Soft tissue therapy
Soft tissue therapy is the mobilization/manipulation of your tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, fat, muscles, fibrous tissues, nerves, blood vessels, synovial membranes, and connective tissue. It goes under many names, but most of us know it as massage.
Your muscles function by increasing their tension and contracting, then relaxing. They get shorter in length when they contract. They may contract voluntarily ie. when carrying out a movement or involuntarily as in response to pain or your body trying to protect itself.
Pain, muscle weakness, a restricted range of motion, and a misalignment of the skeletal system can potentially occur if the muscle loses it’s mobility. This may be to do with the formation of scar tissue/adhesions following injury, or if the muscle is unable to relax sufficiently (for a variety of reasons) or there has been a prolonged lack of lengthening movements to that area. However, there are instances when a muscle will ‘tense’ in response to an underlying problem. Assessment and treatment of soft tissue problems is not just simply massaging ‘knots’ and ‘tension’ away, it is looking at the ‘big picture’. We want to know how the problem has developed and what appropriate action to take. For some, it may be that an urgent scan/xray/medical opinion is needed and massage is the last thing they need. It is more important to know when not to treat. It is also essential that the practitioner has an in depth knowledge of anatomy and knowledge regarding how much pressure it is safe to use in a particular area. We have found that musculoskeletal problems respond better to a combined approach. We use acupuncture/dry needling/electro-acupuncture to address pain and muscle spasm from a neural (nerve) perspective. Blending together an array of soft tissue skills to address the soft tissue interfaces we find is beneficial used in conjunction with other therapies we offer. In our whole body approach to addressing a problem we also need to factor in exercises, posture, biomechanics, muscle patterning and imbalances, pathology, injuries and lifestyle.
Types of soft tissue therapy we use –
- Myofascial release
- Trigger point therapy
- Sports massage
- Deep tissue massage
- Connective tissue massage
- Positional release
- Deep transeverse frictions
Soft tissue injury (STI) is a general term for injuries to the connective tissue. They may take the form of bursitis, tendonosis, sprains, strains and contusions. Following an acute injury a RICE (now changed to POLICE acronym) is advised – see link http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/46/4/220.extract
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