ART is a soft tissue mobilization technique specifically designed to diagnose and treat a variety of soft tissue disorders. A soft tissue disorder is any condition caused by muscles, fascia, ligaments, and nerves. These tissues are often damaged as a result of repetitive stress or “overuse”. By using ART we are able to locate the specific soft tissue(s) responsible for the problem, and effectively correct it in a relatively short period of time.
Many people have asked me “how did I even get a soft tissue disorder? I’ve never been in any accidents or had any serious injuries, one day it just started hurting one day and I thought it would go away but it just gets worse”. The truth is, this can happen to any of us. Most people these days have jobs or hobbies that require them to do something over and over and over again. This repetition leaves the muscles involved over used. It can lead to acute conditions such as pulls, tears, and strains; it can lead to an accumulation of small tears or “micro-trauma”, or it can even lead to the tissues not getting enough oxygen or “hypoxia”. Either way, if the problem is left untreated it will usually either get worse or heal incorrectly leading to the same problem coming back over and over again. I use ART as an adjunct to chiropractic care to help correct the problem and end the repetitive injury cycle.
Another thing that happens when muscles are over-used is the development of scar tissue or “adhesions”. These adhesions cause weakening and tightening of the tissues, which leads to poor circulation, which leads to more adhesions. Active Release stops this cycle by separating, releasing, and stretching the adhered connective tissue allowing the tissue to function and heal properly.
How does it work?
Every ART® session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.
At the most basic level, ART® works by breaking up scar tissue, muscle adhesions and restrictions, muscular spasms and tightness. The mechanism by which it does this is for the examiner to put a muscle in its most shortened position (through movement of the nearby joints), then apply tension with his/her thumb or fingers, and while maintaining that tension he/she will lengthen the muscle throughout its range of motion. In this way, any adhesions or scar tissue is broken up along the entire length of the muscle.
How is it different from other treatments?
The most significant difference between ART® and other treatments is the shortening and lengthening of the muscle. Other treatments involve a muscle being at its resting length, and then pressure is applied in the area of pain or irritation, such as a trigger-point technique or massage. While these treatments can be very effective, sometimes a muscular adhesion or scar tissue is at an insertion that is concealed or covered by other bony or muscular structures. In order to reach these areas, a muscle needs to be moved through its range of motion in order for these more difficult points to be reached.
Some of the many conditions ART helps with:
- Back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Shin splints
- Shoulder pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Knee problems
- Tennis elbow
- Neck pain
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Post-surgical scar tissue reduction
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Nerve entrapment syndromes
- Sports injuries