Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How does “Active Release Techniques®” work?
A. ART treatment protocols are performed by manually manipulating soft tissue structures in such a way that they will return to their normal moving relationship to one another. The body’s natural immune response to trauma is referred to as the cumulative injury cycle. In an effort to repair and stabilize what it perceives as injury, the body will develop scar tissue in and between the soft tissue structures of the involved area.
Obviously, this puts the body at a mechanical as well as neurovascular disadvantage. With an in depth understanding of how these structures move in relationship to one another, the ART credentialed provider manually releases these adhesions, allowing for more normal movement of the whole system.
In the great majority of cases, the patient will see at least some measurable degree of positive change within the first visit. The “average” length of treatment for any given condition is between six to ten visits, never two days in a row. As with all other treatment provided at FitWellChiropractic Sports Medicine, our entire premise is to get you better and back to 100% as quickly as possible.
Q. I can “crack” my neck and back anytime I want to,
why should I see a chiropractor?
A. If a person is able to make the joints in their spine “crack” easily, it usually means that part of their spine is hyper mobile or moving more than it should. This means that other parts of the spine are hypo mobile or not moving enough.
In order for the body to work efficiently in the short term and sustain in the long term, each joint must work in its’ own normal range of motion. A good chiropractor finds the joints that are not moving sufficiently and adjusts them only. Very simply put, this will allow the joints that have been working over time to rest a bit and allow the less mobile ones to work more. Not only does this allow for more pain free movement, it will also decrease the likelihood that degeneration of the joints will occur.
This will not happen when our joints “crack” as a side effect of stretching. Forcing movement ourselves will only continue to move the wrong segments. It is the direction, velocity and specificity of the chiropractic adjustment that makes the difference.
Q. I have a pain that feels more muscular than joint related.
Could a chiropractor help me?
A. Muscles move joints. They do this by contracting and relaxing. If a muscle and/or its tendons are injured in any way (a strain) the joints will be affected. If a joint and its ligaments are injured (a sprain), the muscles and their tendons will also be affected. Additionally other soft tissue structures (fascia) along with blood vessels and nerves can also become injured or affected.
The bottom line is that for proper biomechanics, ALL structures need to freely move and glide in relation to each other. At FitWell we address the injury by treating all of the possible areas of compromise. We use chiropractic care for the involved joint structures and Active ReleaseTechniques® for the areas of soft tissue injury.
Q. I have numbness and tingling in my hands from working at the computer. I have rested, stretched, and used ice and heat. I have even had an ergonomics “expert” evaluate my workstation. The problem is still there. What’s wrong?
A. Repetitive motions can easily create a compromise of all soft tissues, creating what is referred to as cumulative trauma disorder. The problem can occur locally at the area of symptoms as well as at the spinal level associated with that area of the body. According to the law of repetitive motion, insult to tissues has a myriad of effects.
Essentially, motion that in some way deters from optimum will signal the body to form scar tissue in an attempt to heal. As a result the formation of adhesions in and around the soft tissue structures decrease the freely gliding movements which are necessary for proper function. The kind of motions occurring with actions such as keyboard work; the number of repetitions, the tension brought on with short motions and the lack of rest periods set us up for soft tissue injury.
Unless the involved structures are again enabled to move past each other with the least amount of friction, the situation cannot be resolved no matter what other actions are taken. Active Release Techniques® is the most effective and efficient way to recreate a healthier environment in the body. By physically manipulating the tissues to begin freely moving past one another, the cycle of cumulative trauma can be broken.
Q. I have chronic lower back pain. I see my chiropractor, which helps, and I religiously do my stretches. And yet I continue to have this nagging lowerback pain, my hamstrings feel tight and I can’t seem to hold my adjustments. What else can I do?
A. Given that the adjustments help but do not hold, this would be a good time to consider what is happening to the soft tissue in and around the area. At FitWell, we find that the most lasting and beneficial results are obtained if we consider all areas of possible compromise including joints and soft tissue.
In order to be sure that the adjustments are going to hold, we believe that the supporting structures must be able to freely move so that support and effective function can occur. In the case of lower back pain for example, it is not at all uncommon for the soft tissue structures supporting the pelvis to become adhered to one another, which would certainly preclude a specifically delivered joint adjustment from “holding”. ART is most effective treatment for this kind of situation.
In addition, examination of the stretches and exercises would be essential. The most common denominator when focusing on this area of the body is proper pelvic stabilization. If the exercises performed are not specific to pelvic stabilization and core strength then resolution will not occur. The progressive rehabilitation we provide is targeted directly at these kinds of concerns. Without functional core stability, we are at the least making little or no gains and at the worst, continually going to re-injure ourselves.
Q. I notice that one shoulder sometimes appears “higher and more forward” than the other. Also, I frequently am very sore in my neck along with headaches. This happens at different times, like when I am at work or when I am driving. I regularly exercise and my personal fitness trainer says I have excellent posture when I workout. What’s that all about?
A. Postural distortion is one of the most insidious ways in which we experience cumulative trauma. While we may be conscious of it in the gym, it is everywhere else that we are actually “hard wiring” the way we carry ourselves. The bipedal structure of our musculoskeletal frames and certainly the vast majority of our life activities lend themselves to problems such as the one described above.
Regardless of how it occurs, poor posture that is unchanging results in constant high forces in the musculature. Altered motion and adhesions of the related joints, muscles and other soft tissues create injury and pain. Poor scapular stabilization can add to the disposition of the shoulder. Unilateral activities and handedness can perpetuate and contribute to that disposition.
The most important and easiest form of “self health care” is effective and efficient use of posture. Very simple postural cues can be effectively utilized to help maintain energy efficient movement and decrease painful situations. Combined with effective chiropractic care and application of ART protocols, training for functional core strength will vastly improve this situation.