Lower back pain! Shoulder impingement! Tennis elbow! Carpal tunnel syndrome! Chronic knee problems! Plantar fasciitis! Headaches!
No thank you!
Active release technique (ART), a type of soft tissue therapy, helps relieve tight muscles and nerve trigger points, and greatly reduces joint stress. And it just might be the answer you’re looking for. La Jolla Sports Club Personal Trainer and ART Specialist, Brian Donahoe, is ready to cure what ails you.
But wait, is active release technique for you?
Without knowing anything about you, our first guess is a resounding Yes. A very common theme in all of the aforementioned problems above are overused muscles. When our muscles become overused, our bodies experience pulls, tears and micro-traumas, in addition to countless other problems.
Over time, these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area, which then binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause tingling / numbness, reduced range of motion, loss of strength and pain. If this sounds familiar, ART might be a great place to start.
How active release technique works
The core benefit of ART is preventing and breaking up your tough and inflexible scar tissue, also called adhesions. These adhesions act as a glue to bind injured tissues, but over time can compress and pinch nerves, creating trigger points and painful, immobile joints.
While massages are great for improving circulation and easing tension, they often fail to break up the adhesions and restore tissue function. ART does a great job of getting in there, targeting trigger points and breaking up scar tissue. Active release technique sessions are a mixture of examination and treatment, so you’re getting customized therapy each time.
Thanks to Dr. Axe .com for the following!
1. Increases Flexibility
By relaxing muscles naturally and reducing tough adhesions around muscles and joints, studies have demonstrated that even a single ART treatment session can help increase flexibility. This includes increasing flexibility in the legs, specifically the hamstrings, which tend to be a very tight area for even healthy, active adults and susceptible to recurring injuries.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that a single ART treatment helped 20 physically active male participants with no current or previous injuries to improve their scores on a sit-and-reach flexibility test. Following the treatment, the men on average experienced improved flexibility in the lower legs, which could translate to better protection against future injuries and even improved athletic performance.
2. Improves Range of Motion Following Injuries
Research shows that ART treatments can help improve range of motion and mobility in those with musculoskeletal disorders or following injuries (acute trauma) and episodes of chronic pain. Adults have a whopping 70 percent chance of developing neck pain during their lives, and ART is now considered to be beneficial for treating chronic neck pain that can be caused by work-related injuries, sports or exercise.
3. Reduces Chronic Lower Back Pain
One 2013 study conducted by the Korean Academy of Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science found that ART helps lower symptoms of lower back pain, considered to be one of the leading sources of dysfunction among adults. Lower back pain has commonly been found to be triggered from abnormal activation and adhesions within the upper legs (specifically the gluteus medius), but ART can help break up scar tissue and release compressed nerves.
Twelve patients with chronic low back pain participated in this study and received ART treatments two times a week for three weeks, resulting in significantly lower pain intensity and pressure, according to a pain visual analogue scale.
4. Treats Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Findings from a small 2006 clinical pilot study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine suggest that active release technique can be an effective treatment strategy for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, which results in limited hand mobility and often swelling or pain due to nerve compression. Patients first completed a questionnaire and examination to assess their symptoms, then received active release technique treatments using a protocol intended to affect the median nerve of the hands three times a week for two weeks. Following treatment, patients reported significant improvements in symptom severity and showed increases in functional status scores compared to the start of the study.
5. Helps Prevent Running Injuries and Improve Performance
There’s now evidence that ART treatments can help promote faster muscle recovery and improve running or athletic performance. According to Competitor.com, ART is considered ‘one of the fastest roads to recovery’ by serious athletes. It does this by helping restore normal muscle and connective tissue function, keeping the body flexible, and reducing fibrous tissue accumulation, which can go unnoticed in training athletes.
It’s possible for runners, athletes who perform triathlons and those who are training for professional competitions to miss signs of adhesions before it’s too late. This can cause tightening and shortening of muscles that wind up taking an athlete off the field due to limited mobility and strength loss.
Have you tried active release technique? How did it help? Let us know in the comments below!
To schedule your ART session with Brian, send him an email, or grab him in the gym.
Have a great weekend!
// Your La Jolla Sports Club team