“We can’t avoid age. However, we can avoid some aging. Continue to do things, and be active. Life is fantastic in the way it adjusts to demands; if you use your muscles and mind, they stay there much longer.” – Charles H. Townes.
It’s almost a meme in our culture – the stiff, achy, and hard-to-move limbs and muscles resulting from aging. While some of this is rooted in reality, much of it is avoidable.
We get older, and our bodies slowly regress if left to themselves. But exercise, activity, and a healthy diet can forestall much of that and – if pursued diligently today – can reverse some of it. In other words, your body doesn’t have to be a meme for soft tissue pain and diminished performance.
But it isn’t always due to aging.
When Muscle Pain is Hard to Define and Hard to Treat
Muscle pain can result from a variety of causes, not all of them well understood nor even confirmed. A seemingly common affliction is known as myofascial pain syndrome.
According to information from Healthline,
“Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder caused by sensitivity and tightness in your myofascial tissues. These tissues surround and support the muscles throughout your body. The pain usually originates from specific points within your myofascial tissues called ‘trigger points.’”
Myofascial refers to the fasciae of muscles for those who were spared the pains of Medical Terminology 101 in college.
Simply put, fascia are the bands or sheets of connective tissue, made primarily of collagen, located beneath the skin that attaches to, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.
Wikipedia’s entry defines myofascial release as an alternative medicine therapy for treating skeletal muscle immobility and pain by relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulating the stretch reflex in muscles.
Although still controversial among many in the “mainstream” medical world, thousands of practitioners and tens of thousands of people suffering from myofascial pain syndrome rely on its effectiveness.
However, many others have found that it is arguably a far more effective approach to treatment.
Treating Muscle and Soft Tissue Pain and Discomfort with Active Release Techniques®
While Active Release Techniques® and myofascial release therapy are not quite the same, they share many similarities and can be used to pursue the same pain relief goals.
In fact, to some medical professionals, Active Release Techniques® – or ART® – is simply an advanced and more sophisticated form of myofascial release. And there is much truth to this.
As one Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) has described it,
“ART® can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including plantar fasciitis, shin splints, iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, piriformis syndrome, sciatica, low back pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, tension headaches, neck pain, rotator cuff strains and tears, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel, ulnar tunnel, wrist pain, and hand pain. Due to the well thought out treatment and rigorous study with ART, its practitioners are consistently some of the best myofascial release practitioners there are.”
While both approaches can be classified as forms of soft tissue therapy – a mechanical form of therapy where soft tissue structures are passively pressed and kneaded, using physical contact with the hand or mechanical device – experience and evidence supports our contention that using Active Release Techniques® is the more effective approach to soft tissue pain and dysfunctions.
A literature review paper that focused on the effectiveness of therapies used for myofascial pain syndrome and related issues found, for example, that “results suggested that a single session of Active Release Technique may increase hamstring flexibility in asymptomatic male participants.”
The paper when on to note that,
“[A] study performed in Toronto, Canada, studied the immediate effect on pain thresholds using Active Release Technique on adductor strains. Participants of the study had active adductor strain injuries. The active Release Technique was used to treat the area of injury. Subjects provided verbal pain threshold feedback during the use of a pressure algometer at the completion of each Active Release Technique treatment. The study demonstrated that the areas treated saw an increase in their pain threshold.”
Another study review concluded that,
“There was a significant difference between active release technique and myofascial release technique as regard to pain reduction, improvement ROM (range of motion) and functional disability.”
However, studies aside, the best proof is what you can experience for yourself.
Superior Soft Tissue Pain Problem Solutions with Active Release Techniques®
Soft tissue pain and damage can be debilitating and even crippling. And, for many, it seems as if recovery and relief may never be possible. If you’ve been suffering for months (or years) from nerve pain, muscle tissue dysfunctions, limited movement, and even chronic pain, relief is possible.
This is why we encourage you to call Pain and Performance Solutions to make an appointment.
Once you arrive for your first appointment, we will walk you through the process of sharing your present pain issues as well as any history of discomfort. Finding soft tissue pain relief with ART® begins only after we understand where and how your discomfort started.
We will take you through a full examination which helps us determine which form of treatment is best suited to get you on your road to recovery. Your trust in us is vital, as is your honesty and openness. Ultimately, getting your body healthy and working properly is the only way to achieve total recovery.
Our goal is to work through the sequence of pain and dysfunction to get your body healthy and working properly and achieve total recovery. Don’t hesitate to reach out, and we are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have.
You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.