You may have heard your physiotherapist or chiropractor use terms such as soft tissue release, deep tissue massage, mobilization and manipulation. Here is one you may have not heard: micro conditioning. But have no fear, the purpose of today’s blog is explaining what that is.
After an injury or surgery, we often get swelling, pain, stiffness and lack of movement. In most cases, most of the pain eventually goes away as the swelling is re-absorbed into the body. However, there continues to be a certain amount of adhesion in the tissue.
After an injury or surgery, soft tissue (including muscle, tendons, fascia, skin and lymphatic) has an abnormal feel to the touch when it does not recover properly. The texture of the skin can be described as rigid, with a leathery consistency, when compared to the pliability of normal tissue.
Let me paint a picture for you: what happens to the tissue is like what happens when you have cooked spaghetti left out to dry. The spaghetti gets stuck to together and is hard to separate. Our tissue, including muscles, is very similar. If we want to use them efficiently without causing any tension or pain they must be able to glide separately while contracting together to produce movement. In addition, different layers of loose connective tissue often surround large nerve fibers. These nerves provide information going to and from the Central nervous system (brain) for processing pain, proprioception (knowing where your limb and body is in space) and even strength. When the fascia lacks its pliability, this can lead to decreased range of motion, a decrease in strength and painful contraction. This fascia pain is often described as burning sensation and can even lead to numbness if a large area of the tissue is adhered for a long time.
The stiffness is caused by adhesion between the layers of tissue including muscle, tendons, fascia, fibers and even tissue cells themselves. The lack of movement in the soft tissue prevents the tissue from functioning properly and eventually causes chronic pain by shortening the tissue. This also makes the tissue more prone to repeated injury as the joints are compressed and, over time, the adhesion wears down the joints.
Over a long period of time we often forget what the normal feeling of the tissue is and often adapt to the pain. However, the underlying issue is still there.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to live with this pain anymore!
This is where micro conditioning comes into play. Micro conditioning is a gentle technique that allows us to address and return pliability to the tissue allowing for better nerve conduction. It is meant to break down layer by layer of each tissue and resort movement capability of the tissue. It is not surprising that the areas are mostly affected are scars and surgical sites and areas with lots of nerve input and layers of tissue, like the sacrum, lower back and medial aspect of the thigh (adductors). This technique provides a more permanent solution to pain and lack of movement, ultimately restoring function.