Soft Tissue Therapy
Soft tissues include the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, bursa, and cartilage. Each has a specific function.
- Muscles: the main function of muscles is to attach to bones and produce movement
- Tendons: the tendons are the end part of the muscle that is attached to bones
- Ligaments: ligaments hold bones together and provide stability
- Fascia: the fascia is a thin covering of connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, organs, blood vessels, bones, and nerve fibers. The function of the fascia is support and protect other tissues and reduce friction
- Bursa: are fluid filled, sac-like cavities that are located where muscles and tendons move over bony joints (like the hip, knee, shoulders and elbows).
- Cartilage: is strong, flexible connective tissue that protects bones and joints, removes friction and acts like a shock absorber.
Sometimes there can be micro or macro injuries to the soft tissues of the body. An example of a macro injury is whiplash from a car accident. It could also be due to a sports injury, slip and fall, twisted ankle, fall from a ladder or an injury resulting from a weekend warrior project.
An example of a micro injury would stem from sitting in front of a computer for 15 years, repetitive stress from using a mouse or keyboard, playing a music instrument or from a hobby like knitting.
When macro or micro injuries affect the soft tissues, it can cause a variety of problems. Some of these problems include pain, restricted range of motion, weakness, instability, and a possibility of re-injury.
It is important to get a thorough work up so the doctor can determine what tissues are involved, the severity, and any complicating factors that are present. The work up includes checking the posture, range of motion, and palpating each joint and muscle that are involved. The doctor may also do orthopedic and neurological tests. Sometimes special testing (like MRI) may be needed.
After the doctor has a clear understanding of the nature of the problem, then a treatment plan is created.
One of the benefits of soft tissue therapies is improvement in communication between the brain and body. Our therapeutic procedures improve muscle function, coordination stability and balance control. This helps improve your movement, posture and tonus (how much tension is on the muscles when at rest). We do regular re-evaluations to ensure progress is being made.
How do I fix soft tissue problems?
The first step is to discontinue doing activities that aggravate and irritate the affected tissues. Perhaps this means you need to stop golfing for a few weeks and rest your shoulder. Or maybe it means you need to stop playing softball for a while, or rest your knee.
After that, we have a variety of therapies to choose from (as to what would be the most appropriate for your needs). Some options include:
Hands-On Soft Tissue Therapies: These could include acupressure, Myofascial Release Therapy, Trigenics or Active Release Technique). Some of these applications can feel a little sore when you’re getting them. But you’re going to love how you feel afterward. People melt off the table like a warm stick of butter when we’re through.
Scraping Techniques: We sometimes use stainless steel instruments to scrape the tissues, to fix adhesions and “gristle”. This therapy is sometimes affectionately known as the “butter knife technique” because it looks like I’m buttering a piece of bread. Another term for this is “IASTM” (or instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization). Regardless of what you call it, it is a very effective method for getting rid of pain and improving range of motion.
Kinesiotaping: Kinesiotaping is the art of applying special, flexible tape to the skin in order to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, help with stability, and improve athletic performance. It has been used by sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists and chiropractors to improve movement and accelerate the healing process.
If you have a soft tissue injury and you want to take your healing experience to the next level, give us a call and schedule a consultation. We may be reached by calling 412-595-7332.
Soft tissue therapy improves function of the various soft tissues that help control and regulate posture, range of motion, movement, balance and stability. Muscles move bones, and ligaments hold bones in place. To get maximum benefit and full recovery, we utilize soft tissue therapies.