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Active Release Techniques

Active Release is a patented, state of the art soft tissue treatment system. It is incredibly effective at treating soft tissue injuries of all types. That is, injuries and conditions affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Muscles and other soft tissues can become injured in a number of ways. Injury can occur as a result of daily wear and tear. Like with working, sitting, standing, exercising, poor posture or being in front of a screen all day. Soft tissue injuries can also result from trauma, such as falls, car crashes and playing contact sports.

Regardless of the cause, Active Release has become the ‘Gold Standard’ in soft tissue treatment for athletes and non-athletes alike. When combined with other therapies like   Chiropractic and Graston Technique, it can help to quickly reduce pain and inflammation. The result is increased flexibility, improved soft tissue health, and a quicker return to activity. And that definitely beats taking a bunch of time off because of an injury. Or having to battle through pain because you can't afford to take time off.

Doctor performing Active Release Technique treatment on a woman's shoulder.

How Do Soft Tissue Injuries Occur?

Injury to the muscles and soft tissues typically occur in 1 of 2 ways:

1. Traumatic injury

These injuries often happen as a one-time event, and can involve some big forces. Examples are car crashes, falls, collisions during contact sports, and on-the-job injuries. These types of injuries can cause a lot of damage in a very short period of time, typically measured in seconds.

2. Repetitive Use/Overuse Injury

Unlike traumatic injuries, these result from tiny bits of injury accumulating over time. Sitting at a desk/screen/keyboard can result in neck, shoulder and back pain. If you do something regularly, for long enough, it can cause problems. Like tennis elbow after years of playing, or foot pain after years of standing.

Regardless of the cause, your body’s response to soft tissue injury is the same. It produces tough, dense scar tissue in the injured area. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become stiff and weak, and nerves can become pinched. This can result in pain, inflammation, and a loss of strength and flexibility. Over time this can lead to numbness, tingling, weakness, or a more serious injury. And the sooner you address it, the easier it is to fix.

A diagram of the pain cycle and how it contributes to muscle pain, stiffness, anxiety and poor sleep.

How Does Active Release Work?

Every session of Active Release (ART) is a combination of examination and treatment. ART providers use their hands to evaluate the health and function of muscles and other soft tissues. This helps to identify soft tissues that are stiff or injured. The provider then directs treatment to the injured soft tissues during specific patient movements. This helps release the muscles, break up scar tissue and adhesions, improve function, and reduce pain. With Active Release, Dr. McGahey can target treatment specifically where you need it.

Active Release is incredibly versatile and can be tailored to your specific condition or injury. It really shines when treating common overuse injuries, but it's also effective with tough cases, like whiplash injuries. And Active Release is not just for the spine. In fact, ART gets great results with hands, feet, shoulders, knees and elbows. As far as results go, many people start to feel relief after just one treatment, while others may take a little longer. It really depends on how involved your injury is (trauma vs. repetitive use), and how long you've had it for. 

A man standing on a mountain feeling great after receiving Active Release Techniques treatment.

Can Active Release Help Me?

In simple terms, the wear and tear of life can cause our muscles and soft tissues to become stiff and weak. When that happens, they don't move, stretch or function properly. And because our muscles and soft tissues are what make our joints move, our joints don't move or function properly either. With a car, poor alignment can cause the tires to wear out more quickly than they normally would. The same is true for our bodies and, just like a car, you can do something about it. A soft tissue injury doesn't have to last forever.

Ready to Feel Better?

If stiffness, pain or injury is interfering with your life, don’t ignore the warning signs. If left untreated, a soft tissue injury may develop into a more serious condition. Dr. McGahey can help you get to the source of the problem, and create a treatment plan to help eliminate your pain as quickly as possible. That means getting back to doing more of what you love... and having less pain doing the things you don't love.

Schedule an appointment today and see how Active Release Techniques can help you.


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