Soft Tissue Mobilization

Soft Tissue Mobilization

Get back to the activities you love with personalized, evidence-backed treatment plans.

Soft tissue mobilization in Greater St. Louis. Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization is essential for treating many musculoskeletal conditions. This therapeutic approach, focused on activating and smoothing out soft tissue like the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, doesn’t just alleviate pain short term, but restores functionality and enhances the body’s natural healing process, helping our St. Louis patients recover safely and effectively. Soft tissue mobilization is especially useful for St. Louis patients looking for non-invasive treatment methods.

Axes Physical Therapy is locally owned and operated by a team of seasoned St. Louis physical therapists. We combine our passion with improving our patients’ lives with evidence-backed treatment methods to get St. Louis residents back to the activities they love. Whether you’re grappling with an acute injury, chronic discomfort, or post-surgical recovery, Axes Physical Therapy will form a team with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and goals. Contact us online, call the Axes location nearest you, or come to any location for a free injury screening to get started today.

What Is Soft Tissue Mobilization?

Soft tissue mobilization is a therapeutic technique used in physical therapy to treat conditions affecting the soft tissues of the body, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This approach involves various hands-on methods ranging from gentle strokes to deeper pressure, depending on your specific needs. It’s a key element in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, providing relief and restoring function to areas impaired by injury, surgery, or chronic conditions.

What Is Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization?

Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is an advanced form of soft tissue mobilization that utilizes specialized tools to enable deeper and more targeted tissue manipulation. It’s based on James Cyriax‘s deep friction massage. The tools, often made from materials like stainless steel or hard plastic, are shaped differently to conform to different parts of the body and are designed to effectively break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions. IASTM techniques allow therapists to identify and treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. The use of these instruments enhances the therapist’s ability to detect adhesions and restrictions in the soft tissues, and applies precise pressure to promote optimal tissue repair and mobility.

Soft Tissue Mobilization and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (ISTYM) Techniques

Soft tissue mobilization encompasses a range of techniques, each tailored to address specific types of tissue issues and patient needs:

Manual Soft Tissue Mobilization Techniques

  • Massage: One of the most well-known forms, massage involves various strokes and pressures to manipulate soft tissues. It can improve circulation, relieve muscle tension, and promote relaxation.
  • Myofascial Release: This technique focuses on releasing tension in the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles. Practitioners apply gentle, sustained pressure to release fascial restrictions and improve mobility.
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling and Trigger Point Therapy: This method targets trigger points, which are tight knots within muscles that cause pain and discomfort. Pressure is applied to these points to relieve tension and reduce pain.
  • Active Release Techniques (ART): ART combines patient movement with manual pressure to break up adhesions (scar tissue) in muscles and other soft tissues, aiming to restore free movement.
  • Cross-Friction Massage: A transverse massage technique applied perpendicular to the affected tissue. It’s often used for tendons and ligaments to increase circulation and promote healing.
  • Lymphatic Drainage: A gentle technique aiming to stimulate the lymphatic system, helping to remove waste products and reduce swelling, especially in patients with lymphedema.
  • Stretching and Range of Motion Exercises: These are often incorporated into manual soft tissue mobilization to improve flexibility and movement. They can be passive (performed by the therapist) or active (performed by the patient).
  • Joint Mobilization: Involves passive movement of a joint by the therapist to improve motion and reduce pain. It’s often used in combination with other soft tissue techniques.

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) Techniques

  • Astym® Therapy: Uses specific protocols and instruments to regenerate healthy soft tissues and remove unwanted scar tissue.
  • Graston Technique®: Involves stainless steel instruments to reduce restrictions by stretching connective tissues so that their structure is rearranged.
  • HawkGrips® Therapy: Employs a range of precision-engineered tools designed to decrease pain in minutes, increase range of motion, and reduce need for medication and surgery.

Each of the above techniques has been proven by science to have its specific applications and benefits, and one of our licensed St. Louis physical therapists can tailor these methods to your individual needs. We’ll use these techniques, in tandem with other therapies and patient education, to help heal you and get you back to the activities you love.

