Soft Tissue Therapy
The treatment and management of pain caused by dysfunction and disorders of muscle, fascia, tendons, and ligaments is called Soft Tissue Therapy.
Why Soft Tissue Therapy?
1 in 3 people experience musculoskeletal pain that restricts their activities of daily living. The muscle system is the largest organ in the body. Our skeleton is supported and controlled by our muscular system. Our muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and fascia make up the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal (MSK) system provides form, stability, support and movement to our body.
Optimal spinal health and joint function is underpinned by strong muscles and resilient connective tissues. However, muscles and connective tissue can deteriorate as we get older. Injuries and repetitive strain can also result in weakening of soft tissues and joints. The most common musculoskeletal pain is back pain which is the leading cause of disability in the world. Osteoarthritis is often involved and this rises sharply after the age of 50. Chronic musculoskeletal pain can have a very negative effect on overall health and quality of life as we march down the road of life.
Over the past 50 years, our team at Burswood Health has developed and refined a system of treating chronic musculoskeletal pain aimed at improving soft tissue health. Soft Tissue Therapy covers a range of techniques such as deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, cross friction, active release, etc. For the past 3 decades we have used acupuncture, dry needling, low level laser therapy (LLLT), cold laser, taping and neurostimulation to enhance the effects of manual soft tissue therapy. Thorough management of soft tissue condtions always involves education, exercise prescription and self-management techniques.
In order to properly treat back, neck and joint pain, you must treat the involved muscles and soft tissues. Therefore, we assess soft tissue health and function in every patient and include soft tissue therapy in almost every treatment plan.
Understanding soft tissue therapy
Our chiropractors, occupational therapists and podiatrists follow clear protocols to diagnose painful soft tissue conditions. The correct term for soft tissue pain is ‘myofascial pain and dysfunction’. ‘Myo’ means muscles and ‘fascia’ refers to the important connective tissue that holds our body together. Acute or chronic muscle strain results in poor circulation, reduced oxygen supply and the build-up of inflammatory toxins. The results in the formation of tense knots and adhesions in the muscles which are called trigger points. Trigger points are always associated with tight and painful muscles. There would be few people reading this who have never experienced tense, ropey neck or shoulder muscles. The relief when someone rubs our shoulders is due to the release of active trigger points which cause the tight knots!
Over time our muscles and soft tissues shorten and weaken; resulting in chronic myofascial pain, stiffness and premature ageing.
It is safe to say that every person who suffers from chronic neck, back or joint pain will have trigger points in the surrounding musculature. Myofascial trigger points need to be effectively treated in order to resolve chronic musculoskeletal pain. Targeted soft tissue techniques can relieve muscle and joint pain by decreasing inflammation, restoring flexibility and improving mobility.
What conditions respond to STT?
Some of the problems that may be helped by soft tissue therapy are:
- Neck and back pain
- Headaches – tension type and migraines
- Sports injuries
- Whiplash injuries - motor vehicle accidents
- Overuse injuries
- Occupational strain – poor ergonomics, prolonged sitting, lack of stretching breaks
Other Pain You Might Feel
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- Shoulder, elbow and hand pain
- Hip pain – osteoarthritis, bursitis and muscle strain
- Knee pain – osteoarthritis, patellar tracking disorders, runner’s knee
- Leg, shin and calf pain – leg cramps, shin splints
- Achilles tendinitis and tendinosis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Stress – lack of energy and sleep disturbances
Including soft tissue therapy in a treatment plan
Our practitioners will make a detailed assessment of your symptoms, health history, past injuries and life style. We then work out a diagnosis and discuss possible treatment options along with our suggestions. We will refer to another health practitioner if a second opinion is necessary or if you require alternative care. Our treatment plans almost always include soft tissue therapy which is aimed at eliminating myofascial trigger points and improving soft tissue health and overall wellness We will also teach you how to take care of yourself with a range of stretching and strengthening exercises.
If you suffer from chronic pain and have never tried soft tissue therapy, contact us to discuss how we may be able to help you live a fuller, pain free life. Call us on 08 9361 2628 and our friendly staff will be glad to answer any questions.
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