Welcome to part 2! So with Overuse Syndrome explained in Part 1, let me move onto explaining how Soft Tissue Therapy can help.
As discussed in Part 1, Overuse Syndrome causes micro-trauma to muscle fibres. The body reacts to the micro-trauma by sending substances like collagen to patch up the micro-tears, creating scar tissue. Any bleeding that has occurred will stop and form adhesions. These scar tissues and adhesions can cause the surrounding fibres and fascia to stick together resulting in reduced stretching properties, and therefore restricted movement for the patient. The surrounding healthier muscle fibres will be under more duress as they compensate for the injured fibres, which could lead to their later injury. There can be slight swelling and inflammation at a micro level which will cause pressure to increase in the muscle compartments (intrafascial pressure), and this will inhibit blood circulation, and tissue permeability and drainage, thus compromising the health of the muscle and surrounding fascia. If left unattended, and the physical activity continues, the muscle fibres won’t be able to heal fully, becoming more fibrotic and less elastic. This will place the surrounding muscles and fascia under more tension which over time could eventually lead to compensatory postural changes, and/or total muscle dysfunction (tear or rupture).
But we want to avoid this! And this is where the various Soft Tissue Therapy massage techniques can help.
Applying massage technique creates heat over the repairing muscles and fascia. This heat stimulates the micro-circulation bringing warm blood full of oxygen and nutrients to the soft tissues which will increase their pliability, aid their metabolism and speed up their healing processes. Massage techniques help break down the scar tissue and adhesions through the stretching, broadening and separating of individual muscles, compartments, and surrounding fascia. This will help the layers of muscle and fascia to better glide over one another, and help soften any tightened fascia surrounding the damaged areas, relieving any ache/pain being caused by any intrafascial pressure. They also cause the pores in the tissue membranes, arterioles and capillaries, to open up which help with the exchange of interstitial fluids and the removal of muscle wastes (such as lactic acid, carbon dioxide, loosened scar tissue and adhesions). They also cause the release of intracellular enzymes and vasoactive substances, causing the vessels to dilate, which helps to bring new fluids to the tissues. The resulting improved tissue permeability helps with the muscle and fascia’s metabolism, and speeds up the healing process. And this in turns helps the muscle return to its full excitability, contractility, extensibility and elasticity.
So to summarise:
-people can become injured through constant, repetitive stresses on their muscles.
-you can take action to prevent it.
-you can take action to speed up your recovery from it.
-Soft Tissue Therapy can help you with the above.
For the athlete’s out there, the results of looking after yourself means increased quality and quantity of training and performance!
And for the everyday person who cannot afford to be signed off work, ( eg due to neck ache, back ache etc)……….need I say more.
Many thanks for reading. I hope this has been of some use. If you have any feedback, please pop me an email via my ‘Contact’ page.