When you think about going to the chiropractor, you might envision a chiropractic adjustment. In addition to the adjustment, your chiropractor can do much more to help relieve specific types of pain or conditions while also improving how you move and function. One common tool is soft tissue therapy, which can help you with your pain, function, and overall musculoskeletal health. Your chiropractor will make recommendations on what treatment options may be best for you, your needs, and your goals.
Soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, and tendons) may exhibit abnormal tension from poor posture, traumatic injury, or strain or sprain from a specific activity. This tension may produce pain, tenderness, and/or cause movement dysfunctions and can manifest in many ways, including trigger points. We often refer to a trigger point as a taut band of muscle that can be painful upon compression and can give rise to referred pain and motor dysfunction, sometimes referred to as a knot or “kink.”
Soft tissue therapy has many benefits, and there are several techniques that can be used to help manage pain and treat trigger points. Let’s review the basics of soft tissue therapy:
What is soft tissue therapy?
Soft tissue therapies are mechanical forms of therapy where soft-tissue structures are pressed and kneaded, using physical contact with the hand or a mechanical device.
The principal aim of soft tissue therapy is to relieve pain and inflammation, prevent further injury, reduce spasm, correct abnormal postures, and improve circulation.
Soft tissue therapy helps increase local blood flow and recovery—helping to clear damaged cells, supply tissues with oxygen and nutrients, as well as assist in tissue healing.
This hands-on therapy is a specialized approach to help relieve pain, decrease stiffness and dysfunction, as well as improve the affected area’s range of motion.
Licensed healthcare professionals who typically provide soft tissue therapy include chiropractors, massage therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists.
Credit: Canadian Chiropractic Association