Diagnosis and Treatment of Soft-Tissue and Overuse Injuries

Painful soft-tissue conditions result from different forms of direct and indirect trauma to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, as well as overuse injuries from sports or repetitive work or daily activities.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, work-related soft-tissue injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, hernias, and tendonitis are responsible for 35% of lost work days, and cost more than $20 billion annually in workers compensation.

From Stress Fractures To Golfers Elbow…

Although it is difficult to estimate the number of soft-tissue injuries related to sports and recreational activities, due to them being largely under-reported, these and other sports-related injuries send an estimated 2.6 million children under the age of 19 to the emergency room every year.

How these conditions and injuries should be treated depends on the extent and type of injury, and is a discussion that every patient needs to have with their doctor and physical therapist. A combination of treatment options, including rest, icing, medication, heat, and/ or surgery as needed, are available. However, physical therapy is the primary conservative treatment recommended by many physicians because it is non-invasive, and has shown to be effective with the healing process. In some cases if caught early enough, physical therapy can help prevent worsening or further injury, and can be preventative.

Manual Physical Therapy For Relief & Healing

Picture of woman receiving manual therapy on her forearm

Another popular treatment option utilized by physical therapists for soft tissue injuries is manual. Just as there are different types of soft tissue injuries, there are also numerous manual therapy treatment options including stretching, soft-tissue mobilization-STM (breaking up knots and relaxing scar tissue in muscles), manipulation (manual or instrument-applied pressure), and intramuscular manual therapy (IMT), (also known as dry needling), where needles are placed to release tension in trigger points. Finally, ultrasound and electrical stimulation are other examples of treatment techniques available to physical therapists when treating pain related to soft-tissue conditions.

Coordinated Care Is The Best Practice 

A licensed physical therapist will devise a comprehensive treatment program that works in concert with other forms of treatment prescribed by a doctor. In addition to in-clinic physical therapy, this comprehensive approach includes at-home participation with exercises, as well as stretching and icing to reduce inflammation.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from musculoskeletal pain, we at Optimum Wellness Centers are here to help you determine if physical therapy will benefit you.