Do you have an injury or condition that is not responding as much as you had hoped to regular care? Or are you simply curious about new techniques or different approaches that you have not yet tried?
As healthcare practitioners, we occasionally like to have different tools in our toolbox to further help our patients. Sometimes, some conditions do not respond as well to our management plans as we had hoped. Some conditions require more or less aggressiveness. In these instances, it is nice to be able to refer to different techniques.
Additional tools include:
Active Release Therapy® (ART)
Dr. P Michael Leahy developed Active Release Technique® (ART) over 30 years ago for elite athletes. It is a different way to help the soft tissues in order to return to peak performance as soon as possible. ART® is a patented, state of the art form of manual therapy. The practitioner assesses the soft tissues – their tightness, mobility and texture. Then the practitioner uses pressure on the muscle, tendon, ligament or other tissue, and moves the affected tissue under the fingers, in a stretching motion. The goal is to return the tissues to a smooth movement and decompress or release any blood vessels or nerves. Physiotherapy using ART® has shown to have great results with headaches, TMJ (jaw) problems, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis as well as nerve problems. ART® is known for its effect on overuse and over strained soft tissues.
An amateur athlete developed Graston Technique® approximately 20 years ago. He was frustrated by the lack of improvement in his rehabilitation for a knee injury. Combining his expertise in machining and his devotion to his rehabilitation progress, he created several instruments to use in order to help soft tissues. When using this technique, the practitioner uses specifically designed stainless steel instruments over the soft tissues – muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The practitioner can assess the tissues and find the areas where there is tension, fibrosis or scar tissue and inflammation. The technique is non invasive and it is a good way for the practitioner to go deep into the tissue, break down scar tissue, adhesions and restrictions in the fascia, yet respect the patient’s pain and tolerance.
Graston Technique®’s benefits include decreased overall process time, quicker recovery, reduced need for anti-inflammatories, permanent improvements of supposed chronic conditions. Common conditions proven to have better outcomes with Graston Technique® include: Achilles tendinosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, fibromyalgia, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, back pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis (foot pain), shoulder tendinitis, scar tissue (including scarring), shin splints as well as trigger finger.
There are so many reasons to use taping or sports taping other than for an injury that just occurred. Physiotherapist can use taping for prevention of injury, rehabilitation of a condition, even chronic conditions, posture training, sports training, etc. Many taping techniques exist for different body locations. The exact method of taping is different depending on the reason, the goals and the individual’s anatomy.
Because everyone is different, there is no “correct” method of applying tape. The practitioner will do a thorough examination in order to determine what taping technique will be best for the patient. The goal may be to prevent a certain movement, support certain soft tissues, offload specific structures, etc. Therefore, the physiotherapist uses a taping method personalized to the patient and there is some level of improvisation necessary for each individual. The physiotherapist may also modify their technique as the patient progresses. Each time a patient gets taping, it will be done to be most beneficial.
Physiotherapist use a new method of taping or sports taping know as K-Taping or Kinesio-Taping. It is very popular amongst athletes. It is very common to see professional athletes with the bright blue, pink or black tape in various sports. This type of tape is thinner and stretchy. Physiotherapist may use it for a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, sports injuries or training and inflammatory conditions. The tape is designed to be more like skin in terms of thickness and elasticity. This allows patient to wear the tape without any restriction of movement. It actually permits movement. Patient using K-Taping or Kenisio-Taping have shown to improve sports performance, prevent injury as well as permit a faster return to activity or sports.
Physiotherapist use dry needling often for many conditions, most commonly for myofascial trigger points as well as local and referred symptoms. This helps sensitize the central nervous system (brain) and the peripheral nervous system (nerves). It also addresses the soft tissue dysfunctions and biomechanical imbalances. The practitioner will insert very thin acupuncture needles (no injections) into the soft tissues – skin, muscles, tendon, ligaments and fascia). This will activate the healing process, increase circulation, decrease inflammation and bring relief in pain and restore healthy physiology. Dry Needling combines traditional acupuncture, motor point needling as well as trigger point needling. The goal is to create a release in the muscle that is tight and painful. This help can be very effective for conditions that are stubborn and that are not getting better.
These new techniques are very beneficial for all types of patients. Each in their own way, they aim to help transform your soft tissues into healthy functioning tissues!