Offered by Dan Selstad, ATC, Active Release Therapy is a patented, state-of-the-art system that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. When an injury occurs, it produces abnormal texture, tension, and length in the affected tissues. The result is pain, reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and decreased athletic performance.
Dan Selstad, ATC, is a certified athletic trainer and a credentialed ART provider. He treats the full range of repetitive strain and stress-related injuries. Dan’s clients include professional athletes, amateur athletes, office workers, musicians, and others. Dan’s Performance Care practice is located in the state-of-the-art Sheppard Spine and Sports Clinic in Solana Beach.
ART uses the hands of the examiner to apply the technique. The primary goal of the ART system is to establish the proper motion between the fascia and muscles while reducing the number of fibrous adhesions. Proper myofascial and neural glide ultimately is reestablished and restores proper function for the patient.
The ART technique frequently is used by Sheppard Spine and Sports Clinic on patients who have chronic, acute, overuse and repetitive use injuries. The system also is effective to treat various post-operative conditions and pain. In fact, the number of post-operative patients treated with the ART technique is increasing due to the growth of scar tissue during the healing process. It is becoming more recognized that treating the scar tissue is important for improving patient outcomes over the long term.
Scar tissue is highly dense and fibrous material that is formed by the body to connect and bind tissue that has been injured. Problems occur when that scar tissue attaches itself to surrounding tissue. If nerves run through a muscle where scar tissue has attached, that nerve can be pinched or entrapped, which can trigger a pain response.
Conditions ART May Help
Some of the patients who commonly benefit from ART include those suffering from :
- Back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Shin splints
- Shoulder pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Tennis elbow
All of these conditions can be effectively treated with ART. In fact, many conditions that involve overused muscles can be treated with this state of the art treatment system. Overuse and repetitive stress increases the tension of various tissues in the body. Chronic tension on tissues decreases the blood supply and can cause the body to develop adhesions.
ART uses patient movements to increase the tension on scar tissues. Each ART session features examination and treatment, which treats the injured soft tissues. ARTS targets certain muscles, and also targets the precise area of the scars in each tissue. ART features more than 500 specific protocols that treat various affected parts of the body.
What Is ART Like?
After your therapist has determined a diagnosis based upon an examination and patient history, treatment can begin. As soft tissue injuries that are due to scar tissue cannot be diagnosed with imaging devices, such as MRI or X-ray, ART is actually a diagnostic tool. The practitioner will determine where exactly the adhesions are and how serious the soft tissue injury is simply by touch.
ART typically is rendered with direct contact from the practitioner on your skin. The doctor will determine the area that needs to be treated, and then you may move that body part yourself or it will be moved passively for you. The contact made by the practitioner, in addition to the movements you make, help the adhesions to separate.
ART directly treats the areas of adhesion to break up scar tissue that is creating pain and dysfunction. These sites are sensitive to start with, so ART may create some ‘pain,’ but it is often described by patients as a ‘good pain.’ But pressure will never be applied beyond what you can tolerate.
How Long Does ART Take?
Every patient is different. Typically, the patient may require between two to six visits, with a visit lasting up to 30 minutes. However, your experience could be different. Factors that will affect the time of treatment include how severe the problem is, how willing you are to be treated, and your overall health. Each patient must take an active role in their treatment plan to reduce the risk of recurrence. This could involve you needing to perform exercises to strengthen tissues, or to refrain from certain activities that are causing problems.
Who Can Benefit?
Sheppard Spine and Sports Clinic has treated many types of patients who suffer from soft tissue injuries. ART can be effective on professional athletes, office workers, blue collar workers, homemakers, high school and college athletes, and many others with soft tissue injuries and pain. Performance of many tasks, including typing, golfing, running, walking and golfing can be significantly improved with ART.
Whatever the patient’s walk of life, ART can treat tendons, muscles and ligaments in all parts of the body that are bound by scar tissue. The ART technique frees the soft tissues’ ability to function normally and thus reduces your pain. ART also can effectively treat peripheral nerve entrapments where nerves have become entangled with scar tissue. Through the extensive training of your Sheppard Spine and Sports Clinical professional, this scar tissue can be broken up and the adhesions reduced, leading to greatly lessened pain and discomfort.
Remember that only healthcare professionals who are certified in Active Release Techniques can effectively provide ART treatment. Sheppard Spine and Sports Clinic have been certified in ART techniques, and can help you to increase movement, reduce pain and restore your life. Remember, you do not have to live with pain: If it is a soft tissue injury that is causing pain, it can most often be remedied with ART.
- Active Release Therapy Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.activerelease.com/