What is Active Release Technique Therapy?

Active Release Technique, or A.R.T., was developed in 1988 by Dr. Michael Leahy, DC and is now has become the gold standard throughout the world to treat soft tissue injuries due to trauma, overuse or repetitive stress injuries. Active Release Technique therapy is perfect for the athlete or weekend warrior looking for a non-invasive solution to common soft tissue injuries.

Soft Tissue injuries occur in 3 general ways:

  • acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions, etc) – an injury event occurred
  • accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma) – repetitive movements with work or sport
  • not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia) – poor postures with static sitting, standing, computers

Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that normally move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons can cause tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause muscle pain, reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain.  If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.

When Should I Use Active Release Technique Therapy?

A.R.T. can be used preventatively or in response to a condition. If rest, ice packs, stretching, and/or ibuprofen aren’t resolving your complaint, you may want to schedule an A.R.T. exam and treatment.

Common conditions helped include:

  • Tendonitis condition in shoulder, wrist, hip, ankle, etc
  • Golfers or Tennis Elbow conditions
  • Rotator Cuff Shoulder Injury
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Tension Headaches, pain in upper back and shoulders
  • Chronic Neck & Low Back Pain
  • Hamstring or Quad sprain/strain
  • A surgery that has resulted in excessive scar tissue forming around the area

How Does Active Release Technique Therapy Work?

Every A.R.T. session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The A.R.T. provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. The doctor will exam how they are interacting with the surrounding tissues. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements. This allows your doctor to physically break the adhesion and improve range of motion and strength. These treatment protocols – over 500 specific moves – are unique to A.R.T.  They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient by being direct and accurate in working with your anatomy. A.R.T. is not a cookie-cutter approach and allows for specific identification of the structures involved with your condition.

Depending on the severity and chronic nature of the condition, your doctor may recommend other treatments that will work hand-in-hand with the Active Release Technique therapy. Additional treatments such as massage, acupuncture, cryotherapy, chiropractic care, or physical therapy may be beneficial in speeding up recovery and help to retrain injured tissues.

Bottom line, all soft tissue injury conditions can benefit greatly from Active Release Technique. Everything from major tears to micro-tears can be addressed. If you’re wondering if you have to be a professional athlete to see us at our clinic, the answer is no. Even if you don’t consider yourself an athlete, our doctors will provide you with the same treatment protocols we use for the Denver Broncos players and other pro athletes we see at our clinic!

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