Precision Healing: ART’s Role in Treating Muscle Strains and Sprains

According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, around 2 million people sprain their ankles in their lifetime. Millions of people suffer from wrist sprains, back strains, ACL tears, and other sprains. 

A strain is when a muscle is stretched too much and part of it tears, whereas a sprain is an injury in the ligament, a strong, flexible fiber that holds bones together, and ankle, wrist, knee, and thumb sprains are way too common. Surprisingly prevalent, they can stem from various activities, from intense sports to daily chores.

Experts have suggested that ART (Active Release Technique), which combines manual soft tissue therapy with movement, is often the best way to treat sprains and strains. This drug-free pain relief approach helps build strength and improve the injured area’s balance and range of motion. 

Active Release Techniques (ART) from Total Performance offers a specialized approach that targets specific muscles and tendons, promoting faster and more efficient healing. In this blog below, we will introduce you to the role of ART treatment in treating muscle strains and sprains, a game-changer in treating injuries. Scroll down to explore! 

Understanding Active Release Technique (ART)

Active Release Techniques (ART) is a highly specialized therapy designed to treat muscles and tendons affected by overuse. At its core, ART targets tissue tension and aims to eliminate fibrosis and adhesions. But what are these? 

Fibrosis is the thickening and scarring of connective tissue, usually due to injury. Conversely, adhesions are bands of scar tissue that bind together muscles and tissues not normally connected. These conditions can limit movement, cause pain, and decrease blood flow, leading to discomfort and reduced functionality.

ART therapy stands out because it combines patient movement with specific manual pressure applied by the therapist. The therapist’s hands evaluate the texture, tightness, and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and nerves and apply precisely directed tension coupled with specific patient movements. This method addresses the symptoms of pain and discomfort and targets the underlying causes by breaking up the adhesions and restoring normal tissue function.

ART offers a customized approach to muscle healing, considering the unique conditions of each patient’s tissues. This dynamic and interactive treatment makes it a favored choice for athletes and individuals with repetitive strain injuries.

Muscle Strains vs. Muscle Sprains

Understanding the difference between muscle strains and sprains is crucial for effective treatment. While they may sound similar, they affect different parts of the body. A strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon, the tissue connecting muscles to bones. In contrast, a sprain involves the ligaments, the tough bands connecting bones. 

Strains often occur due to overstretching or overusing a muscle, leading to tears in the muscle or tendon. Symptoms typically include pain, muscle weakness, and limited mobility. Sprains, however, result from a stretched or torn ligament, often caused by a twist or impact. They present with symptoms like swelling, bruising, and joint instability. Identifying whether you’re dealing with a strain or a sprain is essential in choosing the right course of treatment.

Commonly Affected Muscles and Symptoms 

Common sites for strains include the hamstring, lower back, and groin, while sprains frequently occur in ankles, knees, and wrists. The severity of symptoms can vary, but they often include pain, swelling, and difficulty using the affected muscle or joint. Timely recognition of these symptoms can significantly aid in prompt and effective treatment.

The Importance of Accurate Diagnosis

An accurate diagnosis is key in treating muscle strains and sprains. Misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate treatment, prolonging recovery or worsening the injury. Understanding the details of these injuries and seeking professional medical advice ensures that you receive the most effective treatment, whether rest, physical therapy, or other interventions.

The ART Approach to Muscle Injury Treatment

Active Release Techniques (ART) are revolutionary for treating muscle injuries. This method isn’t just about treating pain; it’s about identifying and fixing the underlying issues causing it. ART stands out for its ability to tailor treatments to individual needs, making it highly effective for various muscle injuries, from athletes’ overuse injuries to the everyday strains experienced by others.

ART Process

  • The first step in ART is a thorough assessment. Practitioners evaluate the affected area, identifying tightness, mobility limitations, and pain points. 
  • This isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach; it’s a detailed, patient-specific process. 
  • The practitioner feels for abnormal textures or tension in the tissues, which helps pinpoint the exact location and nature of the injury.
  • Once the problem areas are identified, ART uses targeted treatment strategies. Practitioners apply precise pressure as the patient performs specific movements. 
  • Each treatment is customized, focusing on the affected areas, ensuring that every session addresses the patient’s unique injury.

ART’s effectiveness lies in its scientific approach to muscle and soft tissue disorders. By understanding the anatomy and biomechanics of these tissues, ART practitioners can effectively target and treat the areas of concern. 

The technique’s ability to combine patient movement with targeted pressure is key in breaking up adhesions, increasing blood flow, and promoting healing. This makes ART a preferred choice for those looking for a scientifically backed, effective treatment for muscle injuries.

