a lot of symptoms that are trigger points, at least in this muscle. It can cause a lot of symptoms that often don’t seem related to muscle function. So muscle symptoms that often seem like they’re more autonomic nervous system phenomenon in terms of the SCM that can include a wide variety of dysfunctions or symptoms of the sense organs. So you can have blurry vision, uh, seeing things like, uh, uh, other, other types of visual disturbances problems with hearing so ringing in the ears. So tinnitus is a common one feeling of pressure in the ears as feeling like fluid in the ears that isn’t from an actual physiological cause.

And it can cause stuffy nose. It can cause excessive, runny nose can cause excessive lacrimation. Um, it can cause dizziness, sometimes some types of vestibular disorders often have a component of SCM or other neck muscle dysfunction. And so it’s also very helpful when you have an understanding of, of what some of the possibilities are for, um, trigger points symptomatology with this muscle, just start recognizing that with some patients. So for instance, for me, commonly, it’s a patient who comes in with maybe sinus or allergy symptoms and they don’t seem to be seasonal or related to anything particular, just kind of there all the time, very commonly, even just palpating the FCM, all of a sudden will cause one of their nostrils to open. And so sometimes treating the SCM for things that can look like allergy symptoms or like hay fever, if it’s seems disconnected from changes in like pollen levels can be something good to look for.

Um, thinking of this, uh, I very commonly end up treating distal points along the stomach channel for this. Um, and also interestingly, the UBI channel, this is not something that if you’re, if you’re only looking at regular channel pathways, you’re going to normally think of, but if you look again at the sinew channel pathways, the UV channel is one of those ones that has pathways that go far away from where the standard kind of channel normally goes. So there’s a, an aspect of the urinary bladder sinew channel that falls up the lat comes across into the Peck and up the neck. And this comes from an aging, just Brian and Matt have actually mapped it onto particular muscles. And so sometimes treating the SCM as a urinary bladder, senior channel muscle can be really helpful. You’ll be 60. I use UV 63 a lot with that sometimes if it happens to be tender or something, or you’ll be 57 or 58. Um, so that’s another fun aspect to that. Uh,

As in young energy, you know, coming up the UV channel. And I, I find when it is, you be an often that has dysfunction associated also with the upper traps, the lower traps, you know, when those are all kind of activating together as that sort of, you know, tension building up the body is where I really see that UV connection.

Absolutely. All right, let’s do the next slide. Um, I I’ll just briefly talk about this before, because we’re not, cause this can muscle can be a little bit harder to examine. Um, partly for safety reasons, because you’re talking about a muscle that is, fascially bundled up with a carotid artery and a lot of other kind of neurovascular structures right near there. Um, most of the time when I treat this, although I do needle it with retention, the way that, um, you will learn in the sports medicine program where essentially needling from stomach nine back towards like small intestine 16 or that area, um, or doing, uh, dry needling, which is a little bit more, requires a little bit more care because your piston and kind of moving the needle in and out, but really learning how to manually release this muscle first, um, and getting really comfortable with the palpation, grabbing the muscle, separating it from the neck and being able to isolate the fibers while you’re pressing on them. Getting very comfortable with that before you start needling, it is a really good idea. Um, anything else kind of in general to say about palpating and treating that muscle that you want to add? Brian,

And then I think I agree with that, uh, um, manual work. If you’ve not used a needle in this muscle, get in, Hey, you’ll get a lot of benefit from, uh, doing the manual work. It’s it’s, um, it’s one that, uh, does well with manual work, but it gets your hands acclimated to that ability to sort of pull the muscle away and feel the, the, how far, how deep that muscle goes and where it is in relationship to other structures. So that’s very important.

Yeah. And I’ll, I’ll say that when I teach this material at school out here in Seattle, uh, the first thing that I have students do for the first year of their education before they do any needling of any of these is they learn manual releases for all of these muscles, because they’re especially as an acupuncturist, if you don’t get a lot of chance to practice specifically palpating muscles, like we’ve talked about, um, it can be very difficult to just start needling them. And so I want to make sure that like my students in particular have of experience with manual palpation and treating the muscles just with their hands first cause then growing into the needling is actually relatively easy.

We’ll say something interesting about the SCM is a two headed muscle, S S C M Sterno and uh, clavicular heads, both attaching to the mastoid process. Um, the channel relationships as the sternal head tends to be more associated with the stomach channel and the [inaudible] had more associated with the sand gel channel. So if you go back and look at the club, vicular had distribution in particular, you’ll see that it does refer deep in the year. And that’s often what people, when you’re working with, it’s like, oh, I feel that in my ear. And that’s the one that has more of a tendency to cause things like, uh, postural vertigo. And, and, um, the point is, is if you look at that clavicular head in particular and then go think about points like San Jo three or sand JAL five, and the relationship of the sand Dow channel to the year, it’s again, one of those areas where you can start to see a little parallel between channel theory and trigger point theory.

Yeah, definitely. Right. Next slide. Yeah. Why don’t we

Get to, I think we’re there. We have Josh and myself knew we had a lot of information and weren’t sure we’re going to get through it all. I don’t want to downplay levator scapula. It’s such an awesome muscle to be familiar with. Um, but let’s go pass this one to, uh, pass this and we’re going to go, I think, to infraspinatus Josh, why don’t you take infraspinatus?

All right. So this is along mean all these muscles. This is going to be true, but the infraspinatus along with like the upper trap and the, um, SCM are ones that if you just build your practice around treating like just this muscle, you would still be incredibly busy and have lots of very, very happy patients. Um, so this is one of the most common areas for trigger points that need to be treated for almost any kind of shoulder joint dysfunction, but also, uh, very commonly for pain in just pain in general in the front of the shoulder, but also down the arm, even all the way down to the thumb fingers of the hand. So the, the most common location for the referral for this one is deep pain in the front of the shoulder. And this can often feel like mean patients will often describe it as like a toothpick kind of sensation around like the large intestine, 15 area.

Um, very commonly they’re going to come in and be told they have bicipital tenor synovitis or bicipital tendonitis because the pain often occurs right over the biceps tendon as it’s going through the, the bicipital groove. Um, this is really a small intestine sinew channel muscle, even though the most common referral pattern is down, essentially the large intestine and partly the lung channel and the best way to treat this distally is usually through small intestine channel points. So a small for can be helpful. Um, most of the time I’m using essentially small intestine three and a half, which is the motor point for the abductor digiti [inaudible], um, kind of right between it’s like the large intestine, four of the small intestine channel, essentially kind of right in the middle of that, of the metacarpal, uh, bone there, where the muscle is. Um, but again, this is one of those muscles that if you get good at palpating, it, uh, for any kind of shoulder problem, this can be really helpful to treat.

