Dr. Mike Distler performing Active Release Technique on a patient at Physio Logic in Downtown Brooklyn

Chiropractor Dr. Mike Distler discusses the reasons why Active Release Technique (ART) is useful in treating soft tissue injuries and mobility issues. 

Active Release Technique (ART) is a soft tissue management system used to diagnosis and treat injuries to muscle, fascia, tendon, and nerve through specific anatomical contact and movement patterns.

ART is used to treat both acute and chronic soft tissue injuries that have occurred via traumatic event or repetitive motion.

The goal of ART is to prevent a patient from entering a cycle of cumulative soft tissue injury—defined by stages of friction, pressure, tension, decreased circulation, adhesion, fibrosis, physical disruption, and inflammation—or to break the cumulative injury cycle for patients that already present with evidence of cumulative trauma.

Treatment is performed by applying hand contact to the identified tissue with specific pressure and tension followed by either active or passive patient motion (preferably active, but this is dependent on patient and tissue tolerance). The technique will vary based on the soft tissue diagnosis, but the most common treatment method is to establish hand contact to the involved tissue with the tissue in a shortened position (i.e., approximation of the proximal and distal attachment points of the tissue) then bringing the tissue to a fully lengthened position while maintaining the hand contact longitudinally along the tissue.

At Physio Logic, practitioners perform a comprehensive orthopedic, neurological, and functional exam to determine a patient’s pain generating tissue(s) as well as the cause of a patient’s symptoms, which generally fall into two main categories:

1) stability and/or motor control dysfunction and 2) mobility dysfunction (which can be further divided into tissue extensibility dysfunction and joint mobility dysfunction).

In order to provide the proper treatment, it is critical to determine which areas of the body require which type of treatment.

For mobility problems (i.e., tissue extensibility dysfunction and/or joint mobility dysfunction), chiropractors at Physio Logic use ART to diagnosis the specific tissue(s) involved and then restore normal movement to the involved tissue(s). For example, a patient presents with supraspinatus impingement—a condition defined by repetitive compression of the supraspinatus tendon in the subacromial space in the shoulder commonly involving poor scapular movement patterns.

At Physio Logic, we work as a team to perform exercise therapy to provide stability to the weaker tissues (e.g., middle trapezius, lower trapezius, serratus anterior, rhomboid major/minor) and to perform myofascial release to provide tissue extensibility and joint mobility to areas with restricted movement (e.g., upper trapezius, levator scapulae, pec major, pec minor, subscapularis, cervical/thoracic joint capsules).

Pain management and nutrition may be used to help with soft tissue release and recovery in cases that present with complicating factors or underlying conditions that impact patient prognosis.

Want to see if Active Release Technique is right for you? Schedule your appointment today.