Before I decide whether to attend a conference, I ask myself two important questions: will the information be beneficial to my understanding of the subject and will I be instituting any permanent changes the following Monday morning? It is often said that if a conference is able to give the practitioner one significant thing they will find useful for the rest of their career, then the weekend is worthwhile.
The first multidisciplinary U.S. soft-tissue conference, more specifically the Addressing the Myofascial Component of Musculoskeletal Pain Conference, is being sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic. The event will be held at the University of Pittsburgh on May 7-8. The conference will feature speakers from the U.S. and around the world. To the best of my knowledge, this may be the first multidisciplinary soft-tissue conference ever held anywhere.
This unique conference will feature both didactic and practical demonstrations. For all practitioners who desire to understand more about their current techniques and want to be exposed to techniques they may not be familiar with, this conference is a must. The organizers of the program, who happen to be chiropractors, have invited some of the world leaders in the field of soft tissue to discuss the various types of manual treatments for myofascial disorders. The morning lectures will be followed by afternoon sessions of breakout workshops, in which the instructors will combine lecture with hands-on demonstration of their respective methods.
Esteemed lecturers include Leon Chaitow DO, ND, from England, who will present an overview of the importance of including soft-tissue manipulation techniques into the manual therapist's clinical repertoire. Dr. Chaitow has published over 70 books including Positional Release Techniques, Modern Neuromuscular Techniques, Muscle Energy Techniques, Clinical Applications of Neuromuscular Technique, and Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Practitioner's Guide to Treatment.
Also speaking is Siegfried Mense, MD, a professor in the Department of Neuroanatomy at Heidelberg University, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Germany, a world authority on the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of muscle pain. Dr. Mense has published over 180 scientific articles and book contributions on these topics. His textbook Muscle Pain is the definitive resource on the principles of the diagnosis and treatment of muscle pain syndromes. His lecture topic is "Peripheral and Central Mechanisms of Myofascial Pain."
Jay Shah, MD, will speak on "New Frontiers in the Pathophysiology of Myofascial Pain: Enter the Matrix." Dr. Shah is the director of the medical rehabilitation training program and senior staff physiatrist within the rehabilitation medicine department at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. He will be discussing the evaluation of myofascial trigger points, the unique neurobiology of muscle pain, and understanding the roles of sensitization and neuroplasticity in generating, amplifying and perpetuating chronic musculoskeletal pain, among other topics.
Terry Loghmani, PT, PhD, is an associate clinical professor at Indiana University's Department of Physical Therapy. She has published numerous articles and textbook chapters on the use of instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization methods. Her most recent paper, "Instrument-Assisted Cross-Fiber Massage Accelerates Ligament Healing," appeared in the July 2009 issue of JOSPT. Dr. Loghmani's interests lie in anatomy and cell biology; at the conference, she will discuss mechanico-transduction and its effectiveness in enhancing connective-tissue healing. She was the original instructor who introduced Graston Technique to the chiropractic profession.
Tom Findley, MD, PhD, executive director for the past two International Fascia Research Congresses, will present "Fascianating" Findings from the Fascia Research Congress 2007 and 2009." Dr. Findley is an active clinician (certified advanced Rolfer) as well as a researcher, and was the recipient of the prestigious 2009 Northup Award from the American Osteopathic Association.
The final lecture will be given by Michael Schneider, DC, PhD, discussing "Systematic Reviews of the Myofascial Pain and Fibromyalgia Literature." The results of his systematic review have been published in JMPT. He will be presenting up-to-date information on these subjects, including the emerging concept of central sensitization and how several subsets of fibromyalgia patients create the need for different treatment approaches. Dr. Schneider, who teaches and does research at the University of Pittsburgh, was the principal organizer of this conference, assisted by fellow DCs Richard Vincent, Thomas Hyde and myself.
In addition to the lecture presentations, there will be two afternoon breakout work sessions. Each of the two-hour sessions features some of the great technique leaders in the soft-tissue world:
- Dr. Chaitow will demonstrate positional release techniques, shortcut approaches to positional release using guidelines developed by George Goodheart, DC, and the use of the technique for treatment of cervical dysfunction and extremity joint pain.
- Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP, developer of active-release techniques (ART), will discuss current thought on how fascia affects diagnosis and treatment, analysis of a golf swing using Doppler radar, breakdown of biomechanics from swing dynamics to individual tissues, treatment of individual tissues, and post-treatment analysis of the swing with Doppler radar.
- Tom Hyde, DC, DACBSP, will discuss and demonstrate Graston Technique and functional and kinetic treatment with rehab, provocation and motion (FAKTR-PM). Dr. Hyde was a consultant to the U.S. Olympic Committee in Florida and the Miami Dolphins, and is author of Conservative Management of Athletic Injuries. He will explain and demonstrate the technique on audience participants who have particular soft-tissue problems.
- Julie Ann Day, PT, will discuss and demonstrate fascial manipulation, as taught by Luigi Stecco, PT. Over the years she has specialized in connective-tissue massage. She will explain the concept of myofascial units united in myofascial sequences and demonstrate the value of manual friction over specific points on the deep muscular fascia, thereby restoring normal gliding between endofascial fibers and intrafascial planes. My last article in this publication was on fascial manipulation, and this will be the first presentation of the technique in the U.S.
- Aaron Mattes, MS, LMT, will present his method of active isolated stretching (AIS), particularly for the shoulder, wrist and hand.
For information on attending the U.S. Soft-Tissue Conference, please visit www.shrs.pitt.edu/MusclePain or contact Dr. Michael Schneider at .
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