If you have any type of muscle tension, tissue tightening, or resisted mobility, then you have yourself some restricted soft tissues.
How does this happen?
Restricted soft tissue mobility can happen for many different reasons. It can be from lack of use or activation. It can be in response to an injury. It can be from a learned movement response that limits or irritates other movements. It can be from dehydration, prolonged posturing, pressure spots, or even psychological and emotional trauma.
We may not know why the restricted mobility occurred, but we do know that we can improve it with tissue work.
If we look at your body as an organized system and we start at the skin working down toward the bone, we find that differentiated layers are present, and these layers move individually from the adjacent layers above and below.
It makes sense to organize a body that way. Each layer has different features, so each layer is slightly different to support the structures within the layer. Some layers are more elastic and distortable. Some layers are firmer and more supportive. Some layers are more fluid and slide easier.
However, these layers can get adhered, stuck, and connected with the adjacent layers. They can create sticking points in which the ability of the layers to move independently is affected, and pulling through one layer affects another. If structures that were designed to slide past each other become stuck to each other, then they can't slide. This adhesion can be minor and unnoticed, but the longer that happens, the more restricted it gets.
As tissue remains stagnant, it alters its viscous quality. It's ability to remain lubricated and mobile. This creates a pulling point that spreads to other areas. Those areas that have tension may then become immobile, painful, or injured.
What happens next?
The pulling spreads to another area, injures that area, and then you seek treatment for the injured area. The injured area wouldn't be injured if it wasn't being pulled by an adhered soft tissue. Even after you recover, if you haven't address the adhesion, then the injury will return, or you will learn to alter your movement, resulting in an injury in a different location. The cycle continues and you end up with multiple injuries that recur and continue, because you never found the problem to treat. You never noticed the restricted tissue mobility that was the root of the problem.
Now that you know how restricted soft tissues affect you, how do you treat it?
The first thing is to identify where the problem is. This can be done by a Physical Therapist who understands your lifestyle, movements, and motivation. You can't fix the problem if you don't know what it is. Finding the right provider to properly evaluate your movement, and treat your restrictions, is a key step in resolving this problem for good.
When you've been able to diagnose the problem, then you can treat the issue. Manual therapy is highly effective for treating soft tissue mobility issues. Manual therapy is the use of hands to manipulate and alter tissue mobility and function. A skilled manual therapist has hands that "listen" and "communicate" with the soft tissue structures, can facilitate the resolution of adhesions, and restores tissue mobility and balance.
Another treatment can be to apply a mobility tool and address restricted tissue mobility. This can be done to yourself with a highly effective, cheap, and portable tool, a lacrosse ball.
Using a lacrosse ball, you can apply pressure to tensed tissues to help them relax. You can pin down a tissue while moving a nearby joint to change the tension through the area. You can find your own restricted tissue and apply a treatment, anytime of any day, for pain relief and mobility gains.
Most soft tissue areas throughout the body can be self treated with a lacrosse ball. This can significantly help you during your recovery from injury, stagnation, or a tough workout. It can also be used as a warmup to get tissues moving freely before your start moving.
Amazingly, the more you do it, the more you're able to find other areas that need work. You work deeper and deeper into the layers and get to the root of the problem. Areas you thought were the problem were only part of it, and they blocked you from getting down to where the problem really was.
Making changes in any tissue mobility will always be best done over time. You can't expect that an area that has been a problem for weeks, months, years, or decades is going to go away with a few minutes of doing mobility work. This needs to be an ongoing process.
Everyday, we are either getting better or getting worse. Either building up or breaking down.
We don't stay stagnant. That's not the way we are. We are always changing, and our tissues are too. If they've been restricted for some time, they aren't going to bounce right back to normal health. They need time to adaptively improve, just like they adaptively worsened over time.
Using a lacrosse ball, or any mobility tool, over a prolonged period is going to get better results that last longer. Results that make a real change that's worth working towards. Results that get you back to doing what you want with who you want.
Getting professional help will be required too, but you can't have a manual therapist by your side all day, everyday. However, you can have a mobility tool nearby and accessible to keep working on yourself daily.
Get a lacrosse ball. Learn how to use it. Start feeling, and actually, getting better. #snowbeastperformance