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Soft Tissue Mobilization

Manual therapy: a clinical "hands-on" therapeutic technique used to decrease pain and improve the mobility of soft tissues, joints, and nerves.

At OMPT, we use manual therapy to both assess/diagnose as well as treat body regions with pain/dysfunction.

As we have discussed in the past, there are many benefits to manual therapy:

  • Decreasing pain

  • Improving range of motion

  • Improving circulation

  • Improving tissue repair

  • Improving the sliding and gliding of tissues relative to each other

  • Decreasing inflammation, promoting relaxation

  • Facilitating tissue preparation for activity and loading

This week, we are introducing soft tissue mobilization (STM), also known as sports or therapeutic massage. Many folks are familiar with a traditional massage performed by a massage therapist in a health center or a spa. Massage therapy as a health practice has been around since the early days of human communities dating back to many ancient cultures. In physical therapy, massage/STM is a bit different in that the techniques are focused on a targeted area of the body and with very specific goals.

STM is a hands-on technique that is generally targeted at muscles. During this treatment, the provider will apply light to deep pressure to an area to relax a trigger point (a tight "knotted" muscle in spasm), lengthen a tight muscle, help relax a sore muscle, and decrease pain in an overused muscle.

We find that particular body areas respond very well to STM, specifically back muscles, quad muscles, calf muscles, and muscles on the top of our shoulders (many of us tend to hold tension here...this is your reminder to relax them!).

In general, we use STM to help decrease pain, speed up the tissue healing process, and prime soft tissues for mobility drills and loading exercises. Massage is a passive technique with mixed evidence for the long-term benefits, which is why it is only a small part of our process to facilitate holistic healing. We aim to follow massage with active techniques such as mobility routines, balance drills, and strength training to drive long-term injury recovery and pain relief.



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Is there an area of your body that is whispering to you?

Reach out today to learn how we can support you! Be well,

Nicole and the OMPT team

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