Modern medicine has taught us to reach for a pill to treat almost any health condition such as fever, cough, colds, pain and headaches. Oftentimes, pharmaceutical drugs merely treat the symptoms without doing much to eliminate the cause of the problem. Moreover, the regular use of drugs may lead to an accumulation of toxins in your colon, liver and kidney.
With growing awareness of the cumulative toxic effects of these chemical formulations, more people are turning to alternative approaches for the treatment of body aches and pains like massage and musculoskeletal therapy.
Musculoskeletal therapy is the manual or "hands on" treatment of muscles and soft body tissues to reduce pain, stiffness, tension, aches, as well as to increase the mobility of the joints.
How musculoskeletal therapy works
Musculoskeletal therapy is based on the relationship of the core muscles, the spine, nerves and joints of the upper body. Core muscles cover the lower abdomen, lower back, hips and buttocks and are believed to maintain stability and strength of the upper and lower body. When the base of the body is unstable or weak, the top portion is likely to develop disorders as a result of the poor core support.
This may lead to body aches and pains experienced at the neck, shoulders, and lower back. To treat a muscle or joint problem, the musculoskeletal therapist goes straight to the cause by:
- conducting a posture analysis during consultation,
- checking the body's overall range of movement
- applying musculoskeletal techniques
- providing a home stretching program to increase flexibility and strengthen muscles
- applying massage techniques on the body's soft tissues and joints to relieve pain
- recommending an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce pain and swelling
- suggesting nutritional supplements like magnesium to aid in the rehabilitation of injured areas.
Who may benefit from musculoskeletal therapy?
Almost anyone who suffers from chronic and acute pain in the back and shoulder, headaches, arthritis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and those who are recovering from bone injuries may find musculoskeletal therapy to be more effective than over the counter pain relievers and medicines, bed rest and regular massage therapy.
Different from massage therapy
Most people make the mistake of assuming that a massage therapist and a musculoskeletal therapist are one and the same. Unlike a massage therapist, a musculoskeletal therapist possesses advanced skills in identifying posture problems and uses an extensive range of treatment options aside from massage to treat pains and aches at the source.
Other health benefits of musculoskeletal therapy
While pain relief is an immediate benefit of musculoskeletal therapy, continuous and regular practice of stretching techniques after effective treatment will cause some visible changes in the appearance of the upper body, as some people are known to have a slimmer figure and flatter abdominal muscles due to core muscle training. Some will also develop better posture and experience a slight increase in height due to proper spinal alignment. It is also a necessary tool in sports medicine and post surgery rehabilitation.
Overall, musculoskeletal therapy promotes flexibility and a general sense of well-being.Originally published on Jun 26, 2009