Around your skeletal system and organs, there are cells that surround and support them, known as soft tissues. They include your nerves, ligaments, fascia, tendons, blood vessels, muscles, skin, and more.
Injuring these soft tissues is quite common and can lead to pain, discomfort, and issues with mobility.
Soft tissue therapy is a form of mobilization therapy often used to help treat soft tissue injuries, pain, tension, and more. Though it might sound at first a lot similar to massage therapy, it’s a separate practice entirely that incorporates a treatment plan focused on your individualized healing needs.
What Is Soft-Tissue Therapy?
Soft tissue therapy (STT) is a form of therapy that is accessible to all people. The benefits of soft tissue therapy aren’t reserved for people who are involved in sports or who are athletes. Our lifestyle and work patterns put quite a bit of demand on our well-being, meaning that this treatment can help manage aches, injuries, stresses, and pains for people no matter the cause.
Soft Tissue Therapy Is Not “Just Massage”
It is a common misconception that STT is just a form of massage therapy. While the treatment might include massage, your therapist might use several other techniques, including Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation, Myofascial Release, Muscle Energy Technique, and soft tissue release.
Soft tissue therapy also includes an in-depth discussion and movement assessment. This will help to guide a treatment plan that is most appropriate for you.
What Types of Injuries Are Treated With Soft Tissue Therapy?
Soft tissue therapy can be helpful in the treatment of many different problems. These include:
- Tennis and golfers elbow
- Muscles pains and aches
- Poor posture
- Growing pains in children and adolescents
- Lumbar and neck spine disc bulges
- Bursitis and tendon conditions
- Muscle tears
- Structural and functional scoliosis
- Plantar fascitis
- Shin splints
- Morton’s neuroma
- Hip pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tendinitis of your rotator cuff or biceps
- Nerve conditions
- Post joint surgeries
- Rigid and tight muscles
- Central and adrenal fatigue
- Dealing with compensation issues before and after surgery
- Tension headaches and some migraines
- Repetitive strain injuries and computer posture
- Most conditions that are being treated by a Chiropractor, physiotherapist, Osteopath, or podiatrist
Soft tissue injuries generally occur when you have abnormally tense muscles. For example, suppose your muscles aren’t able to relax in the usual way. In that case, it can lead to several problems like muscle weakness, pain, skeletal system misalignment, and a restricted range of motion. They can also occur due to some trauma.
Soft-Tissue Therapy vs Massage Therapy
Soft tissue therapy and massage therapy are not interchangeable terms for the same thing, but two different forms of therapy.
Massage is an umbrella term for several different forms of healing approaches. During the practice, a massage therapist kneads or rubs the body using their hands. Massages can be used as a relaxation exercise and to ease body tension and pain.
There are several different types of massage therapy, including:
- Trigger point
- Hot stone
- Deep tissue
On the other hand, soft tissue therapy includes a treatment plan to help you recover from your injury, pain, aches, or loss of mobility. It can also be used to assist in the prevention of future injury or issues.
Soft-tissue therapy begins with a physical examination, unlike massage therapy. They will identify your specific problem areas and analyze the affected joints and their range of motion.
This type of therapy can both be manual and instrument-assisted. This means that they might use ergonomically designed tools to help heal the affected tissue.
The Types Of Soft Tissue Therapy
Soft tissue therapy can include some different techniques depending on your particular needs. These include:
- Trigger point therapy
- Myofascial dry needling
- Remedial massage and sports massage techniques
- Breathing retraining
- Postural taping techniques
- Nerve pain release techniques
- Muscle energy techniques
- Positional release techniques
- First stage exercise rehabilitation
- Swedish massage techniques
- Active release techniques
- Deep ischemic release techniques
These are only some of the tools that your practitioner might use. As opposed to massage therapy, your soft tissue therapist will be able to incorporate the necessary techniques for your particular problem as a part of a treatment plan over time.
Benefits of Soft Tissue Treatment
Many case studies support the fact that soft tissue therapy can help in the treatment of soft-tissue injuries. Decreased Pain
When you get STT, it can help to reduce your pain regardless of the cause. When you are no longer in pain, you will have more energy and strength to reduce the reoccurrence of injury or pain in the future.
Soft tissue therapy can be used as a treatment for headaches. One study found that certain aspects of migraine could be improved with the use of soft tissue techniques.
There has also been a study involving humans in regards to the use of soft tissue therapy in the treatment of tennis elbow. Tennis elbow occurs when your elbow’s tendons are overloaded, resulting in a painful condition. The study found that the group of participants who received soft tissue mobilization therapy improved the entire group.