And not just because of the referral pattern, another very common issue with any kind of shoulder problem is the biomechanical dysfunction that happens. Even if just someone has mild pain, they start kind of using the shoulder a little bit differently. The, uh, the strain of, of even just raising your arm or whether it’s something like playing tennis or reaching up for a can of tomato sauce in your pantry or something like that. When you have pain from any cause for the shoulder, it starts altering the biomechanics of the scapula. Often the scapula doesn’t move as well, and the rotator cuff muscles, and have to do extra work to kind of stabilize the head of the humerus and to kind of make sure you have the as much arm elevation as you need. So usually the first thing that happens is the rotator cuff muscles of which the infraspinatus is one start developing trigger points or other dysfunction. And so regulating the relationships among all the rotator cuff muscles, which usually involves infraspinatus and also subscap, which we’ll get into in a different discussion, um, can be incredibly helpful, um, for just a wide variety of not just referred pain issues, but also any kind of glenohumeral, biomechanical issue.

Anything to add to that, Brian. Yeah, I see an X on there that I think is an artifact. I might’ve put an X on SSI 11 because that’s such a common area of trigger point formation, even that could be anywhere in the muscle and moving that image around. I think there’s a little artifact there. So don’t go looking for a trigger point in the infraspinatus off of the scapula. That’s an extra price on the top the top. Right.

Okay. Well, you understand that, that be more than that. All right. Uh, next slide. Uh, oh yeah, yeah. As soon as some examination infraspinatus, so often anything that’s going to stretch the infraspinatus, it’s an external rotator. So usually end range of internal rotation or not even end-range of it’s really severe. So reaching behind your back, like to get a wallet out of your pocket, unstrapping a bra, but also having the muscle contract fully can also often cause a pain. So external rotation often that’s going to be like brushing your hair right. Going up into this motion was causing contractually external rotators. Um, so that’s a general rule of thumb with points is that the pain can be brought on either by fully stretching the muscle or by contracting the muscle. So it’s another thing you have to really start to understand work doing this kind of work is what muscle functions are and for any given motion in one part of the body or when joint, which muscles are contracting, which muscles are stretching. So understanding agonist, antagonist relationships, um, can be really helpful in diagnosis, as well as treatment planning in terms of figuring out what spinal levels you want to add to help kind of, uh, normalize muscle function,

Right. Then you can go to the next one. Yeah. And I think we’ll just go through these quick, cause I know, uh, uh, we’ve gone a little past the time that we were hoping for a work around and talk all day, but I know some of you guys probably need to get back to work. Um, so quadratus lumborum is such an important structure. And the referral that you can see is, is kind of generally at that iliac crest region down towards the greater trocanter, uh, deep into the glute area, it’s such an important structure to learn how to needle, especially in a class setting, um, for, uh, uh, to be able to, uh, work on directly, uh, just because it’s so indicated and so many, uh, types of back pain conditions, uh, the work we do in sports medicine acupuncture would probably surprise a lot of people.

If you haven’t heard this already as a, we see this as part of the liver send new channel. Now the liver sinew channel ends at the groin, but if we were to follow that myofascial plane up from the ad doctors going right in that iliac fossa, um, its continuous myofascial plane into the iliac as muscle that would continue right into the quadratus lumborum. So even though you have to get to it through the back, um, it’s really a very deep core structure on the plane of the myofascial, send you a channel of deliver, uh, channel liver network and liver five. And sometimes even adding liver five with liver three as a combo is just a really magical combination for, um, reducing pain in the, um, quadratus lumborum again, a local needle is so important there, but uh, oftentimes just from palpatory pain, liver five and, and um, adding liver three, we’ll reduce it by 50% you go back and palpate afterwards you’ll find that that the pain is reduced by 50% just with those points. And they often, especially liver five becomes very reactive, very tender, very easy to find when the quadrant is some farms under a lot of pressure, a lot of stress.

Yeah. And I would just add, if you treat low back pain, get to know the QL, it’s a, it’s one of the most important muscles along with like the, so as to treat for any kind of low back dysfunction yeah.

Then attaches above into the 12th rib leads right into the diaphragm. So it’s kind of starts to get getting you into that visceral core of the body. Um, so elevated ilium, the next slide is showing, uh, that’s just measuring the helium from the side. We’ve talked about that a lot, various other, um, myself and various other webinars. Um, it’s on our sports medicine, acupuncture, uh, blogs, you’ll see blogs on Anjana syndrome and stuff like that. And it’ll go into that in a little bit more depth if you want to reference those. So let’s look then at the glute medius and minimus, we’ll skip this one, so right. And to medias, why don’t you finish these up Josh? We could probably even look at them as a pair.

Yeah. So this is another one of those long with the QL and the other ones. This is one of the really important points to treat, um, this in the minimus, uh, really for low back pain in addition to hip dysfunctions. So in Trevell often she talks about the referral pattern for the glute medius, which is the larger, more superficial lateral hip muscle primarily. Um, Ady ducts the hip. Uh, the referral pattern generally tends to be somewhere around the sacrum and the iliac crest and a little bit around the gluteal area itself. And then if you go to the next slide that the minimis, which is deeper, kind of underneath the, uh, the glute medius kind of closer to the ilium, um, slightly smaller in scope that the minimus tends to refer down the leg and can really mimic sciatica or any other kind of an L five radiculopathy in practice.

I’ve found that it seems like the glute medias can also refer down the leg like this. Um, I’ve had, I’ve had treated some patients where I know I’m treating the glute medius cause I’m nowhere near deep enough or I’m like right at the iliac crest and they still get the referred pain down the leg. So basically the, really the significance of this muscle or this pair of muscles to me is really this particular referral pattern. And aside from, um, the biomechanical aspects of it as an add doctor, one of the, it’s the really important muscle for stabilizing the pelvis. Every time you walk and take a step, right? If you understand a little bit about orthopedic medicine, you know, the Trendelenburg sign, have someone pick up one foot and look to see if like, if they’re standing on their right foot, if the, if the left side of their pelvis drops, when they stand, they kind of like sag a little bit that’s culture and Ellenberg sign, it’s a sign of dysfunction and, and not a lack of firing of the gluteus medius and minimus.

Uh, and that has repercussions for postural and movement function throughout the rest of the body, along with the QL and muscles in the neck. Um, but aside from those structural issues, the pain referral pattern for this, if you learn to recognize it and then to treat it by treating these muscles up around between like gallbladder 29 and gallbladder 30 in that area, uh, this can mean potentially even have some patients, you know, keep them from getting unnecessary surgeries. I’ve had patients who have been told they had, they needed like a spinal fusion, things like that because they have pain radiating down the leg. We treat the glute medius and minimus and their pain goes away. Right? Cause it’s really, really common for trigger points in muscles for number of reasons that I can have an entire lecture on that. Even in Western medicine circles, they get ignored.

