Active Release Techniques (ART) and Arthritis…. It’ll Keep you Movin!

As we begin our winter grind that seems long in Chicago amidst the pandemic, Chicagoans are hopefully continuing to remain active. Staying active, via exercise, stretching, Yoga, and other types of exercise classes will be important to slow the onset of age-related arthritis. Arthritis (aka wear-and-tear arthritis or degeneration), whether it be spinal or non-spinal, afflicts us all. It typically starts in your 30s depending on your lifestyle, previous trauma (falls, accidents), and diet, but can worsen depending on your lifestyle. It begins to impact us as we get older due to the nature of using our bodies for many decades. This post will address how Active Release Techniques (ART) reduces the impact arthritis places on your joints.

ART is a different kind of soft tissue technique because of how it address injury. ART addresses soft tissue injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and around nerves. When you suffer an injury to 1 of these tissues, scar tissue builds up as part of the healing process. The good news is that scar tissue helps healing, but the bad news is that it can limit flexibility, mobility, and function over time as you continue to use this area despite the injury. Active Release Techniques addresses overuse and repetitive injuries promoting circulation, flexibility, and mobility of the affected area(s).

In the case of arthritis, Active Release Techniques loosens up joints both on the spine and in non-spinal areas that are typically common to developing arthritis. These areas include, but are not limited to the neck, lower back, hips, knees, shoulders, and hands. When you visit a health care provider certified in Active Release Techniques, he/she will do a thorough evaluation and examination to determine what tissues are involved that may or may not be impacted by your arthritis. ART providers will aim their treatment to break up scar tissue caused from stiffness, muscle tension, and soreness that arthritis creates. ART will improve circulation, and flexibility in these arthritic areas, but it may take a few visits to see these results. If you are seeing a chiropractic ART provider, manipulation will further enhance mobility and slow down the rate of arthritic changes to the area due to properly aligning these affected areas.

These treatments will be repeated over time due to the fact that arthritis slowly progresses over time, but minimizing a loss of function, range of motion, and flexibility of a tissue (or tissues) will be critical to tackling arthritis in your joints.

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