Specific Soft Tissue Mobilisation Techniques (SSTM)
Soft tissue has a degree of tensile strength to be able to cope with the stresses and strains placed upon it. However if it is subjected to a tensile force greater than its capacity then it is prone to injury. The injury reduces the tensile capacity of the soft tissue. This is restored with the healing process, which in turn can be enhanced by specific techniques to the soft tissue. SSTM's are used in conjunction to the healing process and are an application of specific range and motion to the tissue. With specific loading of the soft tissues, increasing is tensile strength, normal function may return. Most appropriate time of use would be in the regeneration stage (5days to 12 weeks post injury). Problems that can be addressed:
• Ligamentous injuries
• Chronic injuries, where the healing process has halted for some reason and therefore the soft tissue has adapted incorrectly therefore making the animal more prone to further injury, repetitive traumas
• Muscle tears
• Secondary muscle imbalances
Soft tissue is subjected to micro trauma all the time and therefore may have a tendency to tighten occasionally and spasm. Massage can be used in the healing phase or as a preventative method. There are different types of massage depending of the desired affect required. The movement of soft tissue aids in circulation, thus stimulates healing and fresh blood flow, breaks down adhesions and scar tissue and aids with lymphatic drainage.
These are soft tissue stretches that can be used for maintenance and assisting in increasing range of movement in peripheral and spinal joints. They can also be used in the rehabilitation post soft tissue or bone trauma in the stimulation of muscle tone and length.
These are specific mobilisations of the joints, peripheral and spinal. They can assist in increasing joint range of motion and aid in pain relief. Manipulations are forceful mobilisations of the spinal vertebrae, which are misaligned. This misalignment causes a muscle imbalance and ligamentous changes which would eventually result in pain. Mobilisations and gentler movements, which try and correct restricted joints prior to full misalignment. Used in:
• Spinal joint restrictions
• Peripheral joint stiffness post immobilisation.