What Is Soft Tissue Mobilization?
Soft tissue mobilization is an umbrella term for a wide range of techniques used to manipulate the soft tissues within your body. The goals of these treatments include breaking down adhesions to reduce swelling and pain while working to lengthen muscles and tendons and improve overall functionality of the injured area.
Soft tissue mobilization can be performed by a wide range of licensed practitioners. Those include physical therapists, massage therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors and certain types of doctors.
How Does Soft Tissue Mobilization Work?
Soft tissue mobilization treatments typically begin with an evaluation to understand what joints or other areas are impacted by an injury or issue. The treatment provider assesses pain level as well as range of motion and functionality of the injured area to determine what recommendations to make.
The provider may recommend and use various techniques when performing soft tissue mobilization. Many have scientific-sounding names, but they mostly refer to how the provider interacts with the soft tissues in the injured area. Some common methods include:
- Putting sustained pressure on the area where the tissues are restricted in some way due to the injury
- Applying direct oscillation, which pushes against the area in a rhythmic manner
- Using perpendicular or parallel mobilization, which involves pressing at right angles against against the muscles or pushing along the muscle
These and other types of pressure are applied with the hands or using special tools. Soft tissue manipulation can involve various soft tissues within your body, including fat, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage.