Massage / Soft Tissue Mobilization
Massage is a hands on technique to increase blood flow, relaxation, decrease muscle spasms and decrease pain. Massage provides only a temporary effect. Soft tissue mobilization incorporates many techniques performed by the physical therapist to help relax muscles, restore mobility, increase circulation, increase extensibility of individual structures. Such techniques include deep friction massage, myofascial stretching, and trigger point relief and so forth. Therapeutic massage and soft tissue mobilization can be and are both widely used techniques that assist in decreasing muscular tightness, decreasing pain and promote muscular relaxation. The 'soft tissues' are defined as muscles, ligaments and even tendons and basically anything that isn't bone.
This refers to the passive (someone is moving your joint for you) movement of a joint. Here, the joint surfaces are glided across each other in an attempt to increase painfree movement of that joint. This is a hands on technique performed by the physical therapist to restore motion in any joint. Limitations in accessory mobility are treated with joint glide which restores normal slide and with traction which provides a gentle stretch of the joint capsule and restores normal distraction. There are various grades and types of mobilization that the physical therapist may use to help improve range of motion of the joint. Joint mobilization is used to treat hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, the spine, ankle and knee.
Physical therapist applies force and controls the desired direction, speed, intensity and duration of a stretch to soft tissues or muscles that have caused a shortening or restriction of motion in a joint such as the shoulder, ankle, or knee. The muscles are lengthened beyond where they are normally resting.
Spray & Stretch
This is the use of a vaporized-coolant spray used as a local anesthetic in the treatment of trigger points and to help increase the range of motion with a painless passive stretch to the muscle.
Put simply, this is a technique in which various methods of massage and soft tissue mobilization are used. This involves working with the soft tissues (skin and its various layers as well as muscles) and increasing their mobility, decreasing areas of muscular spasm. Using these techniques effectively, a physical therapist can decrease pain, increase painfree movement and promote general healing.
Muscle Energy (Strain Counter-Strain)
Strain/Counterstrain is a technique in which the muscle affected is put at its shortest length and held for a certain period of time. This 'shortening' of the muscle aides in the muscles' total relaxation and usually decreases in pain. Muscle Energy involves contracting a certain muscle at a very low level and then gently stretching it as it moves across a joint.