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July 2021

Soc Sci Med. 1987 ; 24(1): 43-6.

The treatment of musculoskeletal disorders by a Mexican bonesetter (sobador).

Anderson R.

Joint and muscle pain and dysfunction are treated by massage by a practitioner in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. It has not hitherto been noted that this type of practitioner also treats with joint mobilization and manipulation. During nine months of field observations, patients were examined clinically before treatment in an effort to establish baseline measures of pain and stiffness as well as to confirm the diagnostic conclusions of the sobador. The nature of massage, mobilization and manipulation was then identified. Immediate post-treatment evaluations of range of motion together with patient reports of pain levels provided crude measures of effectiveness. The sobador is found to meet medical standards of practice for safety, efficacy, and cost containment.


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