How Can You Tell a Good Soft Tissue Health Provider?

First, it is important to know what soft tissue is. Soft tissues are structures like muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and fascia. Pain and dysfunction with these structures are usually mechanical in nature. That means their symptoms change with loading; the pain will get better or worse depending on what you are doing. These pains may be constant but they will fluctuate with your activities.

Suboptimal care is looking at and assessing only the area of complaint. That may seem crazy at first glance; you want someone to assess what hurts. This leads me to a very important term, regional interdependence, which is well supported in literature. The term is not important to remember. However, it is critical for you to understand the concept: We are a chain of small motions that come together to form a desired movement. If there is a break in any one of those smaller movements, some other part of the chain will have to compensate. Often a lack of motion (hypomobile areas) causes another part of the chain to move too much (hypermobile areas). It is very important to understand that most of the time your pain comes from areas of the chain that are hypermobile.

Why is this important to understand in order to receive the best care? Because if the examination is only at the area of complaint, you are, most of the time, getting only your victims treated. The culprits, most of the time, do not hurt because they have to move less. However, it is their lack of contribution in motion that sets up your pain.

So what does it look like when you are getting superior soft tissue care? It looks like a very holistic approach. The body must be assessed as a whole unit. This means it is possible that you will get your big toe looked at for a neck complaint. Decisions are based on movement standards and not pain location. In most cases, there is no other way to find the real cause of pain. It has been our clinical experience that when you improve motion in the areas that are not contributing, pain decreases.

Dr. Brian Rafool, D.C.