There is no question
that conservative therapy is the best option
for those suffering with a Repetitive Strain
Injury. From Trigger Finger to Thoracic Outlet
Syndrome, conservative therapy produces the
best results, limited side effects (if any),
quicker results and long-lasting relief.
There are many types of conservative treatments
that provide a variety of positive benefits
to the user. Massage Therapy is a terrific
conservative treatment that provides good results
by itself, and even greater results when combined
with a stretch and exercise routine.
Massage is used to help relax and lengthen
tight, restrictive muscles, break down scar
tissue in injured muscles, reduce adhesions
on affected tendons at their point of attachment
to the muscle or to the bone, remove toxins
from muscles and increase overall circulation
and nutrient delivery to the associated tissues.
All of these wonderful benefits help overworked
muscles to relax and injured muscles to recover.
The problem is this. Massage Therapy does
not correct the muscle imbalances causing the
Repetitive Strain Injury. Massage Therapy can
greatly assist the rehabilitation / treatment
process, but once a muscle has been injured
and has atrophied to any significant degree,
or a muscle has gone into a state of chronic
hypertonicity, other therapeutic elements must
be added to the treatment regimen in order
to completely eliminate the Repetitive Strain
An integral part of treating Repetitive Strain
Injuries is the implementation of a stretch
and exercise routine specifically designed
to create structural integrity and muscle balance
where the injury exists. If the injury is Tennis
Elbow, there must be an equality of strength
between the wrist and elbow flexors, wrist
and elbow extensors, and wrist and forearm
pronators and supinators. By creating strong
flexible muscles surrounding the specific joint,
that joint will no longer be highly susceptible
to Repetitive Strain Injuries.
The integration of Massage Therapy, stretches,
exercises and hydrotherapy is a highly effective
treatment protocol for many types of injuries.
An example of a treatment sequence for a 'chronic
injury', no matter the affected area, should
follow along these lines:
Heat - Heat to increase
circulation to the area, making the soft tissues
relaxed and pliable.
Phase-I - Specific massage
treatment utilizing Trigger Point Release techniques
to release muscle spasm and Transverse Friction
Massage to break down adhesions.
- Stretch overly restrictive
tissues to increase their length and reduce
their compression of underlying tissues.
- Perform strengthening exercises
for the affected tissues in order to reduce
tensile strain on the injured area, heal micro-tears
and increase healing nutrients to the injured
area. Strong muscles create stability and prevent
future reoccurrence of micro-tears to a previously
Phase-II - Perform light Petrissage
and Effleurage towards the heart to remove
the toxins created from undergoing Trigger
Point Release, Transverse Friction Massage,
stretches and exercises.
Cold - Cool the injured
tissues in an elongated position as to not
lose range-of-motion (ROM) of the affected
tissues and to further remove toxins from the
Massage Therapy and the involvement of the
techniques listed above are very effective
in eliminating chronic Repetitive Strain Injuries.
Any one element by itself is OK, but by implementing
several sound conservative techniques, the
success rate of the treatment increases dramatically.
Remember, when injuries are present, choose
the "Conservative Alternative".
Author: Mr. Anliker is a Therapist and Inventor
of Therapeutic Exercise Products that are utilized
by Corporations, Consumers and Medical Facilities
around the world for the prevention and rehabilitation
of repetitive strain injuries.