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What is Active Release Technique

Get rid of tennis elbow, back pain and many more issues with Active Release Therapy.

When you’re experiencing pain from a sports injury or working from a desk for hours, it could seem tempting to ignore the issue hoping it will disappear on its own. It’s better to accept slight discomfort and then adjust your actions so that it doesn’t cause injury.

But what if a single treatment could eliminate your limitations or pain and help you move again?

Through Active Release Therapy, you can reduce the limitations caused by chronic and acute pain. There’s plenty to learn about this fairly new type of physiotherapy.

What is Active Release Therapy?

Active Release Therapy (ART), also known as Active Release Technique, is a non-invasive manual therapy method that helps treat soft tissue issues that can cause problems with mobility and pain. The aim is to reduce adhesions and scar tissue so they can function better throughout the body.

The technique applies to chronic and acute ailments involving ligaments, muscles, tendons, fascia, nerves and muscles.

When you receive treatment, a skilled physiotherapist will place your tissues to make them “active.” In this case, for instance, when treating an injured muscle by ART therapy, the therapist puts you in a position where the power is stretched and then uses hands-on tension. Then, they’ll direct you to try while they hold the tension. They could apply this mixture of motion and pressure to various areas until they feel the complete release.

It’s akin to massage but with the ability to stretch and move; however, the physiotherapist uses specific, small contact points instead of broad strokes. The process can be very intense because it boosts the nervous system’s ability to tolerate stretching muscles. Some describe it as “good pain” or “good painful sensation.”

What is the difference between it and other techniques for soft tissue?

Other therapies like massage or myofascial releases concentrate on this notion of release. However, Art Therapy is a different approach. It includes more than 500 distinct techniques of manual therapy that practitioners are taught to evaluate and treat any restrictions that may be present in soft tissues. In each session, the therapist will assess the muscles they want to target and locate the scar tissue creating the issue within them. The ART method is a method of combining the manual pressure on scar tissue along with the movements of the patient.

Physiotherapist vs chiropractor: Who performs ART?

Colorado chiropractor Mike Leahy created Active Release Therapy (ART) in the 1980s before quickly becoming an option for professional athletes. Later, it was adopted for daily use by the general populace.

Nowadays, both physiotherapists and chiropractors are certified to use active release. This means they can use the ART method alone or other rehabilitation methods in your treatment program.

The certification in ART requires that practitioners learn more than 500 protocols specific to treating injured areas of the body by using manual tension and movement.

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Common ailments treated by Arthritis

It is possible to use ART for individuals suffering from severe trauma (i.e. tears, sprains, etc.)) or long-term trauma (i.e. low back discomfort), chronic or repetitive injuries (i.e. tendonitis, repetitive strain injuries) and post-operative issues. The ART treatment is perfect for people suffering from overworked muscles.

Common conditions that are treated by active release are:

  • Lower back Pain in the lower back
  • Sciatica
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Neck discomfort
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow
  • The knee of a runner
  • Shin splints
  • Shoulder discomfort
  • A frozen shoulder
  • Tendinitis
  • Other sports injuries
  • Adhesions and scarring post-operatively

Active Release Therapy for lower back pain

The psoas muscles, which connect your hip to your spine, are contracted while you sit all day which helps to keep your spine in alignment. The power, along with the muscles of the lumbar spine, becomes stressed through repetitive motion or an unexpected injury which can cause inflammation. If a therapist can get the psoas muscles to relax by manual tension, the lower back pain will frequently disappear.

It’s not necessary to suffer from lower back discomfort. It is a non-invasive method that will relieve pain and allow you to get moving again. It is a great option to alleviate lower back pain in general, as well as a reliable sciatica treatment method that targets the sciatic nerve to eliminate the problem of entrapment of the nerve.

Benefits of Active Release Therapy

The advantages of ART are less pain in the affected region and an improvement in strength and mobility. By cutting down scar tissue, active release can help improve your body’s circulation and mobility, allowing you to move more freely.

The relief of symptoms may occur immediately following the first session, with the full benefit usually requiring less than three sessions.

Scar tissue 101

Scar tissue can be described as thick fibrous tissue formed by inflammation to join and bind damaged tissue. It’s part of the own body’s process of healing. However, scar tissue is less efficient than normal, healthy tissue. Muscles can get smaller and weaker by scarring or adhesions (a band of scar tissue that connects two tissues or organs). Likewise, nerves may become stuck or trapped. This results in pain and discomfort within the region.

Removing adhesions and scar tissue through Art therapy relieves pain and brings functionality back to the affected area.

What’s the cost of Active Release Therapy?

Since ART is a method that chiropractors and physiotherapists use, it’s usually offered for the same price as regular sessions. It’s a good idea for you to find out the cost of treatment before booking an appointment, and also call your health insurance company about what your insurance plan covers Active Release Therapy.

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