Soft tissue manual therapy refers to a type of physical adjustment that is used to treat and diagnose patients who suffer from prolonged soft tissue pain. Soft tissue therapy is a hands-on approach that is usually provided by licensed practitioners, such as chiropractors, physical therapists or massage therapists, and is used to alleviate pain, increase range of motion, and relax tense muscles. This type of alternative medical treatment focuses on alleviating discomfort without the use of surgery or medication. However, opinions do vary on the treatment’s efficacy – particularly in the long-term.
The basic goal of soft tissue manual therapy is to physically manipulate painful, swollen or injured soft tissue, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules – in an effort to stretch the muscles, increase strength, and improve flexibility. Therapy is a one-on-one process during which the patients instruct the chiropractor on the source of their pain, and then a specific mechanical adjustment is made. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including:
- Neural tissue manipulation
- Deep tissue massage
- Pelvic stabilization
- Chiropractic mobilization
- Sustained pressure techniques
- Stretching exercises
- And more
Soft tissue manual therapy, like all forms of chiropractic work, is usually met with a degree of skepticism because questions remain about its overall effectiveness for alleviating pain in the long-term. It is important to remember that while soft tissue manual therapy may provide temporary pain relief, it does not necessarily treat the underlying cause of the pain, such as a prolapsed disc, facet disease, or failed back surgery syndrome. Therefore, it is important to understand the source of your pain and to have proper expectations for treatment. That being said, chiropractics, as part of a larger conservative treatment plan, can improve blood flow, stretch the muscles, and facilitate the healing process.
If you continue to experience back or neck pain after several weeks of soft tissue manual therapy, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about how one of our more effective outpatient procedures may be able to help you rediscover your life without back or neck pain.