The problem with soft tissue therapy, joint mobilizing and joint manipulation

As well as many other modalities that exist, there are three main methods of manual therapy. What I was taught in my chiropractic degree regarding the above techniques, and what most practitioners are focussing on are;

  1. Soft tissues which include muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia and more. Typically, they become either tight, spasmed, inflamed, or weak.
  2. Joints. Typically, we were taught that they are either, too stiff, too loose or inflamed.

The usual way to treat soft tissues is with some form of pushing, stretching, pressing, or massaging. There are dozens of systems and techniques for doing this but they mostly have a similar effect which is to try to return them to normal tension. As a whole these methods are commonly referred to as soft tissue therapy.

Joints are treated by again pushing, stretching, pressing, etc. If done slowly and not too hard, it is called joint mobilizing or joint mobilization. When done abruptly, quickly and/or hard, it is known as joint manipulation. Again there are dozens, of methods and techniques but mostly they aim to release stiff joints and reduce inflammation (swelling).

Anyone that has had either of these therapies will say that it either helped enormously, did not make any difference or it made them worse. For me and my fellow Advanced BioStructural Correction (ABCTM), this uncertainty is not good enough and as someone with an engineering background, I expect that if something works, it should work every time. Therefore, it means that these methods must be flawed in some way.

30-40 years ago, several people really focused on this issue. It lead to Jesse Jutkowitz (developer of ABCTM) discovering the underlying reason why these traditional methods do not work properly. You see, when soft tissues and joints have problems, the most common reason for that is that one or more bones in your skeleton are out of place in a direction that your body cannot self-correct because there are no muscles or combination of muscles. This makes your move away from a perfect posture/alignment and your body collapses under your weight because of gravity. This creates compression, tension and twisting at various points in your body.

In order to take the stress off your organs, joints and soft tissues that this situation creates, your body automatically balances itself. It does this initially by using your muscles (this usually is felt like a painful ache or spasm), it can also pull other bones out of alignment to help you balance too. Over the mid to long term, it can also lengthen and shorten soft tissues, increase/decrease muscle size, create adhesive scar tissue, change movement patterns, calcify (harden tissues) and more. All these reactions exist to help you continue to function. These self-balancing and reactions to the initial bone out of place are compensations.

Compensations help your body to cope with the original injury but they can hurt and cause other problems. The issues you notice that are wrong and the soft tissues and joints that most therapists are working on are the compensations. Working on the compensations rather than the root injury is a hit or miss affair. You may feel the benefit from releasing the stress on that area, or your body may resist the treatment and you feel no change, or you may feel worse because a compensation you needed to help you was taken away.

Some chiropractors have a concept of their joint manipulation ‘holding’ or ‘not holding’. It is not that it doesn’t ‘hold’, it is that your body stability was made worse by the manipulation, so it reverted back to what was more stable.

Often you are also given exercises to do you help strengthen your muscles and improve motion. This can be helpful as the stronger you are, the better you can compensate. It does not fix anything though. So, in the background the stress continues to build up until you get another injury.

With ABCTM, we use a unique test to locate which bones are the primary causes of the issue and we correct their position only. We do not treat compensations as it is a waste of effort and risky. As we correct the primary cause, your body removes the compensations all by itself. At the same time, your posture and alignment also return to normal without exercises or help from posture devices, braces, and taping.

ABCTM truly returns your body to normal instead of working on the compensations. This means that generally, we do not need to give you rehabilitation exercises either, as your body automatically gets stronger and more supple. Since your posture returns to normal, you usually do not need to strengthen posture muscles either. We just encourgae you to get more active and do general strecgthing and healthy exercises. Perfect posture is passive i.e. no effort needed.

The reality is that the only way to really work on the underlying problem is to correct the frame/posture. This means that you must correct the bones that are out of place in a direction that your body cannot self-correct. If that is your goal, the areas of pain will return to normal by your bodies own means, without the need of any extra therapy. We call this process unwinding.

So, if you use the wrong treatment method, at best you go around in circles and at worst your body is structure gets worse like mine did when I was having all of these treatments done.

Our method is like training at the gym. Each visit builds on the last and the more consistent you are, the better the results.

If you are a chiropractor, physiotherapist, osteopath, sports therapist, massage therapist, acupuncturist, etc, I would really want you to think about what it is that you are aiming to achieve with your clients. Why do you not get a positive outcome 100% of the time? Why do you need to prescribe exercises? Why do virtually all of your clients have a non-ideal skeleton alignment when at rest? Why is their resting/relaxed posture not constantly improving with the treatment? Why do you need to teach people to hold themselves upright? Does the body not stay upright all by itself? Is not the skeleton perfectly balanced? If not, isn’t that odd? Why would we have such a badly designed body that can’t even stay upright?

We are the chiropractor Birmingham alternative you have been looking for. Get in touch with us today to see how we could transform your life too.

Advanced BioStructural Correction – Birmingham

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