Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Managing an evidenced based practice is an ever-changing landscape. We must constantly be seeking out the best treatment methodologies that will allow our patients the most effective care. This can mean that a referral to another professional is what is best for our patients. Massage is one of the many modalities that is utilized when treating injuries, acute & chronic. There is more than enough research that shows how massage can significantly impact the outcomes of a balanced treatment plan. There is also plenty of research that indicate other methods may be more effective or complementary to a comprehensive treatment strategy.

However, it’s not always so simple to follow the research. Although we have a world of information right at our finger tips, we also understand (or should) that just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t make it true. Therefore, many of us trust sites that specialize in research. Sites such as PubMed are a great place to locate research from all around the globe. They post all if not most of the research professionals will site in their justification of care. This however is not always the safest means of reliability.

I will admit that I am one of the majority who often just read the abstracts and draw my assumptions based upon the results and conclusions stated. I am not an expert at building research studies, most clinicians are not. We depend upon the scientists to deliver sound conclusions based upon valid methods of research. If a study indicates favorability or contradiction to my understanding, I will continue to dig deeper into it for reliability purposes.

A colleague of mine recently posted the results of a study; Shoe Orthotics for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The study concluded, “Six weeks of prescription shoe orthotics significantly improved back pain and dysfunction compared to no treatment. The addition of chiropractic care led to higher improvements in function.”

If you are a chiropractor who sells orthotics in conjunction with care, you would think this is a great display of complimentary care. Maybe you even post the abstract in your office with the results highlighted to reinforce your message. However, if you read the study more carefully, the sub-group in the that received chiropractic care, ALSO received massage and hot and cold packs.

Why didn’t the results read;
“The addition of chiropractic care massage led to higher improvements in function”
or
“The addition of chiropractic care hot & cold packs led to higher improvements in function”?

In other words, how did the researchers conclude that it was the chiropractic care and not the massage and/or hot and cold packs that made the difference?

This is one of 1000’s of research articles available to professionals on well-respected and trusted sites that should be cautionary tales. We should not simply scroll down to the ‘results’ section of a study to determine the outcome. As professionals, we must still read the entire study and make certain that its results are consistent with the actual study.

Ultimately, as I state in all my trainings, a truly evidenced based practice MUST consist of three separate components. Scientific research, Subjective findings and individual patient needs. Reliability on one component more than the others will lead to an unbalanced and spotted approach to your overall care.

Please Hold the R.I.C.E.

By Drew Freedman | December 3, 2022

Please Hold the R.I.C.E. I have been in the rehabilitation field since 1992. Since the very beginning I was always told that when treating an acute injury you should follow the age old acronym of R.I.C.E. or Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The concept was originally introduced by one of the most respected names in…

Have a Brettzel!

By Drew Freedman | November 30, 2022

Have a Brettzel! In the world of flexibility and stretching, there are a bevy of stretches that have likely been shown to you over the years. It’s hard to remember them if you don’t consistently do them and the ones you likely DO recall are the ones that are probably easiest for YOU to perform.…

Take 5: A Stress Break

By Drew Freedman | November 4, 2022

Take 5: A Stress Break I will be the first in line to inform you of the benefits of a 60 minute massage treatment. However, what if your massage is not scheduled for another week or worse, not even scheduled? Well, as a firm believer and trumpeter of self-care, here is a pretty neat trick…

Is it a Muscle Cramp or Muscle Strain?

By Drew Freedman | November 4, 2022

Is it a Muscle Cramp or Muscle Strain? Last week when my daughter walked in from cheerleading practice, I noticed her limping. When I asked her why she was limping, she went on to explain what I often hear and have seen from my athletes.  Having been fortunate to evade serious injuries until this point…

Work From Home Hacks!

By Drew Freedman | April 13, 2020

With so many of you experiencing a new work environment, you are probably starting to notice that many of the chronic aches and pains you had experienced in the past at work on a daily basis, have seemingly disappeared. In their place however, are a new set of sensations we are experiencing due to such…

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

By Drew Freedman | February 14, 2020

Have a ‘sheety’ Valentine’s Day! Today is Valentine’s Day, otherwise known to most as a #greetingcardholiday.  As I walked out of CVS this morning, I laughed at the people who were fighting for position in the greeting card aisle.  Valentine’s Day is about showing love for someone in your life, not elbowing strangers while cursing…

Happiness is Contagious

By Drew Freedman | December 10, 2019

Happiness is Contagious Maybe mom was right. Research suggests that surrounding yourself with friends and family who are happy can actually increase your own happiness. Scientists at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, found that emotions, particularly happiness, have a viral effect in how they spread from one person to another. For…

De-stressing the Commute

By Drew Freedman | October 31, 2019

De-stressing the Commute Turning Road Rage into Road Sage The average American commuter spends an hour a day driving to and from work. During this stressful, stop-and-go time, it’s likely that blood pressure increases, adrenaline begins pumping, and muscles constrict and tighten. By the time you get home, you’re wiped out and grumpy, and you…

What’s the Scoop on your Poop?

By Drew Freedman | October 31, 2019

What’s the Scoop on your Poop? Being the father of two girls, I know I have my work cut out for me. I have come to accept that there are lessons that I can teach my children and there are others lessons they will simply have to learn through personal experience. One of the lessons…

Halloween Hacked!

By Drew Freedman | October 2, 2019

Halloween Hacked Check out these simple hacks! Who among us doesn’t love Halloween. If I am being honest, it used to be me!  You see, I typically found myself in trouble around this time of year when I was in grammar school.  Let’s just say that I wasn’t always motivated to do what was asked…