ART: Active Release Technique


What is Active Release Technique?

The first time you experience Active Release Technique (ART) you will understand why it’s been a part of Ironman, Professional Sports, and nearly all levels of athletics for the last 30 years.  At Rising Sun Chiropractic, Dr. Nelson was certified at the start of his career after experiencing great success with his own chronic back pain.


A Hands-On Technique

When you have pain, new or old, you want it gone.  ART gets hands-on, locating muscle injuries, inflammation, and lack of motion through touch and motion.  During your examination, we don’t just focus on one spot of pain, our bodies work as a dynamic machine, and we need to think about the areas that connect to your injury.  Using Active Release Technique, we are able to assess your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves around each injured joint to provide a deeper and more thorough level of care.


How Does Active Release Technique work?

After identifying your injury we isolate it through movement. We target scar tissue, inflammation, muscle dysfunction, and nerve entrapments. These all contribute to you developing chronic pain from even simple injuries. The treatment involves pressure on those injured tissues and movement of the joint or muscle around them.  This triggers increased blood flow, the recruitment of specific repair cells called fibroblasts that actually go to work on healing your injury immediately.


What body parts are treated?

ART can be used to treat pain and other symptoms caused by injury or damage to:

  • Fascia-This is the fibrous connective tissue that protects and supports muscles and organs throughout your body. Inflammation across a band of fascia tissue can cause extreme pain and stiffness. Plantar fasciitis is a common fascia tissue condition.
  • Major muscle groups- Strains and pulls from overuse or trauma can affect any of your major muscle groups. This includes muscles in your neck and shoulders, back, and hamstrings.
  • Tendons and ligaments- Tendons connect muscles to bone and ligaments connect bone to bone. Injury to either can cause pain and decrease range of motion. Think of things like tennis elbow, golfers elbow, biceps tendonitis, frozen shoulder, Achilles tendonitis and many more.


What conditions are treated?


How Active Release Technique works

Active Release Technique works by breaking up adhesions, which are dense collections of scar tissue that form when muscles and connective tissues are injured. When the scar tissue binds between your muscles, it limits flexibility, causing pain and stiffness in muscles and joints.

Sometimes adhesions can also entrap nerves. The manipulation of the soft tissues through ART breaks up the adhesions so your muscles, joints, and nerves can move freely again.

During an ART session at Rising Sun Chiropractic, Dr. Nelson will feel the area and identify the location of the scar tissue. They’ll use the technique to isolate and target the area, manipulating it to break up the scar tissue and restore proper blood flow so the area can heal.


Do you Have scar tissue?

The following are signs that you may have an accumulation of scar tissue that may benefit from ART:

  • stiffness in your neck, elbow, hands, knees, or back
  • increased pain when exercising
  • sharp pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel
  • pain, numbness, and tingling in your fingers
  • reduced flexibility and limited range of motion
  • decreased strength
  • inflamed joints
  • tingling, numbness, or weakness


Treatment goals

The goal of ART is to break up the adhesions and restore your range of motion and improve your pain. By breaking up scar tissue, muscles and joints are able to glide and move freely again without pain and stiffness.


Benefits of Active Release Technique

Active Release Technique offers many benefits for anyone who has pain and other symptoms caused by soft tissue injuries either from sports, overuse, or trauma. The improved ability of your body to heal both chronic and acute injures allows for a more complete resolution and reduces the likely hood of re-injury.

Benefits include:

  • increased flexibility
  • increased range of motion
  • decreased lower back pain
  • improved chronic neck pain
  • relief of tension headaches
  • management of carpal tunnel
  • management of shin splints
  • management of plantar fasciitis
  • management of tennis elbow
  • improvement of sciatic symptoms


What to expect from Active Release Technique

ART involves exact pressure and can be uncomfortable. Dr. Nelson and the team at Rising Sun Chiropractic will always listen and make sure you are always able to tollerate your care.  Some injuries are more painful to treat, and some of us have different thresholds to discomfort.  We can always adapt your care to suit you.

It can work in as little as one session for some, though some people may need more than one.


The takeaway

ART is an effective treatment for a variety of conditions and injuries of the soft tissues, such as overuse and sports injuries. It can help relieve pain and stiffness and help restore your range of motion so you can return to your favorite activities.

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