Benefits of Soft Tissue Mobilization for St. Louis Patients

Soft tissue mobilization, when performed by licensed and professional St. Louis physical therapists such as those at Axes, offers a plethora of benefits to St. Louis patients dealing with various musculoskeletal conditions. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the key advantages:

  • Accelerated Healing Process —
    • Enhanced Blood Flow: Soft tissue mobilization techniques improve circulation, bringing essential nutrients and oxygen to injured areas, thus accelerating the healing process.
    • Reduced Inflammation: These techniques help in reducing inflammation and swelling in affected areas, which is crucial for healing.
    • Breakdown of Scar Tissue: Especially with IASTM, the breakdown of scar tissue facilitates quicker regeneration of healthy tissue.
  • Improvement in Tissue Alignment and Function —
    • Restoration of Normal Tissue Function: By releasing tension and restrictions in soft tissues, these techniques restore normal function and range of motion.
    • Improved Flexibility: Regular soft tissue mobilization can lead to increased flexibility and strength in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
    • Alignment Correction: These methods can help realign collagen fibers and improve the overall structure of soft tissues.
  • Reduction of Pain and Increased Mobility —
    • Pain Relief: Soft tissue mobilization is effective in reducing chronic pain and discomfort associated with various conditions.
    • Increased Mobility: By addressing the underlying causes of stiffness and immobility, these techniques help patients regain their full range of motion.
    • Prevention of Future Injuries: Regular treatment can also play a role in preventing future injuries by maintaining healthy, supple tissues.

The benefits of soft tissue mobilization, especially when combined with Axes Physical Therapy’s comprehensive and personalized approach to care in St. Louis, are far-reaching. When you form a treatment team with us, you’ll not only experience relief from your current ailments but also enjoy an enhanced quality of life with improved physical function.

Soft Tissue Mobilization | Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization | IASTM

Conditions Treated with Soft Tissue Mobilization in St. Louis

Axes Physical Therapy employs soft tissue mobilization, including instrument assisted techniques (IASTM), to treat a wide spectrum of conditions, each with its unique challenges and requirements. Here’s how these methods are applied across different types of injuries and conditions in St. Louis:

Acute Injuries

Acute injuries refer to sudden physical traumas to the body, often resulting from accidents or specific incidents during activities, like sports injuries. These injuries typically involve sudden pain, swelling, and loss of function. Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization and other soft tissue mobilization techniques play a crucial role in reducing inflammation, promoting healing, and restoring function in these cases.

Common acute injuries treated include:

Chronic Injuries

Chronic injuries develop over time, often due to repetitive stress or prolonged wear and tear on the body. These injuries are characterized by persistent pain, stiffness, and often a gradual onset. Soft tissue mobilization is effective in these scenarios for breaking down scar tissue, alleviating pain, and improving mobility.

Common chronic injuries treated include:

  • Tendonosis
  • ITB Syndrome
  • Plantar Fasciitis

Post-Surgical Conditions

Following surgery and in post-surgical rehab, patients often face challenges like scar tissue formation, adhesions, and restricted mobility. Soft tissue mobilization, especially IASTM, is invaluable in these situations for enhancing tissue healing, reducing scar tissue formation, and helping regain lost motion and function.

Common issues we treat with soft tissue mobilization in post surgical rehabilitation include:

  • Excessive scarring
  • Adhesions/Fibrosis
  • Loss of motion

By applying soft tissue mobilization techniques appropriately, Axes Physical Therapy effectively addresses a broad array of conditions, aiding St. Louis patients in their journey towards recovery, improved quality of life, and returning to the activities they love most.

Call Axes Physical Therapy for Your Soft Tissue Mobilization in St. Louis Today

Axes Physical Therapy in St. Louis combines expertise, passion, and a patient-centered approach to deliver optimal results in soft tissue mobilization. Choosing Axes means entrusting your care to a team that values your health and wellbeing, striving not just for immediate relief but for long-term functional improvement that gets you back to the activities you love most safely and effectively. Don’t let pain or mobility issues hold you back any longer. Reach out to Axes Physical Therapy and take the first step towards a healthier, more active life. Contact us online, call the Axes location nearest you, or come to any location for a free injury screening to get started today.


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