Soft tissue therapy (STT) can be an effective and sufficient way to treat most minor and chronic musculoskeletal injuries. The outcomes, however, depend greatly on the appropriate selection of interventions and the practitioner’s ability to apply them.
STT is an umbrella term for a variety of interventions aiming to assess, treat and manage the causes and symptoms of an injury or an abnormality in a person’s soft tissue(s). STT is appropriate after the acute phase of an injury had passed and inflammation has subsided significantly.
Usually, the natural progression is from initial assessment/testing, through treatment, to re-assessment/testing in order to observe and measure progress.
Functional and postural assessment
Postural and functional assessment can be an integral part of designing a treatment approach for the client. The therapist may ask the client to stand in their natural posture and observe the alignment of the body. This initial step can reveal potential imbalances and offer insights as to the likely causes of the pain or injury.
Additionally, a variety of functional tests can be performed on various joints or individual muscles. These are helpful in determining abnormalities in muscle tone or joint range of motion. Various tests can also be performed to assess the strength, speed, and precision of communication between the nervous and the muscular system.
“Hands on” techniques
Electrical and thermal therapy
Empirical evidence points unequivocally to the value of STT for treatment and recovery from soft tissue injuries. The case studies of practitioners and testimonials of clients offer countless accounts of successful recoveries.
The literature, however, is more conservative in its judgment. Most systemic reviews do find some value for some interventions (Ther et al 2016; Ajimsha et al 2015) but conclude that more high-quality research is needed for solid proof.