SOFT TISSUE BALANCE
What Causes Soft Tissue Imbalance?
‘Soft tissue imbalance’ occurs when opposing muscles provide different directions of tension due to tightness and/or weakness. Soft tissue is composed of muscle, ligament, tendon, and fascia. Common causes of soft tissue imbalances are
poor muscle development
poor life style habits
micro-traumas caused by wearing bad shoes, sitting at your desk for too long, or chronic repetitive stresses such as typing
acute or chronic localized injuries that are more obvious and include the common muscle strain, a twisted ankle, or traumatizing a muscle from a fall or whiplash-type injury in a car accident
chronic and acute illness including diabetes (reduces neuromuscular function), sarcopenia (reduced muscle bulk with aging), chronic inflammation and related conditions (arthritis, obesity, and many illnesses resulting in significantly reduced physical activity)
neurological disorders that include brain injuries (such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, birth trauma, head trauma), and spinal cord injuries (serious trauma that damages the spine affecting the spinal cord such as an auto, bike, or swimming accident)
nutritional factors such as low dietary protein, dehydration, anemia, low blood sugar, and general malnutrition.
pain whether from unknown sources, or chronic or acute pain from an injury or illness, the presence of pain itself can produce muscle imbalance maintaining a vicious cycle of cause and effect
physical, chemical and mental stress can directly and indirectly cause muscle imbalance through mechanical and chemical means.
What are soft-tissue injuries?
The most common soft tissues injured are muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These injuries often occur during sports and exercise activities, but sometimes simple everyday activities can cause an injury. Sprains, strains, and contusions, as well as tendinitis and bursitis, are common soft-tissue injuries. Even with appropriate treatment, these injuries may require a prolonged amount of time to heal. Many activities can lead to soft-tissue damage of muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The result can be pain, swelling, bruising, and damage. Soft-tissue injuries can be classified as the following:
Athletes and nonathletes have many similar soft-tissue injuries.
What is a contusion?
A contusion (bruise) is an injury to the soft tissue often caused by a blunt force, such as a kick, fall, or blow. The result will be pain, swelling, and discoloration because of bleeding into the tissue. Treatment for contusions includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.). More serious contusions may need to be examined by a doctor.
What is a sprain?
A sprain is a partial tear to a ligament and is often caused by a wrench or twist. Sprains often affect the ankles, knees, or wrists. The treatment for a sprain includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.). If the ligament is completely torn, surgical repair may be necessary.
Ligaments are fibrous, elastic bands of tissue that connect and stabilize the bones. An ankle sprain is a common, painful injury that occurs when one or more of the ankle ligaments is stretched beyond the normal range of motion. Sprains can occur as a result of sudden twisting, turning or rolling movements.
What is tendonitis?
Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon, a flexible band of tissue that connects muscle to bones. Tendonitis is often due to an overuse injury in the affected area from repetitive motion. Areas commonly affected include the elbow, hand, wrist, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, and foot. Often the tendonitis is named for the sport or movement that triggers the inflammation, such as tennis or golfer's elbow, swimmer's shoulder, and jumper's knee.
Treatment involves healing the inflamed area with rest, compression, elevation, and anti-inflammatory chiropractic treatment. Ice may be used in the acute phase of injury. Stretching and strengthening exercises can gradually be added to help avoid further injury. If a tendon is completely torn, surgery may be required.
What is bursitis?
Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that provides a cushion between bones and muscles or tendons. Like tendonitis, bursitis is often caused by overuse injury, but can also be caused by direct trauma to a joint. Bursitis commonly affects the shoulder, elbow, knee, hip, ankle, and foot.
Treatment involves rest, compression, elevation, and anti-inflammatory chiropractic treatment. Ice may be used in the acute phase of injury to reduce swelling.
What is a stress fracture?
A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone, commonly occurring in the weight-bearing bones of the lower extremities, including legs, hips, and feet. Stress fractures are most often caused by overuse and increase in physical activity. Initial treatment includes stopping the activity that caused the fracture, elevation, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine. Continued treatment includes rest, decreasing weight-bearing on the affected area, shoe inserts or braces, and possibly cast immobilization. If the crack in the bone progresses further to a complete break, surgery may be required.
What is a strain?
A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, and is often caused by overuse, force, or stretching. The treatment for a strain is rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E). If a tear in the muscle occurs, surgical repair may be needed.