The goal of a chiropractic adjustment is to identify areas in the spine where range of motion may be limited or restricted, and restore movement through a gentle manual adjustment. There are cases where a chiropractic adjustment may be contraindicated due to pain, inflammation, or a patient's unique history. In such instances, the doctor may choose to forgo a traditional chiropractic adjustment and instead utilize a more gentle manual joint mobilization, consisting of slowly and rhythmically guiding a joint through it's biomechanical movement while attempting to gain more range of motion.
Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization was originally developed and popularized by the "Graston Technique" in the mid-1990's. Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization utilizes hand-held stainless steel tools to assist in detecting and treating areas of thicker and sometimes more chronic scar tissue. Although more aggressive and not suitable for every patient, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization can be particularly helpful in treating scar tissue found in ligaments, tendons, and fascia surrounding joints.
Soft Tissue Mobilization
One of the most important parts of rehabilitating and recovering from an injury is the introduction of movement and exercise early on in the healing process. Inflammation can neurologically inhibit muscles from firing, thus creating imbalances and instability surrounding the injury. As inflammation is decreased and range of motion is restored, the retraining of muscular firing patterns and the restoration of muscular strength is essential for full recovery and future injury prevention. Rehabilitative exercises do not have to be overly complicated, nor do they have to consume hours of your day. The key is targeted, simple exercises designed to re-establish strength and function after an injury, followed by sport-specific exercises designed to get you back on the field and prevent re-injury.
Joint Mobilization and Chiropractic Adjustments
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
Soft tissues are the muscles, fascia, ligaments, tendons, bursae, and nerves of the body. Soft tissue mobilization refers to the specific treatment of these structures with manual therapy. When an injury occurs, inflammation causes fibrous tissue to form in and around muscles and the soft tissue structures surrounding the injured area. Inflammation can also cause muscle guarding or muscle spams. Fibrous tissue, or "scar tissue" created by inflammation and muscle spasms can lead to pain, decreased range of motion, decreased biomechanical function, and a predisposition to re-injury. Soft tissue mobilization specifically targets the soft tissues that are involved in an injury, with the goal of decreasing pain, muscle spasm, removing scar tissue, and restoring proper muscle length and function. Soft tissue mobilization consists of manual therapy conducted by the doctor's hands and often times involves joint movement and sports specific movements and positions.
Functional taping or "kinesio tape" has become very popular among athletes of all skill levels. Functional taping helps support joints by neurologically stimulating the taped muscles to fire, thus providing correctional support and stability for the joint. Functional taping allows the joint to feel more support, yet does not restrict range of motion like traditional white tape. This can be an important piece in helping an athlete rehabilitate and return to play after an injury.