When you picture going to your chiropractor, what do you see?
Most of the time, people usually think about the adjustments that chiropractors perform. In addition to these adjustments, chiropractors can do much more to help relieve pain, help with injury recovery and specific conditions while also improving how your body moves and functions.
Something I use with almost all of my patients is called Soft Tissue Therapy and it focuses on muscle health. Muscles can show tightness from bad posture, an injury or just from every day-to-day life tasks. This tightness can cause pain, tenderness and poor movement patterns. Muscle pain shows up in all sorts of different ways: you could have lost some flexibility after an injury, noticed painful “knots” in your muscles that are restricting your movement or have ongoing pain in your legs, arms, shoulder, hips or back.
What does muscle pain feel like?
Common symptoms of muscle pain syndrome include:
- An aching pain that feels like it’s coming from deep inside the muscle
- Persistent pain
- Worsening pain
- Muscle knots that are sensitive to touch
- Trouble sleeping due to pain/discomfort in muscles
- Inflexibility or tightness
Soft Tissue structures in the body include:
- Muscles: a group of tissue in a human body that has the ability to contract to produce movement and they also maintain the position of the body
- Ligaments: a short band of tough but flexible tissue that connects two bones, two cartilages or holds together a joint
- Tendons: a flexible but rigid cord of strong tissue attaching a muscle to a bone
There are different forms of soft tissue therapy including:
Cupping therapy is another form of alternative treatment used for muscle pain. Cups are used to assist in loosening tissues and restoring blood flow to areas with muscle restrictions. Many patients ask, “Will it bruise?” With cupping, metabolic debris that has been trapped in the tissue is released. Negative pressure from the cups causes debris to be pulled to just under the skin. These cupping marks are generally not sensitive to the touch as there was no blunt force.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger points are hyper-irritable taut bands located in muscle and soft tissue. They will often feel like nodules or “knots”. They may form in muscles that have been overused or injured due to poor posture, over exertion, trauma or surgery, creating muscle tension and muscle shortening. There are two main types of trigger points: primary and secondary. If a primary trigger point develops in one muscle, it can restrict the muscle’s proper movement. Left untreated, other muscles might compensate as your body finds new ways to move around the first injury. This compensation can result in a secondary trigger point in the new muscle or muscles being used. Trigger point therapy consists of continuous pressure over the restricted area until the muscle releases and relaxes.
Muscle Release Therapy
This is non-invasive manual therapy technique that works to correct muscle restrictions that cause pain and movement issues. The goal is to break down scar tissue and adhesions in order to improve the function of the muscle. This form of therapy is a combination of tension with motion/movement to release the muscle tightness.
During treatment you will be positioned so that your muscle is in a shortened position. The practitioner then applies pressure to the same muscle and you will be asked to move into another specific position that will lengthen the muscle to help release and relax the muscle tightness.
Common conditions treated with Soft Tissue Therapy:
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Neck pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis or golfer’s elbow
- Runner’s knee
- Shin splints
- Shoulder pain
- Frozen shoulder
- Other sports injuries
- Post-operative scarring and adhesions