Conditions Treated with ART

One of the key strengths of Active Release Techniques (ART) lies in its effectiveness in treating chronic and acute muscle injuries. But what do these terms mean? 

  • Acute injuries refer to sudden, often intense injuries, such as a muscle pull or tear, where the pain and symptoms appear quickly. For these, ART helps in reducing pain and speeding up recovery time. 
  • Chronic injuries, on the other hand, develop over time, often due to repetitive motion or prolonged strain. These include conditions like posture-related pains or ongoing tendonitis. In these cases, ART’s targeted approach is particularly beneficial, as it helps break the cycle of pain and dysfunction, providing long-term relief and improved functionality.
  • ART also treats common conditions like hamstring strains, rotator cuff injuries, and lower back pain. It also addresses more specific issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and shin splints.

Frequency and Duration of ART Treatment 

Understanding the frequency and duration of Active Release Techniques (ART) treatment is key to achieving the best results. Typically, ART sessions are relatively short, often lasting around 15 to 30 minutes. However, the total number of sessions required can vary greatly depending on the individual’s specific condition and the severity of the injury.

  • For acute injuries, patients might experience significant relief in as few as one to three sessions. These cases usually involve recent injuries where swift, targeted intervention can rapidly alleviate symptoms. 
  • On the other hand, chronic conditions, which have developed over a longer period, may require a more extended treatment plan. In such scenarios, patients may need ongoing sessions, ranging from a few weeks to a couple of months, to address the underlying issues and ensure full long-term relief.

It’s important to note that the frequency of ART sessions is often determined on a case-by-case basis. A personalized treatment plan is usually developed after an initial assessment and is adjusted based on the patient’s response to the therapy. This customized approach ensures that each individual receives optimal care tailored to their specific needs.

Integrating ART with Other Therapies

ART often pairs well with other modalities like chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy exercises, and even acupuncture. Each of these treatments brings its strengths, and when combined with ART, can lead to more complete and efficient healing. 

For instance, while ART focuses on soft tissue manipulation, chiropractic care can align the spine, and physical therapy can strengthen the affected areas.

A collaborative approach involving physicians, physical therapists, and ART practitioners can provide a well-rounded treatment plan. This team effort ensures all aspects of an injury are addressed, from initial pain relief to long-term rehabilitation. Effective communication among healthcare providers is key in crafting a treatment plan that leverages ART’s benefits and other medical interventions.

Holistic Healing and Long-Term Wellness with Active Release Technique 

Incorporating ART into a holistic healing strategy emphasizes overall well-being and long-term wellness. It’s not just about treating the immediate symptoms but also about fostering sustainable health practices. This might include lifestyle changes, ergonomic improvements at work, or regular exercise routines, all complementing the direct benefits of ART.

Steps to Find the Best ART Practitioner

Locating a qualified Active Release Techniques (ART) practitioner is crucial for effective treatment. It’s essential to choose a professional certified in ART with the experience and expertise to address your specific needs.

  • Qualifications and Certification

When searching for an ART practitioner, the first thing to check is their certification. ART practitioners undergo rigorous training and must pass a certification exam. Look for someone with a current ART certification, ensuring they are up-to-date with the latest techniques and practices.

  • Evaluating Experience and Expertise

Experience matters. In addition to certification, consider the practitioner’s experience, especially in treating conditions similar to yours. An experienced ART professional will likely have a deeper understanding of various muscle and tendon issues and more refined techniques, leading to better outcomes.

  • Patient Testimonials and Referrals

Referrals from other healthcare professionals or patient testimonials can be invaluable in choosing the right practitioner. Hearing about others’ experiences can give you insight into the practitioner’s approach and effectiveness. Positive feedback from previous patients is a good indicator of a practitioner’s capability and reliability.


ART is a specialized therapy focused on treating muscle strains and sprains precisely. Its strength lies in addressing targeted muscles and tendons, fostering faster and more efficient healing.

Moreover, it’s essential to seek treatment early for muscle injuries. Prompt intervention with ART can significantly reduce recovery time and prevent the injury from worsening. Total Performance practitioners are experts at addressing acute and chronic injuries, making them a reliable choice for those seeking effective, long-term relief.

Choosing Total Performance for your ART therapy means you’re in the hands of certified professionals. They hold essential certifications like ART Full Body Level 1, Level 2, and Long Tract Nerve Entrapment, coupled with extensive experience in the field. Their expertise ensures that you receive not just treatment but a comprehensive solution tailored to your condition.

Request your appointment with the expert ART practitioners at Total Performance now to know more.


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