What Is Soft-Tissue Therapy?

September 20, 2021

Many people have heard of this term, but they really don’t know its meaning or how it works. Soft tissue refers to all the connective tissue that is present in and around the muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. The term comes from the fact that these tissues are “soft” rather than being a “bone structure”, so they are easily damaged and can relatively easily be restored when necessary.

For many chiropractic practitioners, the treatment process begins with the diagnosis and referral of a client. The idea is that the chiropractic physician will treat the patient in specific health areas and resolve any neuromuscular or connective tissue issues that contribute to the patient’s current condition. In addition, in most cases, chiropractic services are only reserved for those with musculoskeletal complaints such as back pain, whiplash, neck pain, or joint discomfort; typically, there are other treatment options that chiropractic physicians will explore with their patients.

What is soft-tissue therapy? 

The treatment of any subluxation or misalignment in the musculoskeletal system is the goal of chiropractic care. In this case, the treatment or manipulation of soft-tissue structures within the body is used in conjunction with the other modalities and techniques of chiropractic care. Examples of soft-tissue issues which can be corrected by chiropractic manipulation include herniated discs, arthritis, strained muscles, ligaments, soft joints, subluxations of the musculoskeletal system, and neuromuscular disorders. Chiropractic physicians diagnose and treat any of these conditions or injuries through the application of specific techniques.

What are soft tissue injuries?

These injuries are classified as any kind of physical trauma to the soft tissue, typically involving a tear or other injury in the tissue. Common injuries include tennis elbow, torn cartilage, sprained ankles, torn rotator cuff muscles, whiplash, etc.

Soft tissue injuries can occur in any situation where there is a sudden or unexpected change in your body’s normal movement. For example, when a person falls down, the soft tissue structures in his or her body are subjected to a sudden stretch. This causes the muscles, tendons, and ligaments to “overload” and become injured. If this happens often enough, it can lead to a chronic injury.

Other common situations that cause soft tissue injuries include car crashes, being hit by a moving object, or even slips, trips, and falls. Injuries can also occur during everyday activities, such as playing sports or working at a computer. Even things as simple as sneezing or coughing can cause soft tissue injuries if the muscles are not strong enough to withstand the force of the sudden contraction.

When do I need soft-tissue therapy? 

Any time there is an injury to the soft tissues, whether it is a strain, sprain, tear, or any other type of soft tissue injury, this type of therapy should be considered. The earlier the injury is treated, the better the outcome. This is because as the tissue heals, it becomes stronger and more resilient. Therefore, the earlier the injury is treated, the less likely you will ever experience pain again. Soft tissue injuries can occur in any part of the body but are most often found in the back, neck, shoulders, and arms. They are also common in runners, tennis players, and people who play sports such as tennis or football.

What to expect at your first appointment:

Your first visit to a physiotherapist will likely last one hour. During this time, you will be asked to complete some simple paperwork, and the physiotherapist will examine you to determine if you are a candidate for this type of treatment. If you are, the physiotherapist will explain the details of your treatment and answer any questions you may have. 

The therapist will help you heal using various methods, including massage, stretching, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, physical training, heat treatment, etc. There are many different areas of physiotherapy, ranging from the most basic techniques of stretching and light jogging to more intense physical therapy such as deep tissue massages and deep tissue firmer bodywork. Depending on the severity of the injury, the physiotherapist may recommend surgery or other more drastic treatments such as ligament replacement or even complete reconstruction.

What is the benefit of regular soft-tissue therapy? 

Soft-tissue therapy can help to restore function and ease discomfort in several ways. These types of treatments can help repair damage to soft tissue in your body and help promote proper tissue growth.

As we age, our bodies become less capable of repairing and rejuvenating our soft tissue, and we must find new ways to restore and rebuild tissue. This can often be done by using therapeutic massages and special mattresses designed to promote the proper body alignment.

What does the research say?

For decades, researchers have been studying the effects of STT on people with a variety of health conditions. The studies show that regular STT can lower your blood pressure, decrease anxiety and depression, ease chronic pain, increase your range of motion, and improve sleep quality. These are just a few of the documented benefits of regular STT. 

More recently, researchers have begun to study the effects of STT on people who have suffered a stroke or some other type of brain injury. The results have been very promising. In fact, some researchers believe that STT may be able to help improve the neurological function of the brain after a stroke or traumatic brain injury. This is important because it means that STT may one day be used to help improve the quality of life for many people who have experienced a stroke, concussion or some other type of brain injury.

The takeaway

Some patients will respond better to soft-tissue therapy than others. Therefore, this aspect of chiropractic care should be left up to the discretion of the treating physician. In some cases, the physician will resolve the issue in a matter of hours; in other cases, it may take several weeks or months. It all depends on the patient. 

The most important thing is to do what is necessary to get relief from your pain and discomfort. If that means starting with the basic exercises, then do them. If it means starting with some gentle soft-tissue therapy, then do that. The key is to do whatever it takes to get relief from your symptoms. This is the first step toward a speedy and complete recovery.

Reading: What Is Soft-Tissue Therapy?

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Reading: What Is Soft-Tissue Therapy?