Archive for September 2014

Introduction to Strain-Counterstrain Technique

Introduction to Strain-Counterstrain Technique

Here at Quince Orchard Medical Center, we like to talk about our clinician “toolbox” – the various techniques and specialized training – that allows us to provide individualized care to each of our patients.  In this article, we’ll discuss one of the “tools” that we use, “Strain-Counterstrain Technique.”  Strain-Counterstrain, also widely known as “positional release,” has been taught exclusively through the Jones Institute and has been practiced by Dr. Lawrence Jones and his colleagues since the mid-1950s.

The hallmark of the Strain-Counterstrain technique is its gentleness.  Purposefully non-traumatic, the Strain-Counterstrain technique reduces pain related to both neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders, making it useful in treating various conditions ranging from acute pain to chronic conditions.  By using passive body positioning and locating “tender points,” muscles in spasm and painful joints are held in positions of comfort while dysfunctional muscles are compressed and restored to their normal operational limits.

During treatment your clinician will hold your body in specific positions for approximately 90 seconds.  The purpose for holding each position is to wait for the muscles to relax, rather than implementing a more active therapy module.  The concept is to deal with the root of the pain as opposed to putting a temporary “bandaid” on the symptoms.

Research conducted by Irwin Korr in the 1970s explained why the Strain-Counterstrain technique works so well.  When a muscle experiences a trauma that causes it to over-stretch, its spindles (sensory receptors within the muscle that primarily detect changes in the length) contract to protect the muscle tissue.  As a result, the muscle can become trapped in a shortened position that, while somewhat functional, is painful and irritated.  Focusing on the specific tender points associated with each of the joints and muscles, the clinician will help shorten the over-stretched or damaged muscle by holding the body in a specified position, allowing it to return to status quo.

When a muscle is relaxed and shortened, it sends signals to the central nervous system, “hey things are OK here, we’re back to normal, nothing to worry about here…”  After that message has been sent, the central nervous system resumes normal functioning because it’s under the assumption that it no longer needs to spasm to protect itself from any type of excessive feedback that it was previously receiving.  As a result, the body begins to function the way it was originally intended, and, thus heals itself.  Relief and restoration is immediate. Pain free movement can be built and restored for the long-term through exercise.

Conditions which can benefit from applying Strain-Counterstrain Technique include Fibromyalgia, TMJ, sports injuries, vehicle accidents, post-surgery, arthritis, headaches, whiplash, pain following a traumatic injury, neck or back pain, and for those individuals who may require more gentle care, such as small children or the elderly.  We’re always happy to discuss the appropriateness of utilizing the Strain-Counterstrain technique during your treatment here with us.



Everyday Knowledge for the Weekend Warrior

Injured ankle wrapped in tape

Everyone experiences athletic injuries at some point in their life.  However, as you age it becomes easier to re-injure old injuries while also compounding new ones, which then take longer to heal.  Those things you could get away with in your 20’s aren’t as easy to ignore and still recover from in your 30’s, 40’s, and later decades.  At Quince Orchard Medical Center, we believe that it is important to take care of yourself and address small problems before they compound into larger ones. In doing so you can maintain a healthy and active lifestyle for many years to come. 

 Some of the most common sports and athletic injuries include sprains and strains, sore or inflamed muscles, joint pain, shin splints, joint dislocations and shoulder injuries.  At the onset of just about any musculoskeletal injury, begin with RICE therapy.  RICE therapy is the acronymfor Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  Avoid whatever mechanisms or motions cause an increase in symptoms or pain.  If you have a leg or ankle injury, you may need to decrease the amount of weight you bear on the affected side.  Working through the pain, especially if the pain is sharp, shooting or stabbing in nature is not recommended.  According to the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Disease, apply ice at 20 minute intervals up to eight times a day.  Use a cloth or towel to prevent the ice from producing a cold injury and discomfort.  For compression, use an Ace bandage and wrap the affected area at an even pressure.  This willreduce additional swelling and lead to a quicker recovery.  Elevation will facilitate a decrease inswelling, especially if accompanied by ice.  After a few days, if you don’t notice significant reduction in pain and swelling, contact your physician.

Over the counter NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen and can be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Be aware of relying on them too much, otherwise you could mask a more serious problem or increase a risk of stomach ulcers.  Always follow the warning labels on over the counter NSAIDS and see your doctor if there are any concerns.  Do not take NSAIDS if you have a history of gastrointestinal problems, stroke, kidney problems, hypertension, or if you are pregnant.  If you take NSAIDS for a few days and the pain does not decrease, consider stopping taking the medication and seeing a doctor.

If you are a weekend warrior, consider performing lighter exercise activities throughout the week.  Incorporating sport-specific cross-training into your workout routine can decrease your risk of re-injury or overuse injuries, which can lead to chronic pain in your joints and/or muscles.  If you experience chronic pain or ongoing discomfort please consider coming into our office for an evaluation.  Together we can decide the best course of treatment to meet your goal of returning tos ports and/or an active lifestyle without having to battle chronic pain.

What are Sports Injuries?