Comprehensive Services

Chiropractic and Soft Tissue Clinic

Active Release Techniques Certified Provider

Personalized Care Plans

Award Winning Clinic

Active Release Techniques Certified Provider

What is Active Release Technique (ART)? Active Release Techniques (ART) is a patented, state of the art treatment for injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves, collectively known as soft tissue. Problems such as headaches, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, sciatica, knee pain, and plantar fascitis are just a few examples of soft tissue injuries. Almost any soft tissue structure in the body can be treated with ART.

Scar tissue (adhesions) is often an underlying component to injuries, whether the injury is acute, chronic, traumatic, or overuse related. ART is highly effective for locating and eliminating scar tissue.

Each treatment session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The doctor uses her hands to evaluate the texture, tension, and movement of the soft tissue. Functional tests (i.e. lunge) or a provocative motion (e.g. yoga pose) may also be used to determine the most important structures to treat. Abnormal tissue is treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.

Over 500 specific treatment protocols are unique to ART. The specificity of the protocols, the properly applied tension, and the precise patient movements set ART apart from other soft tissue treatments.

Dr. Anita has been doing Active Release Technique since 2003. In 2008, she became a part of the Elite Provider Network and began providing corporations at the manufacturing level with ART services. She is well versed in treating “industrial athletes” as well as those who play a sport. She continues to do this at the present time along with treating patients at 41 North.

Who is a candidate for ART treatment? Anyone who has a soft tissue problem or injury. This can range from treating a triathlete who has shin splints to a manufacturing employee who has elbow pain from a repetitive motion injury. The treatment works well for a repetitive motion injury as ART is used to break up any adhesions or scar tissue that has formed. Any occupation including musicians, laborers, athletes, students, and office workers would benefit. ART can also benefit mothers and soon-to-be moms.

What can we treat with ART? We can treat anything on the body that has soft tissue (muscle belly, ligament, tendon, fascia or nerve) attached or associated with it (along with the joint capsule). 

Common Problems that ART can help with:

  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Postural Issues
  • Rotator Cuff Syndromes
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Tennis Elbow/Lateral Epicondylitis
  • Golfer’s Elbow/Medial Epicondylitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
  • Hand Pain/Trigger Finger
  • Tingling and Numbness to Upper Extremity/Hands
  • Rib Pain/Radiation
  • Low back pain
  • Sciatica (Even with pregnancy)
  • Jumper’s Knee
  • Meniscus Pain
  • Shin Splints
  • Ankle Sprains/Sprains 
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Metatarsalgia/Morton’s Neuroma

Chiropractic Adjustments and Manipulation

The chiropractic profession offers countless techniques, philosophies, and patient care models. Among all the variability, the one uniting element is the chiropractic adjustment and/or the chiropractic mobilization.

The goal of a chiropractic adjustment or mobilization is to restore normal motion to joints that are restricted. Several theories exist as to how joints become restricted. Scientific evidence highly supports the theory of a meniscoid entrapment. Joints are lined with slips of cartilage (meniscoids) that can get stuck between two joint surfaces, causing the joint to glide improperly.

Meniscoid entrapments usually occur when a joint is overloaded. Poor posture, weak muscles, scar tissue, trauma, and nerve entrapments all lead to overload. Once a meniscoid becomes entrapped, several problems may result, including:

1. Restricted joint motion
2. Increased joint motion above and below the restricted joint
3. Pain and inflammation
4. Muscle spasm or muscle weakness (inhibition)
5. Compensation
6. Joint and disc degeneration (arthritis, disc herniation)

An adjustment usually involves a quick but gentle corrective force across the affected joint to separate the joint surfaces. Joint mobilization can achieve similar results, but instead of a quick force, a slow oscillating movement is used. The goal of both is to move the joint in a way that releases the meniscoid entrapment.

The goal of treatment is to fix a problem permanently, so not only does joint motion need to be addressed, but contributing scar tissue, weakness, instability, and perpetuating factors must be corrected as well.

 

Stretching and Strengthening Programs

Strength

Strength exercises are often a necessary step to fix a problem permanently. Because muscle weakness so often is a catalyst to injury, the weakness must be corrected or the injury will return.

Muscles become weak for many reasons. It’s critical to determine why specific muscles are weak before jumping right into strengthening them. When applied to the treatment process too early, strength exercises can be ineffective, inappropriate, and counterproductive. After other problems have been identified and corrected, specific exercises can be implemented into the treatment plan.

