Therapy and Repetitive Strain Injuries
no question that conservative therapy is the
best option for those suffering with a Repetitive
Strain Injury. From Trigger Finger to Thoracic
Outlet Syndrome, conservative therapy produces
the best results, limited side effects (if any),
quicker results and long-lasting relief.
There are many types of conservative treatments
that provide a variety of positive benefits to the user. Massage
Therapy is a terrific conservative treatment that provides good
results by itself, and even greater results when combined with
a stretch and exercise routine.
Massage is used to help relax and lengthen
tight, restrictive muscles, break down scar tissue in injured muscles,
reduce adhesions on affected tendons at their point of attachment
to the muscle or to the bone, remove toxins from muscles and increase
overall circulation and nutrient delivery to the associated tissues.
All of these wonderful benefits help overworked muscles to relax
and injured muscles to recover. The problem is this. Massage Therapy
does not correct the muscle imbalances causing the Repetitive
Strain Injury. Massage Therapy can greatly assist the rehabilitation
/ treatment process, but once a muscle has been injured and has
atrophied to any significant degree, or a muscle has gone into
a state of chronic hypertonicity, other therapeutic elements must
be added to the treatment regimen in order to completely eliminate
the Repetitive Strain Injury.
An integral part of treating Repetitive Strain Injuries is the implementation
of a stretch and exercise routine specifically designed to create structural
integrity and muscle balance where the injury exists. If the injury is Tennis
Elbow, there must be an equality of strength between the wrist and elbow flexors,
wrist and elbow extensors, and wrist and forearm pronators and supinators.
By creating strong flexible muscles surrounding the specific joint, that joint
will no longer be highly susceptible to Repetitive Strain Injuries.
The integration of Massage Therapy, stretches, exercises and hydrotherapy is
a highly effective treatment protocol for many types of injuries. An example
of a treatment sequence for a 'chronic injury', no matter the affected area,
should follow along these lines:
Heat - Heat to increase circulation
to the area, making the soft tissues relaxed
Phase-I - Specific massage treatment
utilizing Trigger Point Release techniques to
release muscle spasm and Transverse Friction
Massage to break down adhesions.
Stretch - Stretch
overly restrictive tissues to increase their length
and reduce their compression of underlying tissues.
Exercise - Perform
strengthening exercises for the affected tissues
in order to reduce tensile strain on the injured
area, heal micro-tears and increase healing nutrients
to the injured area. Strong muscles create stability
and prevent future reoccurrence of micro-tears
to a previously affected area
Phase-II - Perform light Petrissage
and Effleurage towards the heart to remove the
toxins created from undergoing Trigger Point
Release, Transverse Friction Massage, stretches
Cold - Cool the injured tissues in an
elongated position as to not lose range-of-motion
(ROM) of the affected tissues and to further
remove toxins from the area.
and the involvement of the techniques listed
above are very effective in eliminating chronic Repetitive
Strain Injuries. Any one element by itself
is OK, but by implementing several sound conservative
techniques, the success rate of the treatment
increases dramatically. Remember, when injuries
are present, choose the "Conservative Alternative".
Author: Jeff Anliker, LMT, is a Therapist and Inventor
Exercise Products that are utilized
by Corporations, Consumers and Medical
Facilities around the world for the prevention
and rehabilitation of repetitive strain