Why Soft Tissue
We are chiropractors. We move bone. We loosen “stuck” joints. We help mobilize patients. But without addressing the soft tissue problems that got the bones into those malposition's in the first place, we are doing the patient a disservice – bones, after all, do not move themselves. We should be addressing soft tissue issues at every patient contact.
Quite often we will massage muscles prior to the adjustment with the thought that looser muscles will allow the adjustment to happen more smoothly and with less resistance. Another school of thought is to relax the muscles afterwards to help them adapt to any changes incurred by new, ideal positioning of the bones. Quite frankly, I don’t yet have an opinion as to which is better as circumstances vary from patient to patient. But I can tell you that in my practice, we generally address soft tissue after the adjustment, unless the patient comes in with
great enough pain that needs to be addressed before any other treatment can proceed.
My patients understand that I rarely have time to address every soft tissue malady that a patient has at a given visit. We address areas of greatest concern and cover as much as possible within the timeframe of the visit. I locate the muscle that is the greatest offender, work on it until it releases, and then move on to the next until the area has been cleared up. I usually use myofascial release, but IASTM or a massager are also great go-tos. You will need to work with your patients to discover what technique works best for them.
I have found that by adequately addressing soft tissue, the patient often experiences relief after the first visit. That includes better mobility and better sleep. And it also includes the possibility of fewer and less frequent follow-up visits, which in turn allows me to keep my schedule open to treat more patients!
-Anna Moreira, D.C.