Active Release Technique (ART)

Active Release Techniques (ART) and how it works

Active Release Techniques (ART) works on a variety of different soft tissue injuries.  Most Chicago athletes may likely develop an overuse condition to region of their body depending on how often he/she attends fitness classes.  Soft tissue injuries, or injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves can occur when taking the same exercise & fitness classes and are not cross-training.  As great as a particular class may be, if you do not change it up, you are likely going to get injured.  When an injury occurs, seeking out an ART certified health care professional will help you recover faster, but allow you to resume exercising much sooner.

ART generally deals with sub-acute and chronic injuries to your soft tissues because of how it works.  ART works by breaking scar tissue that has formed in the soft tissues through the cumulative injury cycle (CIC).  When this occurs, there is an initial moment when the soft tissue undergoes a tearing or crushing effect.  This initial period takes place over the first 24-72 hours of a new injury.

The injury creates inflammation and leads to adhesions/scar tissue formation (AKA fibrosis [think of scar tissue as Elmer’s glue as it when builds up: it becomes tough, hard, and matted]).   As scar tissue forms in a muscle, tendon, ligament, or nerve, it leads to poorer circulation of blood to the soft tissue resulting in more edema/swelling and reduced function.   Over time, the tissue becomes weak and tight due to overuse and repetitive movements.  This creates a change in both the texture and tension of how this particular tissue functions.

Then, the cycle repeats itself if treatment is not sought out creating more tissue changes as your injury time increases.  Seeking out an ART certified health professional will break this process quickly and get you back you to exercising faster.   Most ART professionals are chiropractors because the founder of ART, Dr. Mike Leahy, is a chiropractor who started ART over 30 years ago.

ART chiropractors can quickly assess the mechanics of the injury, the tissue involved,  and treat it to improve your pain, flexibility, and function.  ART is generally regarded as a “good hurt” where the tissue is stretched to break down the scar tissue formed and to enhance one’s function.  Like all therapies, ART is 1 way to treat a soft tissue injury, but it is one of the more effective modalities to evaluate, and accomplish treating an injury that has been present for a few days to a few years.   Depending on the nature of one’s injury, it may take a few treatments to exhibit some improvement to the patient’s condition.  As one addresses the cause of the injury, more gains can be made as other therapies are utilized to help healing (manipulation and rehabilitative exercises performed and prescribed by a chiropractor).

ART can get you back to competition faster. Don’t let your injury slow you down!

Brian Marion, DC, CCSP, ART, CKTP

Lincoln Park Chiropractic 2202 N. Lincoln Ave Suite 1 Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 248-2790

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