After a sprain, strain, or sports injury physical therapy is often necessary to get you back into shape. One important method used as therapy is soft tissue treatment. Even if you think your injury is purely bone related, it’s important to address the surrounding muscles to prevent pain and loss of movement.
What Is Soft Tissue Treatment
Otherwise known as soft tissue mobilization, this form of hands-on treatment performed by a licensed physical therapist is used as part of the healing process after an injury. The goal is to get your muscles back to peak performance and break up the adhesions that form due to inflammation.
There are many techniques that a physical therapist can use, but all of them employ some form of kneading, pulling, or pushing. These actions are directed at your muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons. If your physical therapist can reach it, they can manipulate it. Some examples of specific treatment techniques include:
- Parallel mobilization is a pushing motion applied to the seams of your muscles.
- Direct oscillation is a rhythmic pushing or “oscillating” of any tissue experiencing restriction.
- Sustained pressure means applying consistent pressure to the target tissue and holding it for an extended period.
- Friction massage requires pushing across the grain of muscles, rather than with that grain.
Benefits of Soft Tissue Treatment
Improving muscle functionality and reducing pain are the two over-arching goals of soft tissue treatment. This can be done by improving the range of motion, lengthening muscles and tendons, and reducing swelling. However, one of the major purposes of this treatment is to break up adhesions.
Adhesions are essentially internal scar tissue. They are fibrous, collagenous bands that can form in between muscles, tendons, ligaments, and organs after an injury. They impede healing and can cause a lot of pain and restriction. If left untreated, they can affect your movement for the rest of your life.
Luckily, these adhesions can be broken up with the correct application of pressure from the outside. Finding and dissipating these adhesions in your body is how soft tissue treatment works. This is easier said than done, so be sure to seek help from a professional.
Where You Can Find Soft Tissue Treatment
Soft tissue treatment is much more than just a massage. Licensed physical therapists go through years of training to learn this method. They are experts on human anatomy and physiology. You need to receive treatment from a physical therapy clinic to be sure you are getting proper care.
If you aren’t sure, many clinics will offer complimentary screenings and consultations to determine what your needs are. Sometimes all you require is some ice and rest, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t neglect your body and seek help from professionals, even for what may appear to be a small injury. You never know what may come back to bite you later if left untreated. There’s no reason for you to remain in pain. Reach out to a Norman physical therapy office to go over your options today.
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