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From The CriticsReviewer: Michelle Finnegan, DPT, OCS, MTC, CMTPT, FAAOMPT(Bethesda Physiocare)
Description: This book offers readers a resource on the work and theories of Vladimir Janda's approach to muscle imbalance, an approach that looks closely at how the sensorimotor system affects movement and syndromes that are chronic in nature.
Purpose: According to the authors, the intent is to "provide a practical, systematic approach to implementing Janda's theories in everyday clinical practice." In the United States, there is little available written information on his concepts, nor are they widely taught, so a book like this is very useful.
Audience: According to the authors, the book is designed for healthcare providers who treat patients with musculoskeletal conditions as well as experts in the exercise field. Although this group would benefit from the book as a resource, physicians who treat patients with musculoskeletal conditions would not find this as useful since movement analysis is not as familiar to them, and experts in the exercise field may have a few struggles with the scientific basis component of the theories as well as with soft tissue assessment, as palpation of tissues is outside of their scope.
Features: The book covers the scientific rationale, functional evaluation, and treatment of muscle imbalances. The last part of the book goes through different pain syndromes in the body to help readers put it all together. Specific topics include research on the transverse abdominus for spinal stabilization, trigger points, and dry needling. The authors do a nice job incorporating research into many of the topics to update Janda's concepts with evidence-based practice. Throughout the book there are pictures, charts, and tables to help readers better understand and visualize key concepts. The sections of the book are structured in a way that clinicians can integrate the information. All the chapters are well organized and easy to follow with many references; a full list of references at the end of the book spans 41 pages. However, there are not as many recent references as one would expect. Additionally, some of the terminology used in discussing trigger points, i.e. related to spasm and hypertonicity, are a bit confusing. This, however, should not limit readers from adding this book to their collection. Overall, it provides a lot of useful information that is different from the typical treatment approaches taught in most physical therapy schools and it can only help give clinicians insights that may help them treat their patients.
Assessment: Overall, this book provides unique and useful information. It is different in that it does not have a biomechanical perspective, which is how many therapists are trained. It offers a perspective that will supplement therapists' knowledge.