All athletes have one thing in common. Whether they have had one, are currently playing with one, or are at risk of getting one, the dreaded SPORTS INJURY is and always will be a part of sports play. Many questions arise with coaches and parents of the athlete: Is the injured athlete doing more harm by continuing to play? When is it safe to return to play? How can the risk of injury be kept at a minimum? These questions can become a little easier to answer with a basic understanding of the physiology of the injury.
The majority of sports injuries are injuries to the body’s soft tissues. Soft tissues are muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These structures work in harmony to produce movement of the body’s frame. When a muscle or tendon is injured (strain) or a ligament is injured (sprain), the microscopic parts of these structures become deranged in such a way as to produce pain, swelling and altered function. The body begins its healing process immediately by repairing the microscopic anatomy by laying down dense, fibrotic SCAR TISSUE. Scar tissue is a gristly, glue-like substance that is resistant to stretch. The normal elasticity of the muscle, tendon or ligament is lost and pain occurs with movement.
The common link between all soft tissue injuries is SCAR TISSUE. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, thus inhibiting normal muscle function. Normal body mechanics is therefore altered predisposing the athlete to other soft tissue and joint injuries. Decreased athletic efficiency and performance is also a result of altered body mechanics.
In order for a soft tissue injury to be completely healed, the fibrotic scar must be broken down to restore the normal elasticity and pliability of the tissue. Normal functioning muscle is paramount to ensure normal body mechanics.
Active release therapy (ART) is a soft tissue treatment system that releases the scar tissue that occurs with injured and overused muscles. Back pain, shin splints, rotator cuff injuries, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. The ART provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.
The key to a safe and enjoyable athletic career is a basic understanding of the physiological changes that occur with the athletic injury. An understanding of the importance to rid the body of painful, movement altering scar tissue, will not only get the athlete back on the playing field sooner but will prevent further injuries and thus increase overall athletic performance.
If you think you could benefit from an ART treatment, please contact Active Sports Therapy for an assessment from one of our chiropractors.
*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is characterized by pain and a progressive loss of motion in your shoulder joint. You may have experienced this as beginning with shoulder pain from an unknown cause that made your sleep difficult and became increasingly painful over the coming weeks. Frozen shoulder is caused by inflammation of the shoulder joint resulting in adhesions and stiffening of the surrounding structures. As a result, the shoulder begins to become painful and lose its mobility. This is more commonly seen in people over the age of 40 and is slightly more common among women with both diabetes and thyroid disease being known risk factors.
Frozen shoulder is known to have a particularly long recovery time without treatment of 18-24 months. Due to the long duration of the condition is often divided into three phases.
Phase 1 – Freezing: Pain in the shoulder as it begins to tighten over several months. It may be particularly noticeable at night and progress to being painful at rest.
Phase 2 – Frozen: The structures around the shoulder are now adhered to each other and mobility is limited in most or all directions, however, pain may begin to diminish in this phase. This phase can last for up to a year.
Phase 3 – Thawing: The structures around the shoulder begin to loosen and allow for a gradual return of shoulder mobility over 6+ months.
Your doctor will be able to determine which phase you are in with a physical examination, there is no need for x-rays or other forms of imaging. Management of frozen shoulder depends on the phase you are currently in but will often include a wide range of physical therapy approaches aiming to improve your range of motion and providing relief. These can include the following:
Muscle release techniques: These techniques aim to help ease pain in the surrounding shoulder muscles and reduce muscle tension to allow for improved movement.
Exercises and Stretches: A variety of programs can be performed at home that aim to improve muscle strength, improve flexibility, and provide improved joint stability.
Mobilization: Working with the shoulder joint directly your therapist will help mobilize the joint to improve range of motion.
Activity Modification: Depending on your specific needs your doctor may also make modifications to your daily routines and activities to ease the load and stress on your shoulder joint.
In severe cases that do not respond to conservative care your therapist will be able to evaluate and direct you for a shoulder injection or discuss other options for your particular situation.
What Injuries can be Treated with Active Release Techniques?
[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]ART stands for Active Release Techniques. It is a new and highly successful hands-on treatment method to address problems in the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. ART treatment is highly successful in dealing with neck injuries because it is specifically designed to locate and treat scar tissue adhesions that accumulate in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues. By locating and treating the soft-tissue adhesions with ART, it allows the practitioner to, 1) breakup restrictive adhesions, 2) reinstate normal tissue flexibility and movement, and 3) more completely restore flexibility, balance, and stability to the injured area and to the entire kinetic chain.
Here’s a list of common problems that our chiropractors are equipped to treat using Active Release Techniques. You may be surprised to learn that our chiropractors can treat more than just your back!