From minor cuts to muscle pains and damaged ligaments and tendons, the human body can take a handful of beatings in a lifetime. So, stop for a moment and perform a self-diagnostic test on your body. 

Chances are, you probably have one ache, sprain, or other minor afflictions that have been bothering you for quite some time. If not, then that’s good news for you. 

According to a study, a person may experience approximately 9,500 injuries over the course of their lifetime. Many of these ailments are injuries related to soft tissues, such as pulled muscles, cramps, sprains, and damaged ligaments and tendons.

If you have experienced such conditions, the first thing you need to do is rest. However, it may take time, and not giving enough attention may cause other aches and pains. With that said, you might want to consider visiting your local chiropractor to try a therapy called Active Release

But first, what is it, how will you benefit from it, and when will you need it? This article will introduce you to active release therapy to help you answer your questions.

What Is Active Release Therapy?

Active Release Therapy or Active Release Technique (ART) is one of the most effective treatment methods created and developed by Dr. Michael Leahy. It’s usually performed by manual and physical therapists to help their injured patients.

ART is a technique that focuses on relieving tension by releasing adhesions and scars from soft tissues, which include tendons, ligaments, and fascia. It’s similar to another method called Graston Technique, a widely-used physical therapy treatment for acute and chronic ailments.

ART is extremely popular for active people, especially athletes, who are prone to get injured while performing. In fact, this treatment method originates as a type of sports physical therapy. Because of this, many athletes were able to get back to their optimum performance level.

Doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists use ART to treat a wide range of soft tissue problems, from back pain to bursitis and neck pain. Furthermore, ART is considered a whole-body approach because of its benefits and power to treat many physical ailments in different body areas.

How Does Active Release Work?

Tissues may form adhesions when they become injured and exasperated. This is because they contain multiple scar tissue that helps your body heal. However, they can cause a problem that makes other tissues clump together. And when these tissues do, movements will be limited, leading to discomfort and pain. 

Other than that, there are instances when nerves get pinched due to adhesions. This will make you experience tingling, burning, numbness of the body parts, and other uncomfortable sensations.

ART helps trapped tissues get released, including some nerves that become pinched, to reduce and eliminate discomfort and pain throughout the body.

What Can Your Therapists Do?

When you seek help from a physical therapist, they’ll head directly to where adhesions have formed. Then, using ART, they’ll apply pressure to your adhesions and advise you to extend the affected site through simple movements. It won’t be called ‘active’ for no reason because you have to move the adhesion actively as a part of the recovery process for muscle release.

On top of that, being active is an integral part of releasing any clumped tissues. By doing so, you allow them to glide against each other, thereby removing the adhesion.

Furthermore, ART helps improve blood circulation to the affected area, accelerating the body’s natural way of healing. This reduces discomfort and pain, improves range of motion, and eliminates muscle stiffness. 

When Do You Need ART?

You might need to undergo ART treatment if you’re suffering from the following symptoms, such as:

  • Mild to severe pain when performing exercises or intense workouts
  • Stiffness in different body parts, such as knees, legs, neck, and back, could be due to a traumatic accident, like a slip and fall, car accident, or workplace injury
  • Pain in the soles of your feet
  • Tingling in your fingers, feet, or legs
  • Problems when it comes to the range of motion, such as neck pain, back pain, or shoulder pain
  • Low in energy or weakness
  • Inflamed soft tissues

On the other hand, here are common injuries and ailments that can be treated with ART treatment:

  • Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome: A lateral knee injury due to overuse and repetitive extension and rotation of the knees. As a result, knees become tight, irritated, and inflamed.
  • Shin Splints: It is also known as a medial tibial syndrome and usually occurs when muscles, bone tissue, and tendons are overworked due to intensified activities.
  • Sciatica: It is a pain from the sciatic nerve spreading from your lower back, hips, and legs. It occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes injured due to extreme physical movements or lack thereof.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: It’s one of the most common orthopedic problems. It happens when the plantar fascia or the ligament in your heel experiences extreme pressure, causing it to tear apart and leading to pain and stiffness.
  • Tennis Elbow: Also known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow is a painful injury that often occurs when the elbow becomes extremely stretched due to intense, repetitive stress.

Once your doctor has diagnosed you with any of the above conditions, it’s advisable to seek help immediately. 

Can You Heal Faster Using ART?

With the help of ART, your injury will be able to heal much faster than its own. As a result, you’ll be able to get back to your regular active lifestyle and performance in a more reasonable and much shorter timeframe.

ART may also help those with broken bones and concussions as long as they’re under careful and intensive supervision.

Final Words

Active release therapy is an effective treatment method commonly performed by physical therapists, chiropractors, etc. Its main goal is to release the trapped soft tissues and adhesions from getting stuck together to reduce and eliminate pain and discomfort. 

You may consult a healthcare professional to undergo this treatment if you’re experiencing some symptoms, including stiffness, pain, numbness, and tingling in your body parts. With ART, you’ll be able to heal faster than applying the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevate) treatment alone. This will help you get back to your active performance in no time.

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