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Active Release Technique (ART) is a soft tissue treatment that can help increase range of motion while managing pain, numbness and tingling following an injury. If you are new to ART, you may be wondering how this therapy can help treat your soft tissue injures and how it differs from other soft tissue treatment techniques. Below, our chiropractor answers five of our patient’s most frequently asked questions about ART.

#1: What is active release technique?

Active release technique, also known as ART, is a soft tissue system/movement-based technique developed and patented by Dr. P. Michael Leahy. ART is designed to treat problems affecting the tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. This patented, state of the art tissue movement system addresses problems due to muscle overuse, including shin splints, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems and tennis elbow.

#2: What is ART treatment like?

ART is a combination of examination and treatment. An ART provider like our chiropractor will use his hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. When abnormal tissues are identified, our provider uses precisely directed tension and specific patient movements to address these tissue abnormalities. There are more than 500 specific moves that are unique to ART. These moves allow providers to customize treatment to a patient’s unique pain management and injury rehabilitation needs.

#3: Why is ART effective for overuse injuries?

Overuse injuries can be due to acute conditions (e.g., pulls, tears, collisions), a lack of sufficient oxygen (hypoxia) or the accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma). Each of these factors can cause the body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. As this scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker. Tension in the tendons can lead to tendonitis and nerves can become trapped, causing painful tingling or numbing sensations. ART treats these overuse injuries by identifying the affected soft tissue regions and addressing the specific problem through the ART massage and manipulation protocols.

#4: How is ART different from other soft tissue treatment techniques?

ART is different from soft tissue treatments like trigger point therapy, massage therapy and ischemic compression. This is because ART uses 500+ protocols that are designed to treat very specific conditions. Consequently, the results achieve through this technique are more predictable than other soft tissue treatments. Additionally, our ART provider may make specific lifestyle modification recommendations and at-home exercises/stretches to enhance treatment benefits.

#5: Is ART painful?

The amount of pain you experience depends on the severity of your condition and your personal pain tolerance. While the initial treatments may be uncomfortable, as treatment progresses, pain will diminish. The initial treatment session is approximately 30 minutes to one hour and includes a full consultation, history and examination. Subsequent sessions will be shorter (15 to 30 minutes). In most cases, you will experience improvement after just one session; multiple sessions with our chiropractor will deliver the longest-lasting overall improvement for your body.