Course Notes: Graded Motor Imagery

I recently attended another great course through the NOI Group called “Graded Motor Imagery” (GMI) taught by Bob Johnson. These guys are the industry leaders in all things pain so please check them out. It was great connecting with Bob and learning what I think will be an excellent adjunct to what I am currently doing. So here is the run down on GMI. Overview GMI is a three-pronged sequential process of establishing early, nonpainful motor programming. Johnson calls this synaptic exercise to limit negative peripheral pain expression. GMI is a 3 step process: 1)      Laterality reconstruction (Implicit Motor Imagery). 2)      Motor imagery (Explicit Motor Imagery). 3)      Mirror Therapy. The Neuromatrix Paradigm & Pain States Before delving into the neuromatrix, we first must define pain. Pain is a multiple system output or expression by an individual-specific pain neuromatrix that activates when the brain concludes that body tissues are in danger and action is required. The neuromatrix, like I talk about in this post here, is the nervous system’s coding space and network. It is first and foremost affected by genetics, sculpted by experience, and constantly evolving. It is the entity that makes us who we are—the self. The neurosignature, or neurotag, is an output’s representation in the brain. For example, regions in the brain will activate in response to produce the pain output. This sequence is the neurosignature. Some common activated areas when pain is expressed include both primary and secondary somatosensory cortices, insula cortex, anterior cingulgate cortex, thalamus, basal

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The Sensitive Nervous System Chapter XI: Neurodynamic Testing for the Spine and Lower Limb

This is a summary of Chapter XI of “The Sensitive Nervous System” by David Butler. Intro For today’s chapter, I have decided that the best way to learn these tests is to show you. I will write in any pertinent details you need for a good test performance. The Straight Leg Raise (SLR) SLR hacks. Add sensitizers (dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, etc) to determine nervous system involvement. Add cervical flexion or visual input to enhance responses. Be mindful of symptoms before and after pain responses. If this test is positive post-operation, it will likely be inflammatory in nature. You can preload the system further with cervical flexion or sidebending the trunk away from the test side. Here are some other ways to perform the SLR with sensitizers first. (I apologize for the way the camera shot in advance). For tibial nerve-bias. For fibular nerve bias. For sural nerve bias. Passive Neck Flexion (PNF) Here is how to perform the test. PNF Hacks. Add SLR to further bias the test. Be mindful of Lhermitte’s sign, which is an electric shock down the arms or spine. This is a must-refer sign as there is potential spinal cord damage. Slump Test Here is how to perform the slump. Slump Knee Bend In the book itself, Butler uses the prone knee bend as his base test. However, NOI does not teach this motion as much and now favors the slump knee bend. This movement allows for much more differentiation to be had. And the saphenous nerve

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The Sensitive Nervous System Chapter VIII: Palpation and Orientation of Peripheral Nervous System

This is a summary of Chapter VIII of  “The Sensitive Nervous System” by David Butler. Intro Palpation is a major component to therapeutic touch, and gives us a way to build rapport and interact with our patients. When palpating the nervous system, it is important to palpate in sensitive positions so the nervous system is placed on load. Here are some general nerve anatomical rules. Where a nerve has fewer fascicles and less connective tissue, palpation will be more sensitive (ulnar nerve). Where there is a lot of connective tissue, there will be a more localized and less “nervy” response. Where there is increased sensitivity does not mean there is damage locally. Damage could have occurred more proximally (that whole nerves fire in both directions thing). You must also be mindful that anatomical variations are common, especially if symptoms seem anatomically weird. Here are some of the more common ones: Martin-Gruber anastomosis: Median and ulnar communicate distally. Rieche-Cannieu anastomosis: Deep branch of ulnar and recurrent branch of median nerve. Absent musculocutaneous nerve. Palpation 101 Here are some basic nervous system palpation guidelines. Nerves feel hard and slippery. Palpate with your finger tip or thumb, and follow it proximally or distally. Use sustained pressure up to 30 seconds. Twang if easily accessible. If using a Tinel’s, tap the nerve 4-6 times. Spinal Nerve Palpation Here are the craniocervical nerves. The Trunk Upper Extremity Nerve Palpation Brachial plexus The median nerve The Ulnar nerve The Radial Nerve The Musculocutaneous Nerve Lower Extremity

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The Sensitive Nervous System Chapter VII: Assessment with a Place for the Nervous System

This is a summary of Chapter VII of “The Sensitive Nervous System” by David Butler. Education When it comes to patient education, there are four things that every patient wants to know: 1)      What is wrong with me? 2)      How long will it take to get better? 3)      What can I do for it? 4)      What can you (the clinician) do for it? When we do educate, we must not forget that pain is a biopsychosocial phenomenon and multifactorial. The onion skin model below provides a good relationship analogy for this. The first goal addressed in education is making the patient understand pain.  Patients must realize that pain is the defender, not the offender. It is our body’s way to perceive a threat. Therefore, we must quell this fear before focusing on function. Here are some suggested ways to describe pain in non-threatening ways. Back trouble. Neck discomfort. Twinges. Feelings. When obtaining pain information from our patients, this is something that we do not have to measure. Instead, it is important to look at variables associated with pain, namely. 1)      Geography & nature, aggravating/relieving factors, links. 2)      Mechanism of injury. 3)      Explore how patient’s classify their symptoms (e.g. my joints are worn out), and ask why they think the symptoms still persist. 4)      Consequences of the pain. 5)      Coping types. 6)      How the patient relates to pain (do they get angry or play the blame game). When determining treatment course, instead of focusing on the structure at fault, look at

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The Sensitive Nervous System Chapter VI: Clinicians and Their Decisions

This is a summary of Chapter VI of “The Sensitive Nervous System” by David Butler. Intro All approaches (Maitland, Mckenzie, Mulligan) have myths. The common bond between them all is pain. Today we will look at building a clinical framework with pain as the cornerstone. Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) EBM is defined as a conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making patient care decisions. This concept is not merely reading researches articles, but it combines scientific evidence and clinical expertise. You have to know when to apply what. For manual therapists everywhere, this creates issues and unease. 1)      Decision making moves toward an external body. 2)      Evidence suggests manual therapy improvements are more psychosocial than physical. 3)      A disconnect between researcher and clinician. The researcher thinks: “What does this work contribute to the literature?” The clinician thinks: “What does this work do for my patient?” The movement towards outcome-based therapy per EBM is also problematic for several reasons. 1)      Clinicians begin to think statistical analysis becomes greater than any other form of knowledge rather than complimentary. 2)      Research doesn’t take into account the inherent uncertainty and subjectivity in a clinical encounter. 3)      Good evidence can lead to bad practice if applied in uncaring and unappealing environments. 4)      Outcomes may be coming out too quickly, leading to research development stopping in certain areas. Butler’s thoughts are summed up very nicely when he states it would be a sad day if meta-analyses have the final say instead of exposing

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