Increased Range Of Motion/Flexibility
When your range of motion or flexibility is limited, it can be uncomfortable, frustrating, painful, and get in the way of your daily tasks. With STT, you can increase both your range of motion and flexibility to help you live your best possible life.
Your therapist will also be able to help teach you a range of motion exercises and direct you on how to incorporate them into your life. There are three different types of range of motion exercises, which are passive, active, and active assistive.
Soft Tissue Therapy Causes Increased Blood Flow
Good blood circulation is vital to your health. Soft tissue therapy can help you reap the many benefits of increased blood flow, which allows your organs and body to work efficiently and correctly.
Blood flow is a necessary part of the healing process. Soft tissue therapy can help improve circulation to the areas of your body that are affected. For example, microtrauma can occur in your muscles and fascial tissues.
Increasing blood flow to the area of injury can help improve and speed up the healing process.
When your muscles cannot relax and remain in a state of contraction, it can lead to muscle tightness, pain, discomfort, and a limited range of motion. Through soft tissue therapy, you can help your muscles relax so that you can feel your best.
Muscle tension can be caused by the physiological effects of stress in addition to other potential causes. For example, when you are stressed, your body’s nervous system changes by reducing blood flow to the soft tissues via constricting blood vessels. This means that biochemical waste can build up in your soft tissue. There is an oxygen reduction, leaving you with pain, tension, or spasms.
Myofascial release is a type of soft tissue therapy that is used to treat myofascial pain, myofascial pain syndrome, and skeletal muscle immobility and pain. Myofascial release can:
- Help assist in the tissue recovery process
- Improve your range of motion
- Reduced soreness
- Improve circulation
- It helps the body relax overall
- Releases knots, stress, and tension
This technique is used to help release restrictions such as muscle tightness, dysfunction in soft tissue, and trigger points. Myofascial release focuses on the fascia, a thin tissue surrounding nerves, muscles, bones, vessels, and all structures in the body. When there are restrictions in the fascia, it can lead to musculoskeletal conditions, trauma, poor posture, and repetitive stress syndrome.
Myofascial release can be used to increase mobility and treat pain in people who are suffering from a wide range of conditions. These include neck pain, back pain, and fibromyalgia. A number of sports injuries can also be treated with this technique, including muscular imbalances and repetitive strain injuries.
Your therapist will help you determine whether or not myofascial release is an appropriate therapy for your condition. For example, the myofascial release might not be suitable for people suffering from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, severe osteoporosis, aneurysm, and other issues.
Myofascial release can be intense, but it can provide results right away.
Though it might feel sore at first, you will notice that you feel looser and more relaxed after your session than when you went into it.
One out of every two Canadian adults has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. For adults between the ages of 35 and 64, only one out of every three gets the recommended amount of sleep every night.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to chronic stress, poor mental health, an increased risk of several diseases, and several other negative consequences.
Getting enough high-quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do for our overall health. On top of that, it is essential in the healing process. You get a better night’s sleep and, over time and help your body heal faster by allowing it the time it needs to rest, recover, and restore.
What We Offer
At Easy Allied Health, we offer mobile, in-home, and in-clinic services. With more than 30 outreach and specialty rehabilitation therapists, we are here to help you remove pain and discomfort from your life. Through our time-tested techniques and training programs, you can recover faster, increase your strength, improve your range of motion, and more.
We offer personalized treatment. That means that your individual goals and needs are addressed to help ensure that you are getting all the treatment you need and none of the treatment you don’t.
We have served more than 5,500 patients across the Lower Mainland. If you’re considering booking a session with us, you can look at our locations here.
How Many Soft-Tissue Therapy Sessions Are Needed?
How many soft-tissue therapy sessions are needed depends on the specifics of your condition. However, most people notice a difference right away after the first session. For many issues, 3 to 4 treatments can make a significant improvement in the problem.
Once a week is typically enough at first, which can then be pushed back to once every 2 or 3 weeks. For some conditions, though, the first few weeks might require 2 sessions a week.
Schedule Your Appointment
When you have a sprain, strain, or other soft tissue injury, it can seriously impact your day-to-day life and your ability to participate in the activities that you love.
At first, the RICE method of treatment is recommended, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. However, suppose the injury doesn’t get better in a week or two. In that case, you might consider visiting our team of therapists who specialize in the fields of Physiotherapy, Active Rehab, Occupational Therapy, and more.
Is it time for you to take control of your pain and live a more comfortable, enjoyable life? No matter the cause of your injury or issue, we are here to help.
If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment, fill out this quick form. Then, one of our care team members will call you back so that you can get on the schedule for your first soft tissue therapy session.