The first thing we need to understand about soft tissue therapy is what is soft tissue?
What is Soft Tissue?
Soft tissue is basically everything that isn’t bone and includes ligaments, tendons, muscles, fascia and nerves. Ligaments, tendons, muscles and the connecting fascia provide a natural brace to protect the bony skeleton from injury.
Ligament: Connects two or more bones and can be injured by making a movement that would take a joint outside of its normal range (twisting your ankle usually results in a ligament sprain).
Tendon: Attach muscles to bones and most injuries are the result of gradual wear and tear to the tendon from overuse or aging (tendonitis or tendinosis). Anyone can have a tendon injury, but people who make the same motions over and over in their jobs, sports, or daily activities are more likely to damage a tendon (tennis backhand can cause a tennis elbow that affects the tendon insertion into the elbow-see video below). A tendon injury can happen suddenly or little by little. You are more likely to have a sudden injury if the tendon has been weakened over time.
Muscle strain: Also called a muscle pull or even a muscle tear, implies damage to a muscle and/or its attaching tendons. You can put undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks. Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding (bruising) and pain (caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area).
Fascia: A soft connective tissue that wraps and connects the muscles, bones and nerves of the body. For various reasons, including disuse, not enough stretching, or injuries, the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue can become stuck together. This is called an adhesion or scar tissue, and it results in restricted movement along with pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion.
Nerves: Extend from your brain and spinal cord, sending important messages throughout your body. If you have a pinched nerve (nerve compression) your body may send you warning signals such as pain. A pinched nerve occurs when there is “compression” (pressure) on a nerve (radiculopathy or neuropathy). The pressure may be the result of repetitive motions or it may happen from holding your body in one position for long periods, such as keeping your wrist in an extended position when using a keyboard.
What is a Soft Tissue Injury?
A soft tissue injury can occur anywhere that ligaments, tendons, muscles, fascia or nerve is found. When one or more of the soft tissue structures are injured, the body works to heal itself via a three-phase healing cascade. These three phases are inflammation, proliferation and maturation.
In the inflammation (acute) phase, the body releases chemicals that start the healing process. The inflammatory phase is usually accompanied by pain and leads to immobilization of the injury site. You can usually see this first phase of healing as the skin around the injury site will look and feel swollen.
During the proliferative phase, the body creates materials needed to create scar tissue at the site of the injury.
During the maturation phase, scar tissue forms at the soft tissue injury site. Most of the time, you won’t be able to feel this scar tissue unless it is very superficial or you have highly skilled hands that are used to doing body work like we do at Back to Function.
This scar tissue is much less flexible than the normal tissue that was injured. This is because scar tissue forms in a relatively haphazard fashion which leads to it being rigid. As a result, it restricts movement which can lead to pain. As example of this is an athlete that tries to return to running at top speed after a severe ankle sprain. These types of soft tissue injuries and their subsequent healing systems create a need for effective soft tissue therapy to restore normal function.
What is Soft Tissue Therapy?
By applying hand pressure into and around damaged soft tissue, your Back to Function (BTF) doctor can release restrictions created by scar tissue formation. This soft tissue therapy also brings oxygen and other healing nutrients to the scar tissue site.
Our BTF doctors have been trained in a very specialized form of hands-on soft tissue therapy unique to our office called Movement Specific Myofascial Release (MSMR). This type of treatment typically uses a small amount of hypoallergenic lotion that decreases skin friction and makes the therapy more comfortable.
With most soft tissue and joint-related injuries there is inflammation, scar tissue formation and a resulting loss in range of motion. Our treatment, (MSMR), encourages the joints and soft tissue structures of the body to reach there complete end-range position. This eliminates adhesions and blockages in the soft tissue structures and joints and returns the body to a pain-free status.
Soft tissue therapy helps restore normal joint range of motion, relieves painful trigger points and improves muscle strength and function. BTF doctors are highly skilled at soft tissue therapy and many of our clients have found significant relief from our treatment after many other healthcare providers were not able to help.
The bottom line is BTF treatment will get you out of pain, keep you out of pain and significantly improve your overall function. This unique type of treatment took many years to develop and is sought out by high performance athletes who put high demands on their bodies.
Get in Touch With Us
To schedule an appointment for an injury evaluation, nutrition consultation or fitness assessment with one of our elite BTF doctors, please call 310-534-1900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. At BTF we will get you to FEEL – RECOVER – PERFORM BETTER!