To be effective, strengthening occurs sequentially. First the weakest link in the chain must be isolated and strengthened independently. If this step is missed, surrounding muscles, which have been compensating up until this point will continue to do so. After the weakest link is strong and balanced, functional exercises will be used to improve overall strength.

It is important that each muscle in the body is capable of doing what it is intended to do.

Stretching

Stretching is an activity that can both help and hinder progress. When a muscle is tight, the doctor must determine why it is tight. Muscles can be tight for several reasons:

1. Pain: If something is painful, muscles tighten to take pressure off the painful structure. This is a protective mechanism.
2. Scar tissue: Scar tissue acts like glue in a muscle. The section of the muscle containing scar tissue will not stretch as much as it should, limiting muscle length.
3. Nerve entrapment: If scar tissue forms next to a nerve, the nerve can become ‘glued’ to the surrounding muscles. Nerves don’t stretch; they should floss in and around muscles. When they stick to muscles, the surrounding muscles will contract to protect the nerve from being stretched.
4. Fatigue: When muscles become fatigued, they tighten.
5. Trigger points: Bands or nodules of irritated muscle fibers that can cause the surrounding muscles to tighten as well.

In each of these cases, stretching would not be an appropriate form of treatment. If stretching were used, improvement would either be delayed or prevented.

Stretching is beneficial in other circumstances. For example, after a nerve entrapment has been released, stretching is used to glide the nerve through the muscles, preventing scar tissue from forming again.

 

Advice

 

Soft tissue injuries usually result from doing something that overloads the body, whether with work, training, daily activities, or habits. The injury can be fixed, but if the problems that led to its formation are not corrected, a recurrence is likely.

Advice throughout the treatment process is necessary to help identify sources of overload. It may be necessary to alter the work environment such as increasing chair height, standing up more often, moving the computer monitor, or switching to a different keyboard. Maybe sleep habits need to be adjusted such as sleeping on the side rather than face down. Training errors are a huge source of injuries, so advice about training strategy, volume, running surface, or equipment fitting may be necessary.

Part of our responsibility as your doctor is to educate you about your injury and about preventing recurrences.

Orthotics

Research has shown that a majority of custom orthotics offer no better support than the inexpensive, over-the-counter inserts. We have discovered a few companies that produces a revolutionary orthotic casting and manufacturing protocol. Quite simply, orthotics and insoles are not for everyone, but many will benefit from foot support.

Some people absolutely need orthotics. Their genes or shape of their joints have left them with a foot structure that is not supportive. They usually already know they have foot problems. They may have flat feet, fallen arches, or bunions, or they may have the opposite problem and have high arches or a rigid foot. A structural problem needs to be fixed with a structural solution.

Other people may have relatively normal foot structure, but their activity or load is beyond what the foot is designed to handle. If you think about it, our feet were designed to walk barefoot on uneven surfaces. Today, we wear shoes, sometimes very unsupportive shoes, and walk on hard, flat surfaces. We end up with a mismatch between our foot design and our environment, leading to an overloaded foot. Over time, increased load takes a toll and foot, ankle, knee, or even hip problems result. Moderate to high activity levels speed up the process. For example, someone training for a marathon overloads the foot drastically more than a non-runner, making the marathoner more vulnerable for injury. We can help you determine if you fall into this category and if orthotics would benefit you.

Another group of people are those with a normal foot structure, mild to moderate activity levels, but have other factors contributing to an unhealthy internal environment. Factors such as stress, poor diet, health issues (diabetes, etc.), and obesity decrease their body’s ability to heal. Additional support from orthotics lessens stress on the muscles and ligaments in the foot, preventing further damage.

And of course there is a percentage of people who have a healthy bone structure, healthy muscles, and a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t inflict too much load on the body. They are not candidates for the orthotics. They may benefit, yes, but wouldn’t be harming themselves by not using the orthotics.

Care for The Whole Family

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Adult Care

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Child Care

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Personalized Care

Why 41 North?

41 North was born under the premise to give patients direction and guidance in their healthcare. The latitude of Saint Charles is 41 degrees and hence, the name was set. Dr. Anita wants to give you the best possible chiropractic care possible. She wants to listen and guide her patients in the best possible direction.

Call: 630-549-7870

Working Hours

Monday: 9:00 am-7:00 pm
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Thursday: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm by Appointment
Sunday: Closed

Email

dranitadickerson@41northchiropractic.com