And for some of the muscles like this, where the implications of not realizing that it’s a muscular issue are the implications when there’s something like getting a surgery to fix the problem, uh, that can become a really big issue. That can be very important to the patient. So learning to recognize these, uh, you will, if you start treating this type of thing, have the experience of having, uh, the patient, um, realize they maybe don’t need this very invasive surgery that is that they’re planning to have. Um, just because they’ve been told by one person like an orthopedic surgeon that you need to have like a spinal fusion. So that’s one of the, this was one of the really important muscles that I find for that issue in particular. Right?

Yeah. And it’s also becomes dysfunctional with, uh, frequently with the quadratus lumborum. So even needling, sometimes QL will refer down the leg because of that stimulation from QL into its referrals zone at the glute medius minimus region, and then stimulate, you know, it’s almost like a transfer through that. So, um, but, but those are very, um, very often in dysfunction together. And lo and behold, we have a liver and gallbladder relationship then. So a consideration yeah. Consideration of liver five, uh, and gallbladder 40 source point to help, uh, kind of build energy. And the gallbladder’s a new channel for these muscles that tend to be inhibited and pain generators when there’s inhibition, not always, but that’s the tendency and, uh, liver five to help with that more overactive, uh, add doctors. But we talk more about the quadratus lumborum so QL and add doctors on the liver test and new channels. So something to consider with that really a great combination. All right. Well, I think that, uh, thanks for bearing with us already. We took a little time with that, but, um, it was a pleasure working with Josh and tune in next week for, uh, Jeffrey Grossman’s, uh, presentation. Uh, and thanks again for everybody for coming. Thank you, Josh.



Callison-LauHD05052021 Thumb

Tibial Stress Syndromes (Shin Splints) – Callison/Lau



“…we’re from ACU Sport Education and the Sports Medicine Acupuncture Certification Program. Um, we’re going to talk today about tibial stress syndrome.”

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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hello everyone. Welcome to our sports acupuncture webinar. My name is Matt Callison. I am Brian Lau. We want to thank the American Acupuncture Council for sponsoring our, our sport, our sports acupuncture webinar here. Uh, we’re from ACU Sport Education and the Sports Medicine Acupuncture Certification Program. Um, we’re going to talk today about tibial stress syndrome. So let’s go to the first slide please.

So since spring has sprung and we’re quickly approaching summer, we’ll start to see patients that are coming in with a tibial stress syndrome or the layman term for this being shin splints. Uh, people are trying to be able to get in shape. And so this is a common, very common overuse injury. So, uh, Brian, we’re chatting just last week. We, uh, we just published our module three lower extremity online recordings through net of knowledge. And we were talking about what we could actually grab from that since it’s so fresh in our minds and tibial stress syndrome was, was the first thing that we thought about. And so this is actually a, uh, it’s a fun topic because it is something that most of us most acupuncturist to see clinically. And there are some techniques that we have found work extremely well for this. So, uh, before we jump into the first slide there, Brian, do you want to say anything or do you want to go right into medial stress syndrome?

Uh, I’ll say something simple and that is, uh, this particular topic is one that I’ve dealt with, uh, not for a long time, but when I was in high school, I was a wrestler and we used to do a lot of drills on a hard floor running drills and these wrestling shoes that had zero support. Um, they’re not, you know, they’re designed to be on a mat, right? Not on, uh, not for running shoes, but sometimes being young and stupid. We were lazy and just wore the same shoes as we went out and did running drills and exercises and sass. I remember at the high school, this was, uh, something that I didn’t have horribly, or it stopped me that it was quite painful. So I know this one personally, uh, fortunately I haven’t dealt with it for, uh, most of my adult life


Midnight. And then that I’m ready to roll. All right. So should we go to the next slide and Brian, you want to take it away?


As Matt mentioned, that student’s lens is kind of the layman term, uh, for medial and anterior tibial stress syndrome, I’m going to start the discussion talking about medial tibial stress syndrome. So that’ll affect the, the sort of medial side of the tibia, and we’ll look at the anatomy and kind of mechanism of injury for that. Um, and then, uh, I think Matt will take it, uh, from anterior

Tibial stress syndrome, but collectively people refer to these as shin splints. Um, it’s an overuse injury inflammatory condition that involves micro tears and either the myofascial origin. So the tibialis anterior that would be for the anterior tibial stress syndrome or the tibialis posterior for the medial tibial stress syndrome. Uh, those muscles are along the shaft of the tibia. So let’s, uh, go to the next slide and we’ll jump into medial tibial stress syndrome. So immediate tibial stress syndrome, uh, the pain and tenderness is found on the medial really at the posterior medial aspect of the tibia, you know, on the sort of the yin channel side of the leg. Um, so on the medial portion of the tibia, just really on that most posterior aspect. So that would be along the liver channel. Um, and we’ll talk a little bit about the channels on this slide, but, um, it’ll be usually the pain is, is level with the area between spleen eight and spleen six.

That can be a little less than that. It can go beyond those boundaries, but that’s the typical region that it covers. Uh, so that’s the area that people will tend to have pain that they’ll, um, they’ll be complaining about, um, in terms of channels. When we get later in the presentation, we’re going to be looking at a myofascial release technique. We’re gonna be looking at an acupuncture, of course, but then we’ll also look at the myofascia release technique. And in that, uh, particular associated technique, it will be in reference to the spleen, send you a channel. So this injury and the pain is a long that distribution of the liver channel, but the channels, aren’t just a line along the body. You know, they’re not only on the surface, so to speak, you know, we’re taking a needle or we’re penetrating the skin and where that needle goes can be, they’re either more deep or superficial.

So if we were just to glance at this image from mats, a text, a sports medicine acupuncture, um, and look at the arrows, the arrows are pointing to the tibialis posterior muscle, which is what attaches to the posterior surface of the tibia. And that’s, what’s going to pull excessively, or when it does pull excessively on the tibia and you create little micro tears there, that’s going to be what contributes to the medial tibial stress syndrome. But if we look at where those arrowheads sit, not what they’re pointing to, they’re pointing to tibialis posterior, but where do they sit? There’d be another muscle there. Um, that’s not shown in this illustration because it’s, it’s highlighting the relevant anatomy of the tibialis posterior, but that muscle that’s just medial to the tibial. The tibialis posterior would be the flexor digitorum longest. And then if we go lateral on the other side and the lateral side of tibialis posterior, it would have flexor hallucis longest.

But if we come back to that medial side where those arrow had CIT, uh, that would be flexor digitorum longest, that’s actually part of, as we define it in sports medicine, acupuncture, part of liver sinew channel, whereas the tibialis posterior a little bit more anterior, um, and a little bit more in the middle part of the tibia, you know, lateral to the flexor digitorum longest is the tibialis posterior as part of the spleen sinew channel. So depending on the depth that the needle is reaching, uh, we’ll also determine really which at least from a sinew channel perspective, what, uh, uh, channels being, uh, affected. Uh, so we’ll look at, at that aspect as we’re doing the myofascial release technique and we’ll discuss it, um, also, uh, in terms of the channels when we get to the acupuncture portion, but just a heads up, and I’ll re refresh that when we get back to the myofascial release techniques, but this one’s talking about the anatomy and that’s the tibialis posterior, that’s what the arrows are pointing to note that the tibialis posterior comes down, the leg becomes a little bit more medial around spleen six, and then look at how it attaches onto the foot and how much of a support mechanism it creates on the arch of the foot.

