What Are Active Release Techniques?
Active Release Techniques Performed by Las Vegas, Summerlin, and Henderson Nevada’s Top Pain Doctors and Chiropractors
Active release techniques (ART) are among the most popular soft tissue therapeutic methods that are used by therapists and chiropractors. ART therapy is typically utilized to treat conditions or injuries that may have developed due to persistent tension or pressure on specific parts of the body. These types of injuries are often caused by repetitive movements, which can lead to weak and tight muscle tissue that becomes prone to scarring, inflammation, and abnormally fused tissue. These symptoms can lead to chronic pain and muscle stiffness.
Types of Active Release Techniques
These techniques involve applying deep pressure with the thumb or fingers to the injured area while carefully instructing patients to engage in movements that cause muscles in the affected region to repeatedly shorten and lengthen. This form of therapy improves muscle strength and restores tissue texture to its normal state. It also improves mobility by reducing stiffness, pain, and inflammation as well as the occurrence of tissue scarring, tearing, and abnormal fusion.
Early diagnosis and treatment leads to a better prognosis as this form of therapy can prevent the need for more invasive treatment such as surgery and often reduces recovery time, which can take months or even up to one year when treatments such as physiotherapy or massage therapy are utilized. ART therapy, however, has the ability to significantly reduce recovery time down to a few weeks in some cases.
ART is described as having a success rate of 90%, but there are a few risks involved with this type of therapy. Cases involving blunt trauma or active inflammation should not be treated with active release technique therapy as it could worsen a patient’s symptoms. It is also recommended that only licensed and experienced professionals perform this technique as serious injury may occur if the therapeutic movements are not conducted properly. Despite these risks, the application of active release techniques are becoming more popular due to their effectiveness as well as their ability to speed recovery and prevent re-injury for extended periods of time.
Conditions Related To Active Release Techniques
Active release rechniques are used to treat various conditions including:
- Chronic lateral epicondylosis (tennis elbow)
- Achilles tendinitis
- External coxa saltans (snapping hip)
- Post-operative shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Knee pain
ART therapy for tennis elbow involves focusing on the forearm muscles as well as the muscles that control wrist movements. For instance, pressure is applied to specific regions on the elbow and the patient is asked to extend the elbow while rotating and flexing the wrist. This form of active release technique causes muscles extending from the elbow through the forearm to repeatedly lengthen and shorten, which relieves fused muscles and returns tissue to its normal texture while relieving pain and inflammation.
Achilles tendinitis is another condition that typically develops from repetitive activities such as sports activities. In order to treat Achilles tendinitis, active release technique can be performed on several different muscles located on the back of the leg such as the calf muscles and posterior tibial muscles. ART helps restore mobility and strength in this region by reducing scarring, muscle fusion, and stiffness.
Snapping hip, where snapping can be heard and felt during movement, is often accompanied by pain and typically believed to be caused by an injured tendon or ligament in the hip. Although it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of snapping hip, ART therapy helps improve blood circulation to muscle tissue in the hips, which reduces the occurrence of scarring, fused muscles, and inflammation. Similar to the previously described applications, the technique involves applying pressure to specific regions of the hip, while asking the patient to engage in movements that lead to the repeated shortening and lengthening of affected muscles.
Additional conditions that are treated with active release techniques such as back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and knee pain, incorporate the same methods in that the tissue and muscles which are affected are first identified and then pressure is applied to certain regions while movements are delegated that cause repetitive elongation and contraction of the muscles. Additionally, the aim of the treatment is the same for many conditions and this form of therapy has proven effective at decreasing pain and scarring at affected sites, while improving mobility and strength.
Active Release Techniques (ART) are soft tissue therapy techniques that are gaining popularity among therapists, chiropractors, and patients as an effective form of treatment for numerous conditions and injuries.
This form of soft tissue therapy can be used to treat various conditions such as chronic lateral epicondylosis (tennis elbow), Achilles tendinitis, external coxa saltans (snapping hip), post-operative shoulder pain, back pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, and knee pain as well as other conditions that are typically caused by overloaded muscles. Overexerted muscles become prone to tearing, scarring, inflammation, and even abnormal fusion that can cause muscle stiffness, decreased mobility, and chronic pain.
ART involves a combination of applying pressure to an affected area while having a patient make specific movements. This causes the shortening and lengthening of muscles which subsequently leads to a reduction of scarring, muscle fusion, and inflammation. This technique also reduces stiffness, which helps patients regain strength and mobility at the injured site. Many of the conditions that are treated with ART can be corrected both quickly and permanently.
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- Howitt SD. Lateral epicondylosis: A case study of conservative care utilizing ART and rehabilitation. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2006;50(3):182-189.
- Miners AL, Bougie TL. Chronic Achilles tendinopathy: a case study of treatment incorporating active and passive tissue warm-up, Graston Technique, ART, eccentric exercise, and cryotherapy. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2011;55(4):269-279.
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- Yuill EA, Macintyre IG. Posterior tibialis tendonopathy in an adolescent soccer player: a case report. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2010;54(4):293-300.