If you have had a good year you should have money left over to buy these books. If you’ve had a bad business year you must buy these books.

Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance; The Janda Approach – Page, Frank & Lardner, 2010

Yay. Finally the book that Vladimir Janda would have wanted written after his death. (Pioneers, like artists, often end up more famous after they die – but don’t let that stop us.)

I first became a Janda fan after reading a chapter that he wrote in a book called ‘Muscle Strength’ back in 1993. It included lots of trigger point references. Over time he has been especially well known for popularizing the terms lower crossed syndrome (LCS) and upper crossed syndrome (USC) to explain links, slings, rotations and other connections within the body. He also theorized the fibre makeup of muscles according to their primary function – postural or phasic.

Three of Janda’s former students, all Physical Therapists, have compiled his thoughts, stratagems and clinical methods in this retrospective book. The chapters cover the scientific basis of various Janda theories, evaluation and treatment according to these theories and strategies to help deal with common clinical syndromes. There is also a chapter dedicated to Myofascial Trigger Points from a functional, physiological viewpoint. We trigger point and neuromuscular therapists are perfectly positioned to use this information.

‘Tension-Type and Cervicogenic Headaches’ – Cesar Fernandez-de-las-Peñas, 2010

Fernandez-de-las-Peñas is a regular contributor to the Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain (JMP) and the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (JBMT), the only two journals I really pay attention to.

In this 2009 book the focus is the headache. Tension-type headaches are by far the most common form. They sound innocuous enough but Fernandez-de-las-Peñas and others (myself included) believe them to mimic almost every form of headache including the commonly over-diagnosed common migraine (unlike the classical migraine or cluster headache).

Very readable and very organized, this book is one of the few with a chapter devoted to Neuromuscular Therapy.

Trigger Point Therapy for Low Back PainSauer and Biancalana, 2010

This book is another in the series of self-help books in the series begun by Clair Davies before he prematurely passed. The authors, Sharon Sauer and Mary Biancalana, hosted the very successful 2010 National MTrP Association Conference in Chicago this year. Not only do they write a great book but they also sing and play guitar.

One technique I’ve often used since I first saw Mary demonstrate it is to de-activate rectus abdominis trigger points with the patient in the McKenzie position. Slide your fingers under the abdomen, form them into a hook, and hunt down those taut bands.

The book concludes with a nice selection of Range of Motion Exercises and a discussion of the perpetuating factors of low back pain from biomechanical, biochemical and psychosocial viewpoints.

Skeletal Muscle Anatomy, Function And Plasticity – Lieberman, 2010

I recently blogged about the protein titin. The information came mostly from this book. I think of this book as the missing book. It fills in so many gaps about skeletal muscle. For example, how do nerves know where and how to attach to the precise point in a muscle fiber and what happens if you surgically switch two a motor neurons from different muscles?

The book contains a list of fibers angles of most of the major muscles. Very few are parallel, or at 0°. This is very important to know if you are going searching for trigger points in the mid-belly region. It also has wonderful depictions of cross sections of various muscles that can be stained to show proportions of slow twitch and fast twitch fibers. We need to know this because muscles like infraspinatus that are predominantly fast twitch are being misused with prolonged computer use. The final chapter addresses muscle spasticity, a very important concern for those of us that like to help people rehabilitate from stroke.

Last year I bought and reviewed a disappointing book called ‘Skeletal Muscle, Damage and Repair’ by Peter Tiidus; note the similar title. (See my blog ‘In Defense of Massage’.) This book used far too much ink on DOMS and too little on the mechanisms of structural and physiological damage. The chapters on massage therapy and trigger points were especially weak. I would love to see a rewrite of this book using a formula similar to that of the Lieberman book. The two could be quite compatible.

Myofascial Trigger Points – Dommerholt and Huijbregts, 2009

It goes without saying that if you are studying Manual Trigger Point Therapy as part of Myopain Seminars this book is compulsory. The two sure-fire ways to pass the CMTPT certification are to absorb the contents of this book or to read Jan Dommerholt’s mind. I’d go for the first.

The Case Against Fluoride – Connet, Beck and Micklem, 2010

One of my pet peeves is the blanket rule allowing fluoride in my drinking water. It’s so un-American to not have a choice as to what goes in your water. The debate rages back and forth. Even my own dentist (who I think is great) and I have to agree to disagree.

Challenging the science about the “benefits” of water fluoridation has become much easier thanks to this recently published book. It has received several glowing reviews praising its readability and the comprehensive way it covers the science to date.

What we now have to wait for is the publication of a counter-argument book that ‘refudiates’ (sic) this book and presents a case for fluoride. Don’t hold your breath.

Cheerio & Happy New Year,