It’s really the Keystone muscle for that. Uh, at least from an extrinsic, from the muscles that are in the leg for creating arts apart in the foot. Uh, so I kind of think about the aspect of how the spleen can lift and this a spleen sinew channel muscle is really a prime lifter of the medial arch. And I, I see that as one of the spleen functions to have lifting, you know, in this case of the foot. So if we can go onto the next slide


So a medial tibial stress syndrome, like we said, involves the tibialis posterior muscle commonly occurs, uh, occurs in individuals who are moderately to severely over pronated. Um, because of that line, Nepal, that we were just looking at how much that, um, tibialis posterior influences the lifting of the arch, when you’re going to the weight bearing and the foot hits the ground, there’s a normal pronation, you know, the foot, the arch is going to drop and that tibialis posterior is going to be elongated, but there’s normal. And then there’s, overpronation where it’s just like a flat tire. And that Tim posterior, it gets pulled really excessively long, probably a little bit in a more of a charring standpoint. So it doesn’t have that normal elongation where there’s a little tone there and it kind of checks, it keeps that, that, um, pronation and check, it keeps it from going too far out of the boundaries in this case, it just flattens.

So if you were to look at these images here and just glance at the runners, if we can see from the waist down, uh, notice which one of those, you know, they’re not all hitting, they’re not all in the, in the weight-bearing part of the gate, but some of them are which ones do you notice, or which one do you notice that really highlights that collapse of the medial arch? I’ll give you a second just to glance at that, but you can look at the front person, you know, th the, the weights falling to the medial arch that’s normal probation, but if you look at the person just behind him, right in the middle of the shot, um, it looks like I can’t tell what the number is 71 possibly, uh, with delusional shorts on yeah. Blue shorts. Um, you can see how much farther that person’s going into pronation and imagine that dropping of the medial arch and how accessibly that would be pulling on the tibialis posterior. Um, so people with foot overpronation is going to be a really key thing that you’re going to notice. That’s going to affect things like a medial tibial stress syndrome. Um, it’s very common with runners that accounts for approximately 13 to 17% of all running related injuries. So it’s a pretty big one. You’ll see it as the prime complaint, or at least a secondary complaint in your practice. Um, you know, frequently, if you haven’t already anything you wanted to add to this format.

Yeah. Brian, I just want to reiterate what you’re talking about with the spleen function being, lifting the tibialis posterior, or this is something that we talked about in December webinars through the American acupuncture council. It will be spoken about it has planets and the number of different injuries that can actually occur from that. And we actually spent a bit of time asking practitioners to look for, um, any time of earth signs and symptoms, spleen and stomach that may be actually contributing to some of the musculoskeletal pain, because with any muscle skeletal injury, there’s always going to be some kind of [inaudible] component, either that the organ and the channel has directly effected that or that the organ systems are deficient and not controlling inflammation very well. So there’s always some kind of [inaudible] component for the TCM practitioner to take a look at that. So that was the December, uh, webinars, something that you, you guys may want to check out on PEs planus, uh, Brian talk right now, but the tibialis post here. But if we look at that person with the blue shorts as well with the tibialis anterior, that will also end up being elongated with overpronation. So we’ll talk about the tibialis anterior, just a little bit, Brian, back to you.

Yeah. Yeah. And just the foreshadow that that’s going to be the stomach Cindia channel. So now we’re talking about spleen stomach and, and often how those correlate again, from a Zong Fu perspective, how frequently those, those two organs are so integrated, you know, that compared to other internal, external parents, those two are just like really functioned quite often together. And their disharmonies are often associated, um, both from a musculoskeletal, but even from his own food perspective. So I’m curious Matt, about the, the, um, long food perspective. I feel, you know, doing Chicano practice Tai Chi can be really any physical activity. If you take time to strengthen the arch in my mind, I feel like, and I see this to some extent play out though. It’s a little hard to, to test for, but, um, but I feel like you’re strengthening this lean channel. Sure. You know, at least the component that’s related to the foot, but I feel like that’s, that’s strengthening and calling on extra blood flow to that area, more communication with the nervous that that starts to be, you know, at least a component of, of strengthening tone to find the spleen. So even from his own food perspective, that, that, um, improvement of health for the floods can also have a, um, uh, regulatory effect on the whole system.

Yeah. And that’s through any channel, right? I mean, if you have a, um, excess gallbladder or excess excess liver and deficiency in gallbladder by exercising, the hip AB doctors and 80 doctors, it does help to balance that particular aspect. In fact, you can, you can feel the pulse prior to the exercises and feel maybe a sharp edge to a pulse. Some people would call that a winery recalls and then have the person do hip AB duction, 80, the options, and it softens the pulse. And that’s just one example. We could also talk about subscapularis and Terry’s minor, you know, again, but, but Brian’s point here is that how important it is to be able to prescribe exercises to your patient. And these are more webinars, isn’t it actually, how important is to prescribe exercises to be able to compliment your acupuncture treatment based on your differential diagnosis for TCM differential diagnosis? Sorry, Brian,

That’s good. Yeah, I think we’re ready to jump ahead. Next slide. All right. So some differentiation, because there’s more than one thing, uh, you know, fortunately, or unfortunately, fortunately, because it makes us put our detective hats on and makes life more interesting. Uh, there’s more than one thing that can cause pain in this region. Um, so if anytime, somebody comes in with pain and we just like, ah, medial tibial stress syndrome, uh, we’ll get it sometimes. And we’ll miss it other times because sometimes it’s not medial tibial stress syndrome and a common very, very close. I mean, you know, within probably less than an inch, uh, of, uh, uh, posterior to this where there’s going to be pain would be a solely a strain. So just off, you know, not up against the bone, but just off the, uh, the bone just posterior, um, there’s going to be a, uh, painful when there’s a solely a strain cause the soleus is a pretty wide muscle and it covers a lot more territory, both medial and lateral than the gastrocnemius.

So this would be, again, this is, uh, channels are a little odd in the, in the leg compared to the rest of the body because it’s along the spleen channel, but the soleus, again, as we have it defined and, and a sports medicine acupuncture would be part of the kidneys in new channel, but we’re on, you know, in this case, the pain that often is going to be apparent is really pretty close to that. Um, kind of most medial edge of the solely, as you know, this only has covers that whole posterior portion of the leg. So it’s a big muscle. And, uh, the bulk of that solely is really, it would be the kidney sinew channel, but the distribution of the pain is going to be really along more of this spleen channel, just posterior to the, um, often again in that region of spleen eight, but that through spleen seven, it’s probably not going to go down as low as spleen six. Um, so something to be aware of, you know, if you’re palpating to help confirm the pain and not so painful right up against the bone, but you back off, uh, what would you say Matt, about half an inch, an inch at the most? Yeah, yeah.

