Soft tissues are structures that surround and support the skeletal system and the organs. It includes things like nerves that relay messages from the brain to the rest of the body, muscles that produce movement, ligaments that bind bones together, tendons that connect bones to muscles, and fascia that surround everything inside the body to provide support beyond what the bones provide.
Soft tissue injuries can result from sudden trauma, repetitive stress, and abnormal tension. With proper treatment, they usually heal effectively on their own. However, sometimes they form adhesions, which are long strands of scar tissue made of collagen. Adhesions cause trigger point pain by pulling on one another. They can also limit range of motion. Oklahoma City soft tissue mobilization is a physical therapy technique designed to break up adhesions to relieve pain and restore muscle function.
Soft tissue mobilization is a type of manual therapy. This means that the physical therapist uses his or her hands to move the soft tissues around. The goal is to break up the adhesions so that they no longer limit your range of motion or create painful trigger points.
During soft tissue mobilization, you may observe the therapist kneading, pushing, and pulling on soft tissues such as ligaments, muscles, nerves, and tendons. It may seem random to you but there is a specific method behind it. In fact, soft tissue mobilization includes several different methods. Here are a few examples:
- Friction Massage: Ligaments, tendons, and muscles all have a grain to them, like the rings in a tree trunk. Friction massage involves pushing across the grain.
- Direct Oscillations: Adhesions cause the tissues to become restricted in their movement. Direct oscillations involve pushing on the restricted tissue in a rhythmic manner.
- Sustained Pressure: This involves first identifying the restricted tissue and then pushing directly on it and holding the pressure for a certain amount of time.
- Unlocking Spiral: This involves using rotating motions to push on the restricted tissue, alternating directions between clockwise and counterclockwise.
- Perpendicular Strumming: This involves pushing along the muscle border at a right angle in a rhythmic fashion, then rubbing the muscle at its top.
Optimize Your Muscle Function
Trigger points cause pain and decrease function and flexibility. In addition to soft tissue mobilization, Oklahoma City dry needling therapy may also be necessary to relieve the pain by desensitizing and deactivating the trigger points.
Dry needling is a technique that involves the insertion of very thin, disposable, sterile needles into the trigger point. The needles do not cause pain upon their insertion, though there may be soreness in the area for one to two days afterward. They are the same types of needles used in acupuncture, but dry needling is a completely different technique. Patients often see improved mobility and decreased pain very shortly after treatment.
The best physical therapists in Edmond North can provide both soft tissue mobilization and dry needling for adhesions and trigger points from soft tissue injuries. Treating these conditions without causing further injury requires experience and training and should only be attempted by professionals.