This is the season for being more active outside. It's also the season for muscle strains and sprains as people ramp up their activity level after a few months off. If you find yourself with a sprained ankle or a strained shoulder, your chiropractor (such as one from North Pole Chiropractic) has non-invasive techniques that will get you back on your feet and keep you from having surgery.
Injuries That Respond to Soft-Tissue Techniques
Many of the typical sports injuries can be treated by these chiropractic techniques including:
- strained or sprained ankle, knee, wrist, elbow and shoulder
- tendinitis in the foot, ankle, calf, wrist and elbow
- muscle overuse in the arms and legs
These injuries result in a number of issues dealt with by the soft-tissue techniques including:
- decreased circulation to the damaged areas
- stretched muscle fibers
- muscle fiber tears and scar tissue
- inflammation of muscle tissue and tendons
- constricted nerves and blood vessels
There are two primary soft-tissue techniques used in your chiropractor's office, both of which gives similar results.
Active Release Technique
A muscle injury typically causes tiny tears and scar tissue in the muscles. This technique focuses on this damage. Your doctor uses their hands to find the scar tissue over the injured area. They then gently massage along the path where the muscle normally moves. This helps to break up the scar tissue and stretches the muscle out. This increases blood flow in the muscles and helps them to relax. As the tension decreases, so does the pain and inflammation.
Myofascial Release Technique
With this procedure, your doctor finds the injured area with their hands. When they find the tight muscle, they use their knuckles, elbow or a special tool to put steady pressure on the muscle. The pressure on the muscle depletes its resources until it can no longer stay tense. Constant pressure on the muscle for several minutes causes it to relax. There is less risk of re-injuring the muscle when it is allowed to relax on its own.
Combining Treatments for More Effective Healing
Your doctor may combine these soft-tissue techniques with other treatments such as:
- anti-inflammatory and pain medication such as ibuprofen
- hot and cold packs to stimulate circulation and reduce pain and swelling
- physical therapy to return joints to their full range of motion
The advantage of these techniques is that they don't require injections or surgery which introduce the risk of infection and a longer recovery period.