A quarter of an inch sometimes.

Yeah. And then that’s where, Oh, you know, that’s where the pain is. That’s you, you have your fingers right on it. That starts indicating more of a soleus, uh, uh, strain. And, um, it’s pretty close, pretty close in terms of their description of where it’s going to be. So something to look for, uh, uh, that can help differentiate the pain and that’s going to be a different channel correspondence. It’s going to be different, uh, uh, treatment. We’re going to stay with medial tibial stress syndrome for today, but it’s good to differentiate. Can I add something to that, right? Absolutely. Please. Yeah.

So we can use, this is something that we’ve talked about in the past before where we talk about it quite a bit actually is, um, acupuncture as an assessment. This would be when you’re in your assessment. Uh, part of the, um, treat of the clinic, uh, patient visits are for the patient visit and you’re trying to figure out, okay, this is a solely extreme, it seems like it’s going to be more painful. And it’s bound up in that mild fascial tissue about a quarter of an inch away from the bone. Um, we’re saying that it’s more of the kidney, mild fascial gene, Jen, but it’s also the spleen primary channel. Okay. So where’s the stagnation. Is it in the primary channel or is it in the soleus, mild fascial tissue? Um, in the kidney, what we could do is maybe needle kidney three, we can needle maybe kidney four as part of the assessment, and then go back to that soleus and feel if it’s quite a bit softer, is there less pain without patient to the patient?

If not, maybe we could needle spleen three and spleen four and see if that moves cheat within this plain channel and go back and out pate. That solely is, um, from my experience, it’s usually going to end up being kidney three, kidney four, and sometimes even kidney five that starts to take pain away from that solely us. But it’s nice to be able to at least put your detective hat on as Brian was saying and figure out actually, where is that stagnation? Is it more in the spleen primary channel or is it in the kidney gene, Jen?

Yeah, maybe we could just throw in an ashy point, uh, or if you’re a little more, have a little more finesse, maybe a motor point if you know the location for the soleus motor point and you’re going to get resolved, but you’re going to increase those results. If you link it with the channel and it start building a comprehensive picture and Madden this image, you can actually kind of see it. You know, we, we highlight this in our cadaver, um, classes, uh, uh, we look at it on a, on a cadaver specimen and you can really see that. Um, but this even just in the image here, you can see it quite well because if you follow the soleus through the Achilles tendon and look at its attachment on the Achilles tendon, um, I can tell you that the solely as partial portion has a much stronger connection into the medial side of the calcaneum attendant onto the calcaneus.

But then, uh, in this particular model, you can see how that links through the fascia of the calcaneus and right into the abductor hallucis, which we dropped straight down from, uh, could be six. There’s a pretty prominent abductor hallucis muscle. That’s, that’s visible, um, here. So, you know, that whole chain is, is really, uh, um, all part of the same myofascial plane of tissue. And, and as Matt was saying, like, give me five, such a strong point. Other other kidney points might be the ones that are really, um, indicated kidney two is the motor point for the abductor hallucis. So there was a lot of pronation that might be willing to consider too. Yeah. A lot of good choices for this, but that’s kind of deviating from the topic of the, of the day. So anything else,

Because we go in a lot more detail on that module three in the anatomy cadaver lab, and talking about that with different slides such and how I’m really how important that is, and trying to be able to balance out that calcaneus with any kind of, of ankle injuries or these technology and such are going to keep moving and we’re going to take all day. Yeah.

Uh, so the second differentiation to, to consider is a tibial stress fracture. It’s it’s, um, often as a gradual onset, it’s a progression of tibial stress syndrome. So, um, uh, the, the, um, when the tibia is excessively pulling and you’re getting these micro tears, especially if the person’s really powering through it and controlling it with then sets is, uh, um, is that a common dynamic, um, to kind of deal with the pain and they keep on working with it that can progress into a tibial stress syndrome where there’s a lot of, uh, starting with a lot of extra osteoblast, the plastic cellular activity, um, that can sometimes show up on a x-ray, uh, frequently can show up on an x-ray. And, um, you can kind of see that little cloudy area where the arrows are pointing to, and that can progress into a tibial stress fracture.

So with that, there’s going to be a really exquisite tenderness at a point specific region on the tibia. So if it’s not responding to treatment there, that that area is, um, exquisitely tender, where you’re palpating, um, even sometimes a very light pressure. This is something to consider and getting some imaging would be the way to go. And I think the next slide shows a little bit more on this map, but if you want to add anything here before we move on, maybe after the next slide. Yeah. Okay. So the next slide. Yep. So that doesn’t always show up on the x-ray because some of that osteoblastic activity is maybe a relatively new, and it hasn’t reached the level where it’s going to show up on an x-ray. So you can’t really rule it out with a negative x-ray MRI will show a little bit more. Um, but, uh, it, again, it’s really, I, I, we, I see it as if it’s not responding and there’s that, you know, points specific exquisite tenderness, that’s the indications that I’d be looking for, uh, that you would want to consider this to be real, uh, stress fracture method. You are going to add something. I think, uh, the GDV, but I think is another good one. Yeah, go ahead. Yep.

Both of these x-rays were from a patients of mine. Um, and when you are suspecting an osteopath increase osteoblastic activity, or even as it progresses into even a cortical stress fracture, um, like Brian was saying, it is exquisitely tender as you’re palpating along the tibia, and you find that spot, there’ll be a fluid within the tissue. We call that chia DEMA. Um, and it just the gentlest of pressure for the patient. It hurts quite a bit. Um, so just know this is trying to go and get some imaging. If it doesn’t show up on an x-ray, then you want to request a bone scan or even an MRI, but a bone scan is usually the gold standard for that kind of thing. If it’s not going to show up on an x-ray, you want to catch that you want to be the acupuncturist that catches this. Um, and, and because this will come into an acupuncturist office, if you are treating musculoskeletal injuries, uh, it’s just something to be able to make sure that you’re aware of anything else be. Nope. All right.

Okay. So now we’re going into a anterior tibial stress syndrome. So this is going to be affecting the tibialis anterior, which is responsible for 80% of dorsi flection. And it’s an incredibly strong decelerator for plantar flection. So you can see this runner, who’s running down an incline, he’s got heel strike. And so his foot is going into plantar flection. So that tibialis anterior is slowing down the ankle and the foot. So it’s, ecentric CLI lengthening. It’s a contraction. So therefore with overused, just like the tibialis posterior, it can have micro tearing some of the fascial attachments or the muscle fibers microscopically can start to tear away a little bit from that bone thing causing pain. Now the pain just like tibials poster syndrome is going to be on the bone. So you want to palpate medial to the stomach channel on the aspect of where the tibialis anterior attaches to the tibia bone.

