Resolve chronic injuries with cutting-edge treatments offered at Physical Therapy First. Our highly skilled therapists use advanced techniques that can put an end to many overuse injuries quickly and permanently allowing you to keep doing what you love to do.
An advanced form of soft tissue mobilization, the ASTYM System stimulates the breakdown of dysfunctional tissue and allows functional restoration to occur. It is supported by scientific research and outcomes and demonstrates success when other approaches have failed.
Physical therapists at Physical Therapy First have advanced credentials in the technique of dry needling. Not only do we use the technique in our clinics, we also host dry needling courses in Maryland through Myopain Seminars.
What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a treatment in which a solid filament needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a myofascial trigger point. A myofascial trigger point consists of multiple contraction knots, which are related to the production and maintenance of the pain cycle.
ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats conditions that are often a result from overused muscles. A Physical Therapist uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.
Muscle Energy Technique
Muscle Energy Technique (MET) is a gentle manual therapy intervention that mobilizes joints and relaxes muscles using subtle muscle contractions to relax hypertonic tissue and mobilize joints through active participation of both the therapist and patient. MET is an excellent gentle alternative to traditional thrust manipulation to treat stiff joints and muscle "cramps or spasms" due to overuse or strain. When muscles are hypertonic they will cause the joint to become tight and restricted. In these cases, MET can relax the muscle and release the joint while the patient generally feels a sense of relaxation. During the procedure, the therapist places a patient in a position that is specific to their dysfunction while the patient applies a small and comfortable muscular contraction against the therapist in a precise direction.
For the treatment of muscle contractures (shortened and tight muscles), the affected muscle is gently stretched to it longest pain-free range. The patient then performs a series of 3-5 submaximal muscle contractions of about 5 seconds each. The procedure encourages the muscle to naturally relax and results in improved range of motion and decreased pain related to muscle stiffness.
MET can also be performed in the spine when a joint becomes restricted. The therapist guides the patient to the range of motion just shy of the painful and restricted point , then a series of muscle contractions by the patient are performed against comfortable resistance to help guide the joint in its correct position. This is called direct muscle energy technique. Typical outcomes of muscle energy technique are decreased pain, decreased stiffness, and increased range of motion. Muscle Energy serves as an excellent alternative to traditional thrust manipulation and can be used in combination with thrust when indicated.
Strain Counter-strain is a manual therapy intervention used to relax muscle spasms and trigger points through comfortable positioning and gentle pressure. When a trigger point, or area of specific muscular tenderness, is located on a patient, the therapist positions this muscle in a shortened and comfortable position, thus encouraging the muscle to naturally relax. Once the ideal length for relaxation is reached, the therapist manually applies moderate pressure to the trigger point for at least 90 seconds. The effect is decreased hyperactivity and pain related to the specific muscle. Pain relief is typically experienced immediately. Strain Counter-strain can be applied to trigger points that are specific to a patient's dysfunction or to common locations that have been identified through research. Strain Counter-strain is a very comfortable technique that is especially effective for the treatment of acute musculoskeletal pain.