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Active Release Technique

The goal of ART® is to break up the adhesions or scar tissue commonly found in acute and chronic soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue most commonly refers to muscle, tendon, ligament and nerve. This scar tissue forms as a result of acute injury or repetitive overuse conditions. ART® works to eliminate the pain and dysfunction associated with these adhesions. It accomplishes this by manually treating the affected tissue with precisely directed tension while combining specific patient movements.

How Active Release Techniques® works

ART® is a manual therapy designed specifically to find scars in damaged tissue and release the adhesions that result. Fibrous adhesions are produced in an injury or when a muscle is deprived of oxygen. The adhesions act like tiny dabs of glue sticking to muscle fibers and between connective tissues, preventing the normal sliding movements that occur between healthy tissue. Adhesions limit muscle or joint movement and can create abnormal or painful motion. Adhesions to a nerve can cause numbness, tingling or radiating pain, e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome or the radiating leg pain of sciatica.

By focusing on these adhesions, ART can help with numerous conditions that result in pain, numbness, weakness or loss of mobility. ART can play a key role in improving athletic performance and injury prevention.

Increasing numbers of chiropractors, physicians, osteopaths, physical and occupational therapists are using ART® . Professional, amateur athletic programs and many world-class athletes recognize these techniques as a successful way of treating and managing soft tissue injuries.

Benefits of Active Release Techniques® Treatment

ART® can often help with a variety of soft tissue conditions such as:

  • tennis and golfers elbow
  • back and shoulder pain
  • whiplash
  • plantar fasciitis
  • achilles tendonitis
  • shin splints

ART® can be effective where adhesions have entrapped nerves such as in carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica and headaches. In addition, this therapy can help in acute injuries by working the surrounding tissues to lessen the stress on the injury itself. In later stages the injury site can be worked to maximize the quality of the stabilizing scar tissue and minimize the overproduction of scar tissue.

ART® is also effective for joint conditions. Adhesions can limit a muscle’s ability to lengthen, which can alter the biomechanics of the joint. This can lead to decreased mobility of the joint or abnormal motion, which in turn can cause wear and tear on the joint. Examples include spinal joint conditions, shoulder impingements, and runner’s knee.

What to Expect from an Active Release Techniques® Treatment Program

Correct diagnosis of soft tissue injury is essential for effective treatment, so we carefully evaluate the texture, tension and movement of an injury and surrounding tissues.

After the injury has been evaluated, it is treated manually. The most common method is to move the tissue through a full range of motion while applying manual force along the scar tissue.

A treatment session typically lasts about 15 to 20 minutes. We use a thumb or finger contact to find and differentiate the tissues, their motions, and any adhesions.

The patient actively moves the limb or body to separate and create tension between the tissues while the contact breaks through the adhesions.

ART® is usually a very effective treatment on its own. However it can be combined with other types of treatment that contribute to optimal joint function. Chiropractic manipulation is often used in combination with ART® (especially with spinal conditions). As well, rehabilitative exercises to improve strength and flexibility are usually necessary.

In many cases the problem is fixed, or significant improvement is seen, in four to five treatments. If we have not seen a change by this time, further investigation may be advised.

Contact Us for more information about Active Release Techniques.