One of the most interesting speakers at the convention was Dr Bernie Filner. This man used to be an anesthesiologist. He met and learned about trigger points from Janet Travell and later delivered 250 thousand trigger point injections, one of her preferred methods of TrP deactivation. After he himself experienced the discomfort of this procedure he looked to find another less painful method to relieve the pain.

Dr Filner was one of the first to start using cold laser or LLLT (low level laser therapy). In just the last 4 years he has inactivated 150,000 trigger point in his Rockville, MD office. One of his patients was Dr Jay Shah. Shah was so impressed with the relief to his heel pain that he began to study the trigger point phenomenon in his NIH laboratory in Bethesda MD. It was Dr Shah who subsequently published his pivotal body of work on the ‘biochemical milieu’ surrounding the trigger point. Remember the hollowed out acupuncture needle?

The cold laser can switch-off trigger points up to a depth of 3 inches, but it can’t penetrate clothing or bone. Dr Filner wants it to be research-tested by Jay Shah but there are no moves afoot. The system can be bought or leased. At present there are none available in the North East to my knowledge. I will be looking into my scope of practice to see if I can legally operate one in the state of Massachusetts. I’ll keep you posted.

Funnily enough, there was another exhibitor demonstrating ‘Shockwave Therapy’. This is another European invention showing promising, but research unproven, results for trigger point deactivation. If all these gadgets prove effective we manual therapists may have to invest to avoid ending up like the dinosaurs. Of course, we will still need educated palpation skills to physically find the trigger point location first.

Dr Filner was one of many presenters who stressed the importance of checking out the feet for hyperpronation. I got into Posture Control Insoles, as marketed by Posture Dynamics, at a JBMT conference in Seattle WA. in 2002. I was convinced of their efficacy and had great results with them for the ubiquitous Morton’s foot condition. The full set of PCI testing equipment has been sitting in my garage since I arrived in MA (we just don’t have any room in our 360NMT clinic rooms). I am going to dust off the box and reacquaint myself with the procedure as soon as I can. This hyperpronation topic is worth quite a few more blog entries.