That area will be tender if it’s going to end up being a shin splints of involving the tibialis anterior. So let’s go to the next slide and you’ll see the common areas to pop it for. This is usually around stomach 37, generally speaking. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it go all the way up to stomach 36 reasons. It’s usually more toward the muscle belly of it. Um, uh, stomach 37 and even just below stomach 39. So again, I just want to reiterate, it’s not on the stomach channel. That’s a different injury. That would be a tibialis anterior strain. So if you palpated on the stomach channel and you feel a fast cycle of tissue, that’s really quite hardened and that’s causing more pain than when you palpate on the edge of the bone where the tibialis anterior, it comes close to, right? So then therefore it’s going to be more of a tibialis, anterior strain.

Why is it important? It’s going to be different needle techniques, same channel that you’re working with, same channel correspondences that you can work with. But yet if it’s the tibialis anterior strain, we’re going to be needling the motor points. Um, and not necessarily the, um, the technique that we’re going to be showing you for shin splints. Now there’s something that we should all be aware of. And maybe you already know about this, but if not, make sure that if the person is talk is, is complaining about anterior pain when running it gets worse during activity, and then starts to go away. When you look at the front of the leg, that anterior, there may be a certain shine to the tissue, let’s go to the next slide.

It could be chronic exertional compartment syndrome. Now this is a pretty serious condition that often requires surgery. Um, I’ve seen this quite a few times at UCS D the treatments that we applied helped with the person, but as soon as they actually started going back into activity, it came right back. Surgery is in my mind, the better way of going with this, uh, chronic exertional compartment syndrome is usually occurring with people that are increasing their training or they’re changing their running terrain. Something of that nature could also usually be brand new shoes, but they’re starting to develop shin splints, anterior shin splints, but yet the pain is going to be more in the tibialis. Anterior is going to be a long, the bone. It’s going to be a accompany, usually with a burning or an aching or a pressure sensation. And a big note here, it’s often bilateral 70 to 80% of the time you’ll have this as bilateral.

So remember that one, that’s a key. All right. And then also with this burning aching and pressure and possible numbness as well, is that it usually will start to go away 30 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes after they actually stopped their activity. What happens is that the muscle tissue starts to hypertrophy from the increased training or from changing the random terrain and at a very rapid rate. And so the fascia tightens quite a bit, and with that increased pressure within that answer your compartment. And now this kind of chronic exertional compartment syndrome can happen to any compartment of the lower leg, but it’s most common in the anterior compartment. So this is why I can kind of mimic this tibialis anterior stress syndrome or the shins anterior shin splints. Is that the, so like I was saying is that muscle will start to hypertrophy.

You’ll get the fascia starting to type, it starts to compress. You’ll have a decrease of the venous return. So therefore there’ll be increase of the interstitial fluid. That’s going to put pressure on the neurovascular structures. Um, it starts to get a lot of compression within that region. Again, you’re going to start pressing against the anterior tibial nerve and the deep peroneal nerve, um, getting the signs and symptoms of burning aching pressure numbness. If you do have a patient with that, you want to refer them out, continue to treat them because you’re going to, you can still help them, but refer them out for further diagnostics with this. Now it can be a very serious condition if you’re going to be decreasing the amount of blood to the area, uh, let’s go to the next slide. This is something that I think is really quite viable valuables to feel the dorsal Punal pulse, which is right next to stomach 42, right?

So this is going to be a collateral branch off of the anterior tibial artery. So if you go just lateral to the extensor, hallucis longus tendon, and just medial to the extensor, digitorum, longus tendon, you want to feel for that pulse, right? So it’s pretty common. Make sure you compare sides, even if you feel the pulse on the same side of the possible exertional syndrome, if it is decreased compared to the opposite side, we think of that as being a symptom, right? So as a pop, sorry, as a possible sign here. So, um, feel the dorsal pudo pulse in these kinds of cases, it’s going to be pretty valuable information for you. All right. So what else do we have? Let’s go next.

Can I say something real quickly about that? Matt is, um, some people, some folks are aware of both of these, uh, situation, uh, conditions, but, um, uh, maybe not. So it’s worth mentioning, you know, compartment syndrome, uh, for those who might be aware of like more of an, uh, traumatic compartment syndrome, where you have something call on your legs, some kind of a weight or something like that, you know, an earthquakes and stuff like that. You’ll see these with people. That’s a much more trauma-based, uh, uh, condition where you get that swelling and that can be an emergency, a really severe emergency condition. Um, this is like that it has the same components in that it’s, it’s, um, it’s, uh, restricting and putting pressure on those neurovascular bundles, but it’s not from, you know, impact like a trauma, like something falling on the leg or something like that. But a lot of people are aware of, of compartment syndrome, and this is notice the difference of chronic exertional compartment syndrome. So just that,

Well, there won’t be blood vessel rupturing or bruising with case. Cool. All right. Thanks, Pete. All right. So let’s, um, start to get into the treatment techniques with this. Um, at UCS, I started an externship for Pacific college of Oriental medicine, which is now called Pacific college of health sciences. Um, this was, gosh, I’ve been doing this for 20 years now and it still is ongoing. So we take the interns from Pacific college and we treat the UCF athletes and, uh, shin splints is extremely common, um, there, so we have plenty of experience, uh, to, to practice a number of different techniques to see what works and what actually doesn’t work. And so, um, I developed the study and it’s, again, it was just a very small study. It was only a three week study. We only had 45 people in the pool. Um, there was three groups in the study.

One was an acupuncture, only study. One was a sports medicine only group. And then there was also a group that was a combination between acupuncture and sports medicine. Now, the protocols for sports medicine was ice stretching and strengthening, and also ultrasound. They were using actually both ultrasound and ice in this case, depending on the patient. So they were doing it using those four things. Then the sports medicine group, um, with the acupuncture sports medicine, we applied the techniques that were about to go over the accuracy techniques in addition to the sports medicine protocols. And then we also had the acupuncture group of suggest acupuncture in that sense. Um, so what we found was that at the end of the three weeks, Oh, there’s one important note is that almost each one of these athletes were taking a lot of assets and they’re taking it, um, during and before, and also after the events, because they really need to be able to compete or they’re going to lose their position on that team.

So, um, and says was, was gobbled down like candy. And so one of the questions that we had with this particular study was that they could go ahead and decrease the amount of end sets if they wanted to voluntary voluntarily. So, um, this was something that we found in the study that, that in the acupuncture group, people were actually not taking the sets and just coming in twice a week for the acupuncture, which was not statistically significant in the other two groups. Uh, so in this article, uh, printed in the journal, Chinese medicine, 2002, so way back when, um, it does show that the acupuncture group was actually far superior and the other two groups, um, really didn’t match up very well as far as getting results. Now, again, this was only a three week study. There was only 45 participants in this. If we made it an eight or a 10 week study, I would think that the other two groups would actually start coming up. But I think there was actually enough evidence to show that these needle techniques that we’re about to get into, um, actually work pretty darn well. Um, and this is something that, um, I continue to use and have been teaching in the SPAC program Ford smack program for a good 20 years now. And, um, so we’re getting a lot of good results with it. So let’s take a look at the next slide.

