Updated: Mar 4, 2021
So, who is soft tissue health most relevant to?
There are 3 main groups that need to ensure a focus on soft tissue health;
1. Extremely active – runners, gym-goers, weekend warriors, parents with young kids
2. Sedentary workers – office workers, drivers, work from homers
3. Anyone over the age of 50
“Soft tissue health is important for every person who wants to maintain a level of movement independence – no matter their age or activity level”
When we don’t look after our soft tissues, like all aspects of our physical, and mental selves, they deteriorate. Looking after our soft tissues is more than exercising and stretching. Having an understanding of your body helps to make sure you can maintain its function to the best level – no matter how much activity you engage in.
Without soft tissue maintenance, our bodies look after themselves pretty well – until they don’t! As the old saying goes;
“Prevention is better than cure” [Desiderius Erasmus]
So what actually happens if we neglect our soft tissues? Our circulatory system doesn’t work as efficiently, joint mobility and range of motion decrease while adhesions and restrictions can increase. Locked in posture is also a symptom of neglected soft tissues, especially in sedentary office workers or professional drivers as an example.
Let’s talk a little more about each of these;
Our Circulatory System moves blood and platelets through our system to provide nutrients to our muscles, tendons, and ligaments – our soft tissues. It also manages the movement of lymph, which exits metabolic waste through the body. An efficient circulatory system ensures that our soft tissues are oxygenated and can repair themselves after minor injuries which exercise or bruising may cause, as well as ensuring lymph doesn’t build up in the body. The circulatory system is usually a self-managed system, though can always use some preventative assistance!
Joint Mobility and Range of Motion can be affected by a number of factors including exercise, under or overstretching, or aging. Keeping our joints mobile helps us continue to do all the things we need to do in life, like adventuring, exercising, running marathons, and even the boring old functional movement we need for everyday life – lifting, rotating, bending. Making sure our soft tissues are healthy provides malleability to ensure they can support the movement we need for our daily lives and the adventures we want to engage in.
Adhesions & Restrictions can be caused by over-exercising (adhesions), under-exercising (restrictions), injury (adhesions or restrictions), and by generally ignoring symptoms.
Muscles that are restricted in movement are inherently weak and create imbalances when loading up (participating in physical activity or movement) and lead to long-term dysfunction and/or injury. Whereas muscles that have been overused may tear or cause small adhesions which if left untreated can cause the surrounding tissue to overwork and aggravate the issue.
Mobilising the adhesions can prevent further injury occurring to the surrounding tissues while avoiding nerve pain, restricted movement, and creating a cycle of injury and discomfort.
It’s also important to keep in mind that having ‘tight muscles’ doesn’t mean they are strong. Tight muscles may be caused by gripping or poor function which can result in poorly loaded muscles. Like most elements of the human body, it’s better not to self-diagnose or use Dr. Google but speak to a professional to help you identify any areas of potential concern.
By removing the restrictions and building strength evenly we are creating a stronger body for daily activities, life, and adventures
Locked in Posture is a presentation we often see with clients who have been locked into a set position repeatedly over extended periods of time. This can shorten certain muscles and elongate the opposing muscles – causing pain and discomfort. This discomfort often drives people to stretch and generally stretch the elongated muscles – not creating the desired results. Correct assessment and soft tissue treatments can help identify and treat the correct tissues to provide relief and create better function.
With a greater understanding of how our soft tissues work to support our functionality and what we can do to maintain them, we can get an understanding of why a qualified soft tissue therapist who cares about your life goals can be a great player on your “wellbeing board of directors”.
5 Top Tips for Soft Tissue Resilience
Sleep | 6 - 8 hours of quality sleep a night
H20 | 2 – 2.5 litres of water daily
Exercise & Movement | min 20 - 40 mins movement a day
Nutritious Food Intake | Clean, healthy foods feed our bodies
Soft Tissue Treatments | Weekly – 8 weekly for optimal soft tissue health, depending on your activity levels.
It is so important for your soft tissue therapist to be a part of your team.
Our point of difference is that we aim to help you prevent injury rather than treat in triage. We can only do this if we are truly a part of your team and with you on your physical wellbeing journey.
Of course, we are here should you end up in trouble and we’ll stand by your side on the rehab path as well.
This is why we have built a team to manage not only your injury pain but your maintenance as well. Our newly formed Maintenance Team are trained and skilled therapists who are mentored by our Clinical Director. They are passionate about helping every person live their best life – no matter how adventurous or routine their daily lives are.
So, the next time you experience a massage that feels like a “paint-by-numbers-treatment” ask yourself – “What more do I expect from someone I entrust my health and wellbeing to?”