Soft Tissue Manipulation (STM) is a skilled manual therapy that specifically treats problems involving muscle, tendon, ligament, and fascia. These connective tissues are often damaged during trauma, but are also at risk from repetitive activities such as assembly work, data entry, and "mousing" all day long. Performing the same tasks each day, over and over puts specific tissues at risk w/o the luxury of adequate recovery time between tasks. Musicians are commonly at risk from practicing specific skills for several hours each day. Regardless of the origin of this condition, the body will produce dense fibrotic scar tissue in response to the stress and strain. This fibrotic scar tissue alters normal function and can now place strain on other tissues as well. This scar tissue is prone to inflammation and has a greater population of free nerve endings causing the tissue to become hypersensitive. These injuries are real, complex, and require specific treatment.
Soft tissue injuries are commonly diagnosed during the physical examination. The examiner will need to have developed refined palpation skills to properly assess these conditions and then also needs to have been trained in effective treatment techniques to adequately resolve these problems. For these very reasons, soft tissue injury often goes overlooked and under treated.
Soft tissue manipulation is often employed in the treatment of headache, whiplash, back spasms, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, rotator cuff injuries, plantar fasciitis, frozen shoulder, and tennis elbow to just a few conditions that require STM to achieve adequate relief.
Soft Tissue Manipulation reduces muscle spasm/adhesion, improves circulation, and promotes proper muscle function. Other benefits include a reduction in scar tissue formation, muscle imbalance, and entrapment syndromes.