Soft tissue in the human body is made up of muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia. The soft tissue supports joint action. After a trauma, soft tissue can shorten, restricting the natural movement of a joint. Inflammation causes soft tissue thickening, which can also impede joint function.
Soft tissue manipulation is a manual technique used to reduce pain, relax muscles, increase range of motion and restore strength. It is also used to treat adhesions, which may form within the soft tissue as a result of trauma, surgery, immobilization or repetitive strain.
Soft tissue mobilization breaks down adhesions and stimulates tissue regeneration.
With this treatment, the physical therapist gently moves a joint through its natural motion, stretching the soft tissue, releasing tension from the muscles and improving blood circulation. The physical therapist slowly adds force to this movement until the deep tissue is reached and released.