Using Jones’ tender points as monitors (Jones 1981)

Excerpted from:  (Chaitow, Leon.  Muscle Energy Techniques.  2006, Elsevier Limited.)

Over many years of clinical experience Jones compiled lists of specific tender point areas relating to every imaginable strain of most of the joints and muscles of the body.  These are his ‘proven’ (by clinical experience) points.  The tender points are usually found in the tissues which were in a shortened state at the time of the strain, rather than those which were stretched.

Jones and his supporters have also provided strict guidelines for achieving ease in any tender points which are being palpated.  The position of ease usually involves a ‘folding’ or crowding of the tissues in which the tender point lies.

His method involves maintaining pressure on the monitor tender points as a position is achieved in which:

  • There is no additional pain whatever area is symptomatic, and
  • The monitor point pain has reduced by at least 75%.

Jones advocates 90 seconds as the appropriate holding time in the position of ease.

In the example of a person with acute low back who is locked in flexion, the tender point will be located on the anterior surface of the abdomen, in the muscle structures that were short at the time of the strain (when the patient was in flexion), and the position which removes tenderness from this point will, as in previous examples, require flexion with some fine-tuning involving side-bending and/or rotation.

While Jones’ formula is frequently correct, sometimes it is not, and relying solely on Jones ‘menus’ of points and positions, at those times, can fail to produce the desired results.  To overcome this possibility, it is suggested that the operator develop greater palpation skills and other variations on Jones’ original observations to develop a more rounded approach to dealing with strain and pain.

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