In today’s Chiropractic practice many practitioners are transitioning to adding myofascial treatments as part of their treatment options to improve patients outcomes. In addition to excellent diagnosis and chiropractic manipulation, soft tissue mobilization is an essential addition your practice.
Many practitioners who have limited training reach out to me and express their concerns of finding it hard to be efficient for the patient and their schedule when adding a new technique. I have worked hard to address these issues in order to help practitioners become more proficient.
A traditional practice can easily add soft tissue mobilization into their assessment and treatment of their practice using these tips:
- Utilize soft tissue mobilization as an assessment of ROM and to identify pain generating soft tissue adhesions to reduce time spent in the treatment room.
- Proper education of the patients expectations for what they will expect after a treatment and follow up instructions can build a healthy patient base.
- Limiting your treatment initially to the local issue the patient presents with will increase your proficiency and as you become more efficient and address other issues that may be a cause of the patient problem.
- Addressing ‘WHY” the patients symptoms are present is very important to increasing your patients outcomes and building your practice over time.
Why implement soft tissue mobilization in your practice?
Pain in the nerve fibers, tissues, muscles, ligaments, fascia and tendons can all be treated using these tools and techniques. But this only describes what the problem is. The bigger and more important question is often why: Why is a patient experiencing pain or restricted motion in a certain area?
In some cases, you may find yourself treating the same painful condition over and over again. Patients experience relief after a procedure, only to have the pain return in a matter of days. You can decrease your treatment time by searching for the functional why instead:
For example: the “what” or diagnosis is an acute ankle sprain that won’t heal with traditional treatment recommendations. As we dig deeper into the fascial lines and functional muscle interactions we find that it could be related to a chronically weak hip.
When you consider the fact that all our muscles are connected somehow along the functional fascial plane lines—the bottom of the heel to the calf to the hamstring into the pelvis and over the glutes, into the back and then up over the head and to the eyebrows—it’s easy then to understand how chronic pain could actually be caused by an injury in the ankle, with far reaching functional implications to the musclo-skelatel system.
Soft Tissue Mobilization Tools
Soft tissue mobilization tools can assist chiropractors throughout the diagnosis and treatment process. We can often identify the adhesion or primary dysfunction more quickly due to an increased sensitivity in tissue as the tool glides and assesses tissues. These tools also help prevent overuse injury on the part of the practitioner—for example, tendonitis in the hands or wrists in those who use their hands for soft tissue mobilization.
Once the “why” has been identified, these tools can then help patients recover faster by implementing tissue proliferation and boosting blood flow to the area, resulting not just in pain relief but also increased range of motion. That is an important distinction, particularly for the active person who wants to be able to participate fully in his or her sport or activity of choice.
Today’s practices are turning more and more toward improving range of motion for those suffering from chronic myofascial pain. And by digging deeper, chiropractors can start tissue proliferation in the correct area so that patients are functional and they can begin changing their lives from years of suffering and begin a road of healing.
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