Our soft tissues are meant to be pliable and flexible. When these tissues become bound by scar tissue, it can be the source of significant discomfort and mobility issues. Active Release Therapy (ART) is an approach to treating these tissues to allow them to release and move freely again. Doing so helps to ease symptoms and restore our ability to move freer and without pain. The target tissues for this treatment are typically fascia, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Recent studies have revealed that ART is also effective in treating certain types of chronic migraine.
What’s Involved In Active Release Therapy
Active Release Therapy focuses on releasing adhesions that form within soft tissues. These adhesions are dense collections of scar tissue formed when connective tissue or muscles are injured. This tissue binds to itself, limiting flexibility, causing stiffness, and producing pain in the joints and muscles.
When adhesions form in certain areas, nerves can become entrapped. ART helps to release these nerves by breaking up the adhesions responsible. Your therapy session will begin with your provider isolating the problem area and manipulating it to break up the scar tissue. Your tissue will move more freely when successful, restoring proper blood flow to the area.
There’s a broad range of conditions that your therapist can treat with this approach, including:
- Lower back pain
- Tennis or golfer’s elbow
- Plantar fasciitis
- Neck pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Frozen shoulder
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Runner’s knee
- Shin splints
- Shoulder pain
- Other sports injuries
- Post-operative scarring and adhesions
The specific treatment methods start by putting your tissue into an “active” state. For example, your provider will flex an injured muscle being treated with ART to shorten it. Hands-on tension is then applied while you lengthen the muscle in question. During this stage, they’ll attempt to hold the tension in place. Motion and tension will be applied to various areas to achieve successful treatment by providing full release.
The techniques used are similar to those you’ll encounter in a traditional massage. One primary difference is targeting small contact points rather than using broad strokes. The experience can often become quite intense as your nervous system’s tolerance for the muscle being stretched increases. While it can be somewhat uncomfortable, most patients describe it as a ‘good’ sort of pain.
Find Out If You Can Experience Chronic Migraine Relief
Not all migraines can be successfully treated using Active Release Therapy Contact your physiotherapist for a consultation to determine if your migraines can be traced to adhesions in soft tissue. Your physiotherapist will perform an assessment and determine if Active Release Therapy can address the symptoms. Once a diagnosis has been successfully reached, your provider can establish a full treatment plan. Thousands of patients experience relief from chronic pain, including migraines, every year thanks to Active Release Therapy. Call your practitioner today to find out if you can experience improved quality of life through easing chronic migraine pain with ART.