Chiropractors and other therapists dealing with spinal joints or extra-spinal joints historically have had great success treating the joints with specific manipulation to free up the specific areas in or immediately around the joints. Some therapists have given the surrounding tissues a massage or what we call soft tissue manipulation, but the therapy has most often been concentrated on the joint itself.
A few years ago an Italian physiotherapist, Luigi Stecco, presented to the English speaking world of therapists a new way of treating the soft tissues relating to a joint. I write ‘relating to the joint’ because in his approach to treating a dysfunctional area it most often is NOT the immediately surrounding tissues that receive the therapy, but rather tissues that are distant from the pain area. Stecco’s reason for doing so is his finding that the connective tissues that we have everywhere in our bodies can be restricted or lumped up somewhere near to the pain area, pulling the area or compressing nerves, arteries, lymphatic vessels, or muscles that go to or relate in some way to the area of complaint.
In other words, when I investigate your area of complaint, I pay close attention to not only the area that is painful or not working up to par, but also to the areas that could in any way relate to your area of complaint. This is done by examining your movement in different areas of your body and it is done by palpation to these same areas.
Often your pain is a result of an ‘old’ pain that you thought had ‘gone away’ again some time ago, or perhaps years ago. The body is a master of compensation, and will often make new areas of tension to equilibrate or balance other areas of overwhelming tension that are therefore painful or have reduced movement.
So, if, for example, you come to the clinic presenting a painful shoulder, I shall naturally examine the movement of your shoulder, but also the movement of your thoracic spine, your pelvis and assess these areas for soft tissue abnormalities, since this can indirectly be causing the problem.
You can say in a funny way: if you need to move the tent, why not start with the guywire.
This approach to treating many almost epidemic pain syndromes like low back pain, neck pain, sciatica, shoulder pains, and headaches, not to forget all sports related injuries has revolutionized the success rate and recovery time in most of these cases.
Another benefit to using this treatment form is that you can use it on everybody from small children to elderly citizens.