All right. So the key with this with medial tibial stress syndrome is to palpate where the top of the pain is on the tibia. And then also where’s the lower range, the lower end on the tibia. So you’re going to start your needling at the top, just above the painful area. And you’re going to thread a number of different needles could be eight, could be 12. It could be more depending on how long the area of pain is. So each needle will


And we’ll go in and the other one we’ll actually go right on top of it. So there’ll be continuous needles all along that edge. Now it’s going to be shallow needling, right? And that’s going to be very important. You don’t want to go deep when we did go deep. It actually aggravated the condition. So it’s a transverse needle technique, no more than 15 degrees, right? You want to thread that needle right along the edge of the tip yet, as if it is scraping the tibia, you don’t want it to go too much into the soft tissue. You want it in the crevice, just off of the edge and on that edge of that bone, right along that liver channel, just like on liver five, how we try to be able to scrape the bone fat, think about that with these particular needles, uh, you don’t want the needle at 30 degrees.

You wanted at 15 degrees, 10 to 15 degrees, and then thread that. So they overlap all the way down to low the area of pain. Now match this needle technique with your constitutional treatment. You can also go ahead and treat other points with this. For example, we were talking, um, spleen points because the tibialis posterior is associated with the spleen gene, Jen. So we want to treat spleen points in this case, of course, we want to probably treat stomach 36 for the patient, which is also nice. Cause that’s the motor point, one of the motor points for the tibialis anterior. So to reiterate this needle technique is not the only thing that we do, but this is a successful needle technique for helping to decrease pain. When you are helping to treat this patient now for the anterior tibial stress syndrome, which is the next slide.

It’s the same type of needle technique is the exact same idea. And, but you’re threading in different areas, obviously. So it’s right on the edge of that tibia and medial to the tibialis anterior in this case. So again, this is going to be something that you want to go ahead and treat the person constitutionally with it. And also you want to apply the myofascial techniques that we’re going to be getting into just next, I believe. Um, one important note, if the patient does have foot overpronation that this, these needle techniques will help decrease the pain, but the foot overpronation will need to be corrected or helped. And one way or another through exercises treatment, maybe, maybe the foot is prone is so much that you actually need to be able to get inserts. And that’s something that we actually talked about in that webinar in December. So the foot overpronation does need to be addressed for long-term clinical success. Brian was saying, um, no, I think it’s good. All right. You want to get into the mob passionate techniques? Yeah, sure.

So, um, I guess we go to the next slide. So we have, uh, one, one slide and a video for, um, demand terrier. And for tip posterior, we’ll start with tip posterior. Uh, we have videos for these because as Matt mentioned, um, we pick the subjects that we’ve recently presented on it, and it’s now live on the Neta knowledge, uh, for some of our classes, for the sports medicine acupuncture program. Um, and we recorded, uh, some acupuncture, more distal points for treatment of things in the assessment and treatment of the sinew channel class. But we have a lot of myofascial release techniques in those classes. So we have videos for them, for presenting at the webinars, um, uh, just cause we had better camera angles. We can, we can plan it a little bit better. Unfortunately, we don’t have videos for the acupuncture part cause we we’re, we’re reserving those classes for live classes, just so there’s more oversight.

Um, especially certain techniques require a little bit more oversight where there might be. Um, it might cause damage if people aren’t doing them correctly, we’ve, we’ve reserved those for post COVID, um, to do a in-person. Um, but some of the other classes, we were able to do a online webinar form during this time of COVID. So unfortunately that videos for them, it’s not to say that these are more important than the acupuncture. It just happens that we have videos for them. So let’s use them. Um, so this one, uh, we’re going to be working just sinking deep, uh, behind the tibia. And the goal is to kind of move the tissue posterior to soften those connections of the tibialis posterior, uh, from the tibia, uh, with the caveat that if there’s extreme discomfort for this, you have to use less pressure or maybe start using this technique as the, um, a few sessions in, as the acupuncture starts improving the condition.

So if the person is retreating from you on the table, either soften the pressure or uh, hold this one in reserve for down the road, but it’s usually, uh, able, you’re usually able to do it. It’s a slow technique you’re giving the time, uh, the tissue time to sort of soften and melt a little bit and connected tissue to sort of, um, become a little bit more soluble to go from that more gelatinous, hard state to a more soluble state. So it’s, it’s often applicable, but, um, you might have to modify pressure, especially on this medial surface that could be quite tender. So you’re going be sinking, a soft fingers sink in, take your time. And then slowly moving the tissue posterior as the person does a range of motion with the foot, if it’s too much of a range of motion that can push you out. So, so it has to be a small plantar flection, dorsal flection, very slowly. You’ll see that on the video. So let’s go ahead and look at the video and it’ll highlight that

This is a compliment to the tibialis, anterior myofascial release the technique. Again, it could be one that’s done along with that one, or it can be done separately. There’s various clinical reasons why you might do one or the other. Um, but the same idea exists is I want to move the tissue from the deep posterior compartment from lower down around spleen six in particular, it’ll be over tibialis posterior. I want to move that tissue away from the tibia. And I want to angle my direction down into that deep posterior compartment, multiple muscles there. But my goal is thinking about influencing the tibialis posterior and moving that most anterior most muscle away from the bone and giving more space along the spleen channel and spleen send you a channel. So I’m going to enter in just posterior to the tibia. Spleen six would be a really good starting point to consider.

So we’ll go in the region of spleen six, angling posterior, I’m going to have the patient’s door selection and plantar flection. This one, especially as I get higher up, it might be a smaller if I can get away with a little bit more, well, that might get to the point where it feels like his musculature is pushing you out out of that little Valley, which has all minimize the movement. Reposition slightly superior, six strays towards the table, and then ankle dorsiflexion thinkers. It could be the flat of the failings, same thing. As I dropped behind the tibia, I sink down towards the table and a slide traction, posterior, they’re going to do it ankle doors to flection. That’s almost pushing me out, but I’m going to do it to see if I can open up that tissue a little bit and relax, good up singing down traction, posterior slightly, just enough to give a drag on the tissue call for movement. Could you even consider using the flat on my elbow, but I’d have to be very mindful of depth because this tissue can be very sensitive.

One more

Sink down, traction, posterior call for movement. That’s enough right there. Yep. Too much. And we’ll push you out. So you might have to minimize the movement. Let’s do one final pass. Might be a little bit more on the solely as two, but that’s okay. It’s still opening up that same space behind the tibia. All right. An excellent technique for tibialis posterior syndrome. As the other technique on the stomach channel would be for tibialis anterior syndrome. It’s excellent to open up the ankle dorsi, flection and working on any condition that would be affecting the foot, uh, especially PEs planus. And we can look at a modified technique for past planters specifically.

