Soft tissue is the superficial, and to a lesser extent deeper tissues, within the human body – such as the skin, fascia, muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments and joint capsule.
Whenever a physiotherapist touches a person, it is a soft tissue technique.
There are a large number of soft-tissue techniques practiced by an equally large variety of practitioners.
At Willis Street Physiotherapy we combine soft-tissue techniques with mobilisation, manipulation, acupuncture, and specific exercises and rehabilitation. Importantly, we also spend a lot of time identifying potential everyday stresses and risks which will be contributing to the problem. We then ensure that we advise and teach individuals about their injury and ways of self-managing their problem.
There is no doubt, in our mind, that soft tissue treatments work only when they are used at the right time, in the right way and on the right thing.
For instance, to do any soft-tissue release but not give advice on how to sit, stand, lift and handle or run correctly, will only ensure that any benefit will only be short term. The cause of the problem has not been identified and it will return. To treat the soft-tissue but not address any joint dysfunction will also mean that the pain will return.
Soft tissue techniques should not be painful.
Variable amounts of force and different techniques are used to stimulate the tissue in order to achieve specific goals, such as to increase blood supply, restrict blood supply, reduce inflammatory waste products, stretch or relax tissue, break up scar tissue or desensitize and reduce pain.
When practiced by experienced physiotherapists and combined with other treatment techniques it can be a very effective means of reducing discomfort, pain or injury.