When your body is exposed to outside stressors, whether it be an auto-accident, poor-posture, or just the everyday stress of life, your body will cause certain muscles to tighten up and cause pain that may be localized or can refer pain elsewhere in your body. These painful, contracted muscles, are known as trigger points and can range from minor annoyances to severe problems. After an injury, your body may lay down a fibrous scar tissue to repair any damaged muscle or ligament fibers. When this scar tissue is laid down, some of the collagen that makes it up is laid down in a disorganized manner and needs to be broken up so it can be laid down again in a way that is conducive to the healing process. Via the usage of manual therapies we can help relieve these trigger points, break up the scar tissue, and help you get back to your daily activities.
The most commonly utilized manual therapy emphasizes elongating the muscle while taking it through 4 ranges of motion. First, in a shortened state. Second, in a lengthened state. Third, lengthening with an active (patient-controlled) range of motion and finally, lengthening with a passive (doctor-controlled) range of motion. While the process can be intense for some, this method of manual therapy has been shown to be highly effective at reducing pain and improving function.
Another form of muscle work includes the use of post-contraction stretching in which the doctor stretches the patients muscle, has the patient contract against the doctor for a set amount of time, and upon the patient relaxing, stretching the muscle further. This will help tight muscles loosen up, improve range of motion, and increase function.