Chronic pain can negatively interfere with your quality of life when left untreated. Your physical and mental well-being deteriorate, hindering you from normal activities, such as getting adequate sleep, socializing with your friends, and taking care of yourself. Fortunately, you have holistic treatment options, like active release technique (ART), to help you properly manage soft tissue pain. 

ART is a simple treatment option that relieves pain, removes restrictions, and restores normal movement. The Reinhardt Chiropractic Care team in Denver, Colorado, is ready to develop a personalized care plan to suit your needs. Here is further insight into active release technique, the process, its effectiveness, and answers to several frequently asked questions. 

What Is Active Release Technique?

ART is a non-invasive therapy combining manual manipulation and movement to relieve tension, mobility issues, and pain. This therapy was first used and later patented by Dr. P. Michael Leahy, a chiropractor, to manage soft tissue disorders seen in elite athletes. Soft tissue, when overused, tends to develop scar tissue from the tears and strains. The therapy aims to identify, isolate, and break down adhesions and scar tissue to improve muscle flexibility and range of motion.

Process of Active Release Technique

Your first visit at Reinhardt Chiropractic Care begins with a detailed assessment and medical history, addressing your specific problem. We inquire about the pain’s location, possible causes of the condition, and if any particular movement worsens it. During ART treatment, you sit or lie down, depending on the body part affected. 

Our qualified practitioner will then instruct you to actively shorten and lengthen your soft tissue while palpating the texture and tightness of your tissue. When stretched, scarred tissue only lengthens above and below the point of impaired function. This step helps the practitioner precisely locate where to use their fingers and hands to direct pressure. If you’re highly sensitive to pressure, inform your practitioner early to avoid experiencing pain during ART.

Once the tender area with scar tissue is located, your practitioner applies tension while you move within a specific range of motion. This movement under tension helps pull apart the accumulated scar tissue, releasing the adhesions. Based on the location of the problematic area, the practitioner can modify the direction and amount of tension applied.

Most ART sessions last about 15 to 30 minutes but may take longer if you have several problematic body parts. After active release therapy, your practitioner will prescribe stretching and strengthening exercises to maintain the therapeutic gains achieved during the session.

The Effectiveness of Active Release Technique

Compared to invasive surgery and multiple medications, ART is a relatively simple treatment option that effectively treats chronic pain. Below are some effects you’ll likely experience once the scar tissue is released.

Promotes Strength 

Our muscles, ligaments, and tendons work together to give strength in transmitting tensile forces throughout our body. Scar tissue that forms after soft tissue gets injured is weaker and more elastic than normal tissue. Any dysfunction related to soft tissue compromises the body’s strength, reducing overall performance. ART breaks down scar tissue, freeing muscle and increasing the range of motion. This change allows for effective training and strengthening sessions that restore the soft tissue to its previous strength before the injury. 

Assists Healing

The natural healing process begins after soft tissue is damaged to restore the injured part to normal. Scar tissue acts as a scaffold, holding the damaged soft tissue together as it heals. However, vital structures, such as blood vessels, often get trapped when excessive adhesions form, lowering the blood supply to the damaged parts. 

ART frees up any knots that may have formed to restore regular blood flow to the previously injured soft tissue. A better blood supply means more oxygen and nutrients reach the soft tissue, accelerating the healing process. Oxygen is critical for cell metabolism, which tends to occur more rapidly in tissues undergoing regeneration after injury. 

The injured body part also gets a steady supply of nutrients, which is vital for optimal healing. Amino acids in proteins, especially, form part of the building blocks in muscle repair. 

Reduces Risk of Injury 

Normal soft tissue, such as muscle fibers, is configured in a specific way to optimize the range of motion. Scar tissue that forms during healing isn’t neatly arranged in this order since the body prioritizes rapid repair. Your body adapts abnormal movements to compensate for the change in fiber orientation. 

When the body isn’t fully recovered, the subtle differences in biomechanics for repetitive movements cause a strain on your soft tissue, increasing the risk of injury. ART reduces the bulk and reorients the scar tissue to the desired direction of motion. A natural and fluid movement of a previously injured body part reduces the risk of injury. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Body Parts Are Treated? 

Our Denver Chiropractic Care understands injuries affect our bodies differently and require several treatment options to manage them. ART corrects the following soft tissue restrictions resulting in pain:

  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Fascia
  • Ligaments  
  • Nerves 

What Conditions Are Treated? 

Chiropractors, massage therapists, doctors, and physical therapists use active release therapy to treat several acute and chronic conditions. Examples of treatable ailments and injuries include:

What Treatment Can ART Be Paired With? 

Reinhardt Chiropractic values a holistic healthcare approach when managing your conditions. We treat pain and aim to achieve holistic wellness using our services to heal the mind and body. Some of the services that work well with ART include:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Fascial stretch therapy
  • Dry needling

Active Release Technique at Reinhardt Chiropractic

Are you experiencing any muscular pain or joint stiffness? The active release technique is an excellent treatment option for promoting strength, accelerating healing, and reducing injury risk for a previous soft tissue injury. Our Denver Chiropractic and Wellness care team can successfully treat conditions causing pain and discomfort. Book an appointment with Dr. Reinhardt to start living a pain-free life.