I think we can probably move on, uh, to the next slide. Uh, that one I think was most relevant for tibialis posterior stress syndrome. Um, and I know we have not unlimited time. So, uh, this is a similar technique and we’re on the stomach. I send you a channel on the tibialis, anterior, very similar idea. I’m going to sink into the tissue. There’s a little bit more meat of the tissue to sink into. We have such a narrow space for tip posterior. You’re buying the tibia to get to that deep posterior compartment, but the anterior compartment we’re really having a little bit more direct access to. And another difference with this one is the tin posterior. I’m just kind of angling and stretching away, but I’m not gliding through the tissue so much because then I would just be gliding through the soleus. So it’s, it’s more of a traction. Whereas this one I’m going to actually glide through the tip anterior, but at the same goal to help soften those connections to the tibia. So let’s go ahead and look at this one.

We’re looking at a specific myofascial release technique for the tibialis anterior muscle and especially cases and especially useful in cases where it feels like the tibialis anterior. Is it here to the tibia and another condition where you might feel a little bit of a loss of a ballet dance, rigid, tibialis, anterior, and glued and stuck to the tibia. So we’re going to come in with a fist loose fist. My knuckles are going to be right up against the tibia and not driving into the tibia tibial crest, but right up against the tibia as close as I can get to it, I’m going to angle directly down. I’m going to go planning through the muscle, but I don’t want to think about it as a round technique where it pulls the leg into external rotation. I want to think that I’m going straight down to the table and it’ll actually squeeze the leg, push it a little bit into medial rotation, or at least it will influence it towards medial direction.

So again, this way around the leg will pull it into lateral rotation this way, straight down into the table, we’ll push it into medial rotation. So I’m going to contact sync perpendicular into the tissue, ask the patient to do some divorce, deflection toe extension plantar, flection to reflection. Sometimes it’s a little bit faster of a technique, but this tissue feels very stuck here. So I’m going to take my time and let it soften and melt and back out. It’s not uncommon to see some little tracks where your fingers, where it’s a little finger tracks. I can move down a fist length. I can sing stray towards the table, ask for movement and falling at that flood into dorsiflexion and plantar reflection. Again, even if I take my hand away, it actually pushes the leg more into medial rotation because my intention is just straight down. One more pass. You don’t want to go too far down because it can get a little nervy at about mid leg is good. It’s a one Margo plantar flection, and I’m going to do one more pass on the coming back up. You don’t have to do it this way every time, but this tissue felt particularly congested, uh, ankle, Doris deflection, total extension, and then down.

All right, that’s great. So, um, just to reiterate on some of the first technique for the medial side, if the patient is experiencing what you are thinking of osteoblastic activity, where there’s a dime-sized spot that is exquisitely tender, you can perform the technique above and below. It just let pain be your guide. I mean, these techniques are actually very, very useful after the acupuncture technique, um, to help free up that area and increase the circulation. Uh, Brian, anything you want to say before we jump into the exercise now, I think, uh, we’re ready for that. So with the exercise, this is ankle rotation. This is coming from our postural assessment and corrective exercise class in module three. This is a go-to exercise for shin splints. This is something that’s always going to be in. The protocol will be the only exercise. It all depends on the patient’s posture.

Like for example, if they do have food, overpronation, there’ll be a number of different exercises that we teach to be able to, um, use with that. But this would be one exercise we would throw into that protocol because it does exercise all of this in new channels, the yin and the yang sinew new channels with the lower leg. Um, this is an exercise that actually requires quite a bit of concentration. Those because people start to kind of have it, their mind is wandering or the dog comes and licks the patient’s face because they’re on the floor. You know, you have to really concentrate with this exercise. Now in this photo, what you’re seeing is the model, bring the hip into 90 degrees of hip flection, and then supporting that leg so that the tib and the fib are going to pair be parallel with the table.

I’m parallel with the floor. Then you go into ankle dorsi, flection from ankle dorsi flection. You’re going to ask the person to make a full range of motion as if you’re drawing. And Oh, you do that 10 or 15 times in one direction. And then you do 10 or 15 times in the opposite direction. Now to work the opposite side, you’ll notice that the model has Dorsey flection. So this is going to be an exercise that you want to work on both sides. You know, the person’s going to be having shin splints on one side exercise, both sides because there is going to be a crossover neurologically and also with the channels. So this is a really great exercise to really, um, before running and also after running helps really loosen up that lower leg quite a bit, um, before the run. And it helps to, uh, loosen up the leg quite a bit after the run as well. Brian, anything you want to add to that? Yeah.

Yeah. You know, when they’re doing the exercise, I know this is my hand. So you just have to use a little imagination here, but if the person has e-version and they’re already, you know, you can look at the, the video, uh, the webinar we did on PEs planus, we go into it a little bit more than I have time here, but if there are any version of their ankle and foot position is such that it’s going to encourage that, that turning out, um, whether they’re pointing the foot down in the planet reflection or up into door selection, and they have a much harder time going up and in or down and in, which is going to engage, tip anterior and tip posterior. Um, when they do this, they sometimes cheat a little bit, or they’re like a little, uh, a little iffy on the both, uh, down and in and up and end portion of it. But they’re very strong on the up and out, down and out portion of it. You really have to coach them to make sure they’re there fully getting that foot turned in, in both directions, whether they’re going clockwise or counterclockwise. So don’t let them just kind of like, you know, bully it into one direction. It kind of like, eh, not quite there at the other direction, you have to give them a little bit of incentive or kind of bring that to their attention

At least. Yeah. That’s a good point watching your patient, perform the exercise before they go home and do it. And a lot of concentration each time, making sure they’re going into the complete range of motion. If the mind starts to wander, it’s going to be really easy just to kind of flap it around a little bit, which is not really doing very much. It’s not really exercising this. Um, this is also called shin burners. And after doing it 10 or 15 times yourself, you’ll understand why it’s also called shin burners. It’s a difficult exercise. It’s a fantastic exercise, especially for shin splints. Anything else there, Brian? No, I think we are good. All right. So here’s some contact information. You guys, um, uh, thank you so much for attending. It looks like we really went over time with this. And so for you guys that hung out the whole time, thank you very much. Uh, we wanted to thank the American Acupuncture Council again for having us with this sports acupuncture webinar. Um, Brian, it’s always a pleasure hanging out with you and we should say, Oh yes, next week, make sure that you are back for Lorne Brown. He’s going to be discussing some topics, whatever Lorne is going to be talking about. It’s always excellent. He’s got that unique ability to be an amazing clinician and a real, quite an academic as well. So, um, Lauren is a great guy and somebody to be able to listen to.

All right. Thanks. You guys very much. Appreciate it. Yeah. Thank you.