The Most Effective Soft Tissue Treatments - IMPACT Physical Therapy

The Most Effective Soft Tissue Treatments


Utilizing Soft Tissue Treatments for Pain

Over the duration of people’s lives, activity for work, play, and competition takes a toll on our bodies in various areas. Runners are going to suffer soreness in their legs, while a baseball player might experience pain in his throwing arm. One day, rearranging furniture as part of spring cleaning might result in a night of constant back pain.

While some injuries and soreness go away in a day, treatment is recommended to reduce the severity of soft tissue damage. For chronic soft tissue conditions, regular soft tissue treatments may be the only therapy that allows an individual to function. Below are some of IMPACT Physical Therapy and Chicago Recovery Room’s most effective soft tissue treatments.

What is a Soft Tissue Injury?

Soft tissue injuries are any injury involving muscles, ligaments, myofascial tissue or tendons. These injuries do not include bones.

R.I.C.E. Treatment

After an acute injury occurs, one of the best immediate treatments that continues to be recommended is the R.I.C.E. protocol. R.I.C.E. stands for Rest (to avoid further injury and pain), Ice (20-30 minutes every couple of hours to diminish inflammation and pain), Compression (swelling reduction and injury support) and Elevation (raise injury above the heart to reduce swelling).
The R.I.C.E. method is not meant to be a replacement for a proper diagnosis or treatment plan.

After initial trauma, IMPACT Physical Therapy finds the following soft tissue treatments most effective.


When a nagging soft tissue injury is impeding your progress and performance, Astym® physical therapy treatment is a perfect choice to make for getting to the root of the pain. Instead of treating the symptoms of soft tissue pain, Astym® has been researched and designed to treat the underlying cause.

Oftentimes chronic soft tissue injuries are the result of scarring or tissue degeneration. Typically, this happens when improper healing has occurred. In the case of scarring, pain is derived from the scar tissue obstructing the joint or muscle instead of reinforcing it.

Astym® is a multi-session therapy that runs instruments across the afflicted muscle, tendon or ligament. Any bumps that are felt as the instrument passes over are defective soft tissue. After more sessions, these bumps will dissipate and the old injury will begin to heal! Once the healing has begun, a stretching and strengthening program will be prescribed to allow proper healing.

Learn more about which injuries Astym® can be used to properly treat soft tissue. IMPACT PT clinicians available for Astym®: Paul Thomas, Kara Mathys, and Gretchen Thompson

Graston Techniques

Another instrument-assisted soft tissue treatment, the Graston Techniques technique is another great way to break up fascial restriction and scar tissue adhesions. This clinically proven soft tissue treatment is recommended for conditions such as carpal tunnel, lumbar strain, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. It also has shown to be effective in improving range of motion.

Learn more about how the Graston Techniques technique improves recovery and our clinicians who perform it: Gretchen Thompson and Liz Yerly.

Active Release Techniques

Active Release Technique (ART) is perfect for overused muscles that have both acute and chronic symptoms. Muscles generally become compromised in a trio of fashions: acute pulls, tears and collisions; an accumulation of micro-tears or traumas; and a lack of oxygen to the muscle, or hypoxia. In each of these situations, dense scar tissue can be the result.

ART treatments by Chicago physical therapists always involve a thorough examination by hand, followed by manual tension to lengthen the muscle. Unlike other treatments, the structures, muscles and ligaments surrounding the afflicted area are active while your physical therapist works. This technique is expertly performed by the clinicians at IMPACT Physical Therapy and Chicago Recovery Room.

Trigger Point Dry Needling

Trigger Point Dry Needling is a technique that utilizes ultra-fine needles to mitigate the pain at knotted and troublesome myofascial locations. Dry needling is not associated with acupuncture in technique or training.

As mentioned in the name, no medicine or injection is part of the needle being inserted into the troubled region.

Trigger points are bands of skeletal muscles located within a larger muscle group. They’re often tender to touch and can cause referred pain in other parts of the body. By stimulating these trigger points, the muscles can be relieved of pain and tension, along with improving blood flow and helping in recovery.

If you have trigger point pain that your physical therapist cannot treat manually, consider dry needling.

Faster Recovery for Soft Tissue Injuries

Do you need physical therapy in Champaign, Illinois or Chicago? IMPACT Physical Therapy and the Chicago Recovery Room are hard at work to make physical therapy an open, enjoyable and accessible experience for anyone in need. Learn more about how we can help you by contacting us today.