At API, we restore the body from the foundation up, assuring that the body is primed for the ideal intervention. Ultimately, we are trying to gain strength and function for all of the activities in which you regularly engage. However, building strength before creating the proper foundation for function can lead to imbalances and greater overall compensatory mechanisms in the body.
How does the body respond to injury? Immediately after an injury, the body begins an aggressive, local healing response while simultaneously protecting its most vital structures from further harm. Organs are protected first followed by the nervous system and then less vital structures like the bones and other soft tissues.
The body protects itself by creating adaptations. These adaptations allow for continued function while simultaneously avoiding the painful or injured area. This adaptability is a powerful tool when it comes to healing. But, over time, the same compensations that were meant to be protective can, in themselves, become a source of pain and dysfunction. Compensations often occur in the form of malalignments in the musculoskeletal system. These malalignments often create biomechanical changes over time. Interestingly, the human body can function for a long time (months, years and even decades) in these adaptive patterns before we can start to see a resultant breakdown in performance occur.
API is unique in that we focus on identifying the source of the issue rather than treating the symptoms that have been created by that issue. We focus on evaluating the adaptive changes throughout the entire body that have occurred over time as the result of trauma. Getting to the true source of the problem enables the body to begin healing appropriately! This philosophy is what separates API from other Physical Therapy practices. We offer far more than just stretching, modalities and exercise. By finding and treating the true source of the dysfunction success can be achieved where other efforts have failed.
API uses an organized approach and a wide variety of treatment techniques to achieve results. Not all patients respond to the same interventions. There is no cookie-cutter approach because every person and every body system is different.
Mobility is a first essential step in healing and building the foundation towards strength. The mobility of the joints, nerves, and viscera are all assessed and treated as needed. Techniques including spinal mobilization and/or manipulation are used to restore proper joint mobility and alignment problems that are specific to osseous (bony) structures. Immobile joints create multiple problems including the fact that they place increased stress on the structures around them. If something like a joint is not moving properly (hypomobility) in one part of your body, it is guaranteed that another joint or structure somewhere else is overworking to take up the slack. This typically creates pain in the overworked area because it often becomes hypermobile. Both hypo and hypermobile segments can alter skeletal alignment, lead to imbalance and inhibit muscle function. How well do you think your muscles can function if the platform to which they are attached (your skeletal system) is not well aligned? API assures that joints are mobilized and moving properly. This, in turn, provides a stable platform upon which the muscular system can more efficiently and effectively generate leverage. Leverage equals strength!
Mobility should focus on structures beyond the skeletal system. Visceral (organ) and neural (nerve) mobility are also essential to optimal function. And, they are key players in the body’s adaptive mechanisms. Altered position of organs can be created by motor vehicle accidents, sports trauma, and surgery. Interestingly, restricted mobility of the organs can cause an osseous (bony) adaptive response which can lead to malalignment as described above.
Neural restrictions are also evaluated and treated. Abnormal tension in the neural tissues can be created by trauma including compression, overstretching and spinal surgery to name a few causes. Neural restrictions within the body also lead to adaptive changes. API includes evaluation and treatment of the visceral and neural systems in our treatment philosophy to comprehensively restore mobility.
Flexibility is the next step in restoring balance and function. Fascia restrictions can limit flexibility and create tightness in your muscles. Tight muscles can limit mobility and they can also cause an inhibitory effect on other muscle groups. Another words, if one muscle group is not working properly, that muscle may directly affect the function of another nearby muscle group. Improving flexibility is also an essential step in postural restoration. Posture will always be affected by tight muscles and fascial restrictions. API employs several techniques to resolve tightness and limited flexibility including active release, myofascial release, trigger point therapies, ischemic compression, and massage. These techniques, when combined with proper stretching, can be beneficial in restoring balance to the muscular system. If exercise is started or continued without normalizing all of these structures, imbalances and pain will persist.
After flexibility, fascial mobilization is key to building the foundation towards strength and optimal performance. Fascia is a thin sheath of fibrous tissue that encloses all of your muscles and organs. Fascia restrictions often occur in conjunction with the mobility limitations noted above. They can also occur as the result of direct trauma to the fascia itself. Because fascia is a continuous structure throughout your entire body; a limitation in fascia mobility can create postural changes and malalignment that affect your entire system. The symptoms associated with fascia restrictions often present as pain and dysfunction located far from the original source of injury.
Retraining the neuromuscular system is the next step in the process. As mentioned above, the body will create new neurologic patterns in order to keep functioning after an injury. The longer the dysfunctions have been present in your body, the more ingrained these adapted movement patterns are likely to be. Simply restoring alignment does not guarantee that the body will begin functioning efficiently. Re-education that focuses on retraining the nervous system is required. After restoring these essential elements, it is vital to re-educate the body back to a new neurological pattern of protection that is healthy for the body. API focuses on building new patterns and re-educating the nervous system to support the body in a new, more balanced and less painful way. This is done through proprioceptive training, stabilization training and re-education of patterns.
Once these essential foundations have been restored, then it is time to build muscle strength, endurance and power. API focuses heavily on this aspect of training. We use plyometric activities, sport specific exercises, strength training and focus on the biomechanics specific to your sport or sports of choice.
At API, we are passionately changing lives one person at a time through quality healing interventions that restore health and energy for active living. Our approach is unique and we often find success where more conventional approaches have fallen short. Contact us for more information or book an appointment today!