Soft tissue therapy—a type of physical therapy treatment—is the assessment, treatment, and management of soft tissue injury, pain, and dysfunction. Repetitive strain injuries of the soft tissues are becoming increasingly prevalent and can lead to high disability costs.
What are soft tissues and how do they interact with the rest of your body? Soft tissues surround and support your organs and skeletal system—they’re extremely important to a healthy body! They include muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, spinal discs, and fascia—the connective tissues that surround, connect, and support your muscles, organs, bones, blood vessels, and nerves. Soft tissue injury can include injury to any connective tissue.
Soft tissue injuries happen when muscles are abnormally tense or tense for extended amounts of time. Muscles work by contracting—tensing up—and then relaxing. They get shorter when they contract and lengthen when they relax. This contracting and relaxing is what causes movement in the part of the body they’re located.
Chronic problems of pain, muscle weakness, restricted range of motion, and misalignment of the skeletal system occur when the muscle repeatedly doesn’t relax completely. However, soft tissue injuries can happen acutely if you twist your ankle or pull a tendon in your groin.
Soft-tissue mobilization is a manual therapy that we use that relaxes tense muscles, breaks up and reduces scar tissue, reduces fluid build up in the tissue, and stretches or lengthens fascia. Mobilization involves gentle pressure and stretching the affected tissue.
With a thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology, our physical therapist uses a variety of “hands-on” techniques to do a physical examination and assess your overall condition This assessment can identify hot spots and determine the range of motion in your affected joints. From there, you and your physical therapist will create a treatment plan to decrease pain, increase circulation, decrease muscle spasm, increase muscle flexibility, and/or improve overall mobility.
The therapist may utilize massage techniques like effleurage—a gentle gliding over the affected tissue—and petrissage—a kneading manipulation of the affected muscle. He may also use techniques like deep friction and trigger point/soft tissue release.
Please contact us today to learn how physical therapy with integrity can help you.