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Postural and Muscle (Soft Tissue) Assessment

What we do affects how we are. Some aches and pains can come from illness or injury. Yet, others arise simply from repetitive actions, motions and habits we might not even consider.

For example, the weight of a backpack can impinge the brachial plexus by resting heavily on the clavicle. Your actions, posture and stance while working at your computer or texting can affect you on a soft tissue or structural level. Carrying a bag consistently on one side of your body can cause elevation of the shoulder. Repetitive motions can cause injury. Even carrying your wallet in the same right side pocket can press upon and impinge the sciatic nerve.

The assessment process is a series of passive and active movement based tests that are designed to provide insight pertaining to the use and functionality of your muscles and joints. The information revealed during this process is then used to create a treatment plan, unique to you, to help ensure that your joints and muscles function at maximum capacity.

Postural assessment itself is performed visually using several landmarks on the body, including, but not limited to, the curves of spine, the position of the shoulders and head and the rotation of the limbs and its landmarks. Postural deviations can cause pain and limit range of motion. Assessment tools can reveal a variety of soft tissue or structural limitations that can be corrected with proper treatment.

The joints and muscles of the body have different levels of movement. Muscles have extensibility and joints have range of motion (ROM). Each structure has a predetermined, standard degree of movement. Through a series of tests such as Active Range of Motion (AROM - a series of movements performed by the client), Passive Range of Motion (PROM - a series of movements performed on the client by the practitioner), muscle length tests (MLT's) and special tests, we can discover potential limitations to movement or injury to assorted structures.

After an assessment, we can discuss possible options to assist in the proper alignment and movement of your body. Different massage modalities, range of motion exercises and PNF stretching, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching, can be employed as corrective measure to increase range of motion.

* PNF stretching is a set of stretching techniques commonly used in clinical environments to enhance both active and passive range of motion with the ultimate goal being to optimize motor performance and mobility. Generally an active PNF stretch involves a shortening contraction of the opposing muscle to place the target muscle on the stretch. This is followed by an isometric contraction of the target muscle. PNF can be used to supplement daily stretching and is employed to make gains in range of motion to help improve mobility.