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  • Writer's pictureANH Team

Soft Tissue Therapy: What Is It & How Does It Help?

Updated: Nov 1, 2023


Have you been experiencing neck tightness or discomfort? Does your job require you to sit for prolonged periods at a desk? Have you been traveling/ driving long distances and having sciatic type pain?


Do you feel like you need more in a treatment than just the adjustment? We can help!


Ask us about our additional soft tissue techniques done at ANH Wellness.



What is soft tissue and why is it important?

Soft tissue refers to all of our ligaments, tendons and muscles. We tend to have tension and tightness associated with these different tissues and dysfunction among them can contribute to increased pain and joint tension. Many chiropractors believe that stretching and massaging these areas can help decrease pain and improve overall quality of life when in conjunction with a chiropractic adjustment.


What is soft tissue therapy?

Soft tissue therapy involves an in depth discussion and movement evaluation to discuss your needs and goals. The treatment itself may include massage, if it is likely to have an optimal effect on your treatment goals. Your therapist may include other techniques including soft tissue release (STR), Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM), Muscle Energy Technique (MET) and Myofascial Release (MFR). We will then re-assess any movements that are restricted or painful to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.


What conditions can soft tissue therapy treat?

Your performance at work, home, or in sports will be improved with soft tissue therapy. It has a significant impact on helping to manage any injuries, aches, pains, and tensions that might be hindering you.

  • Neck pain

  • Low back pain

  • Sciatica

  • Headaches

  • TMJ

  • Extremity Pain

  • Tendonitis

  • Muscle tightness associated with pregnancy


What are the benefits of soft tissue therapy?

As we lead busier, sometimes less active and more stressful lives, we take for granted the effect this has on our body and become accepting of aches, pains and dysfunction. If changes in movement, stretching or a form of active recovery cannot dissolve a knot, soft tissue therapy is an effective option to use for a couple of reasons.


Soft tissue therapy will improve blood flow to the injured area, increasing oxygen delivery and lowering tissue acidity. It also acts to dissolve any adhesions or scar-like tissues that may have simultaneously developed next to the knot by removing any excess calcium and acetylcholine buildup, which unlocks the way actin and myosin create their bonds (Myofascial Trigger Point).



How can a chiropractor do to help with soft tissue?

At ANH, we focus on soft tissue massage and stretching as a way to decrease pain and improve range of motion in conjunction with chiropractic manipulation. There are a variety of ways this can be done such as using our hands, gua sha tools, massage guns or specialized stretching techniques! This post discusses additional forms of stretching that can be performed when a patient needs a little more help to decrease their pain! Some can also be a great helpful way to help patients who don’t like the noises that happen with neck adjustments. View some helpful tips below!


Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation:

Now those are some big words; more casually referred to as “PNF” stretching; this type of stretch involves a trained provider passively moving a certain muscle to its end range; followed by an isometric muscular contraction by the patient and then repeating.

  • This form of stretching allows the patient to have improved range of motion in various regions that are normally very tense (ex. Adductors, hamstrings and quadriceps).

  • The science behind this involves the use of GTO’s aka golgi tendon organs which are tiny little receptors in all of our muscles that allow them to stretch to a certain point before failing.

  • These types of stretches are more advanced and should be done by a trained provider in order to remain safe and achieve a positive outcome.


Pin and Stretch:

Pin and stretch is a form of musculoskeletal soft tissue work that focuses on “pinning” down a muscle at its pain location and then taking it through the full range of motion. This action allows for a deeper stretch as well as increased blood flow to the area.

  • This form of stretching can be intense but allows for the muscles to loosen more than a typical passive stretch.

  • There is a stretch for nearly all muscles in the body but at our office we love using it to help with neck pain as well as low back discomfort.

  • We work on the piriformis, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, scalenes, levator scapulae, and trapezius to name a view!


Scraping:

This type of technique allows chiropractors to focus on certain muscle groups and helps decrease tension/ tightness within that region.

  • This form of massage is used to break up adhesions in certain muscles.

  • Has been shown to loosen up muscles effectively.

  • The provider can use more or less pressure depending on patient tolerance.


Massage Therapy:

For a more in depth treatment of soft tissue dysfunction patients can also seek out a massage therapist in conjunction with chiropractic treatment.

  • We have a wide variety of providers here at ANH Wellness that can help with your specific issue or goal.

  • Our doctors and therapists specialize in all things muscle and can tailor a massage towards your pain tolerance and/or area of complaint.

  • We have our lovely massage therapist located right in our office!



In Summary

Soft tissue release can be used on both acute and chronic injuries with relatively quick results. It can be beneficial for clients with any level of activity and mobility to treat pain and dysfunction. While soft tissue release can be beneficial in treating many musculoskeletal conditions, it should be used in conjunction with other treatment approaches to ensure a reduction and/or elimination of symptoms.


At ANH Wellness, our doctors and therapists conduct a thorough assessment and examination to identify the source of your pain and limitations. our doctors and therapists perform a comprehensive assessment and examination to determine the source of an individual’s pain and limitations. While treatment may use manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue release therapy, we provide a holistic treatment approach in all treatments to help all our patients meet their goals.


If you are experiencing soft tissue pain, we would be happy to help!



By: Dr. Abby Kellogg

Chiropractor at ANH Wellness


Disclaimer: "The information including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment."


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