Active Release Technique and my pectoral recovery

Pectoral Tear

This is what my injury looked like in March. Does not look this way today.

After seeing the sports doctor and reviewing my MRI I am still in the healing process of this muscle tear. He is solid in view of at least a year of healing with the realization of a non complete recovery. It has been 3 months now since my injury. I have improved slowly in weight for pressing movement.  However I cannot go and rep or even try over 300lbs on the bench.  I am taking it slow and I am determined to beat this injury.  It has a level of depression when you cannot do what you used to in the bench press or dips or dumbbell presses. When I am doing flat bench dumbbells or any pressing movements I do notice the deformity of my left pectoral muscle. It is not noticeable in normal body movements.  I am able to do all the other heavy lifts so I am grateful for that.  Now that surgery is not an option I am going to try ACT (active release therapy) I have an appointment set up next week and I am looking forward to see if this will help in the healing process. I will paste below the therapy details.  And I will keep you up to date if this works.

 Active Release Treatment

ART is a patented system of soft tissue treatment that is the #1 choice for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, whiplash, back pain and other muscle, nerve and joint conditions. It has become the world wide gold standard in the treatment of such conditions. This year at the 25th Ironman Triathlon World Championship over 1000 Active Release Techniques treatments will be given in the week of the race. Why? Because elite athletes know that ART works fast, gets rid of the pain and improves performance.

ART is a procedure that reduces adhesive scar tissue that is formed when the body repairs injuries it suffers because of repetitive motion, bumps, falls, or blows. The formation of adhesive scar tissue in the tendons, ligaments and joints is often the primary culprit in long-term pain. Although muscles get injured most frequently, they also heal more easily on their own. Tendons, ligaments and joints, on the other hand, often take months or years to heal and often stay injured for a lifetime.

Adhesion is the medical term for scar tissue. Scar tissue is abnormal tissue that can form during the healing process. Scar tissue inside the body often connects two parts of the body that are not suppose to be connected, which can result in pain. Dense cohesive adhesions connect two pieces of tissue together tightly, similar to gluing two pieces of wood together. There is no space in-between the two pieces of tissue.

When the tissues of the body are injured the body repairs the damage area by laying down a fibers that surround the affected area; this is adhesive scar tissue. It’s called “adhesive” because the fibers stick to the affected tissue and protect it while the injured tissue heals. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, because the injured party often doesn’t sufficiently rest the affected parts, the adhesive tissue is laid down in a chaotic fashion. The result is that the adhesions are not always laid down in smooth, even layers, and do not follow the direction of muscle action. The fibers thus are laid down against the grain, tightly constrict the tissues, and limit the range of motion. When motion beyond the range is attempted, pain results; avoiding pain therefore requires that one live with much reduced range of motion of the affected parts of the body.

Adhesive scar tissue can lead to pain in virtually any part of the body that’s been injured, including the neck, back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle and foot. If you’ve been told you have tennis or golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff tendonitis, heel spur, pinched nerves, sciatica, to name a few, then the chances are good that the cause of this pain is adhesive scar tissue.

Healthy soft tissue is healthy, it is smooth and slippery, allowing the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and organs to move freely and function properly. When adhesions attach to muscles, their ability to work properly is decreased. When you have an adhesion on a nerve, numbness, tingling, or pain result.

Imagine a piece of scotch tape, the smooth side is healthy fascia, the sticky side is scar tissue or unhealthy fascia. Try rubbing both sides of the tape along your skin. The smooth side slips easily across your skin. The sticky side drags across your skin. The drag that you feel, the “pulling” sensation is how an adhesion affects the smooth functioning of your body.

Because Active Release Techniques (ART) is able to resolve chronic injury and pain that have not responded to other forms of therapy, it one of most sought after soft-tissue treatments in the world today, and is widely used on to treat sports-related injuries. Indeed, a variety of Olympic athletes from many countries cite the technique as one of the factors that help them win gold medals


Powerlifting Injuries – How Muscles Get Injured And How To Treat Them

Hello all>>Iam sharing this interesting artical written by Ken Kinakin, D.C., C.S.C.S. (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist). We all know how an injury could break you in competition or take you out of the PowerLifting events for life. I am still dealing with my injuries,,and in this sport “count on getting them” Here is somthing to think about

Powerlifting injuries can come from a variety of sources. Examples of this may be poor lifting technique, lifting beyond your capabilities or training too often without proper rest or recuperation. All of these sources can lead to microtrauma, or small injury, that can get worse over time. Because you don’t recognize that the is injury there, you reinjure yourself frequently. This repeated microtrauma can eventually have a profound effect on the specific action of the joint and the surrounding tissues. The effects of the microtrauma include the microtearing of the muscle, the sheath around the muscle and the adjacent connective tissue, as well as stress to the tendon and its bony attachments. The microtearing of the muscle tissue leads to microscopic bleeding, all of which affects the entire area around the injury, contributing to what is commonly know as inflammation. Most people assume that inflammation can be easy to detect like the swelling around a badly sprained ankle. This is not always the case however. Microtrauma causes a corresponding low level of inflammation that cannot be seen or palpated.

The body responds to this myofascitis, inflammation of the muscle and fascia, by forming fibrous adhesions, or scar tissue in the muscle, between the sheaths of adjacent muscle groups and between the fascia and the muscle sheaths. These fibrous adhesions limit the ease and range of motion of muscles and joints and can decrease the muscles lengthening and shortening capabilities. Once the normal biomechanics of the joint is altered, this can lead to further inflammation and the pattern becomes a vicious cycle of long-term wear and tear.

This fibrous adhesion pattern can be seen in people who do certain exercises such as bench press and complain of the same pain in the exact same spot. This doesn’t happen by chance. The fibrous adhesion formed in the shoulder muscle is preventing proper motion and pulling on the various soft tissue structures like muscle, fascia, tendon and bursae when trying to perform the bench press.

Taking time off lifting will decrease the chronic inflammation, but it will not decrease the fibrous adhesion. As soon as you start lifting again, the fibrous adhesion will increase the inflammation and stop you from doing this exercise due to pain. An analogy would be if your car tire hit the curb on a icy road altering the tire alignment causing the tire and car to shake when driving. Putting the car in the garage for one month and not driving will prevent further damage to the tire and steering linkages, but it will not fix the wheel alignment. You have to take it to a mechanic that will properly assess the altered wheel alignment and then he balances it until it spins perfectly again. The same thing occurs when you have an injury. You have to identify all the possible fibrous adhesions in the muscle, then perform some soft tissue therapy on the muscle to break up all those fibrous adhesions in the muscle, muscle sheaths, tendons, ligaments and fascia. This will restore normal motion to the muscle and joint allowing proper movement and function. One of the latest soft tissue techniques that is being used on athletes all over the world is call Active Release Technique (or A.R.T.) that was created by Dr. Micahel Leahy D.C. A.R.T. is aimed at manually breaking up adhesions, the scar tissue that can entrap muscles, tendons, ligaments and even nerves.

The new procedure is similar to some massage techniques, only it’s more aggressive. You must be able to locate the adhesion and know how to use active motion of the body part to break them up. To break up an adhesion, you must actually put your thumb or fingers on the scar tissue and make it move in a way that breaks it away from the tissue it has adhesed to. Depending on the amount of chronic inflammation and severity of the adhesion, the pain can be minimal to quite intense, but the procedure is only done a few times and the relief from the injury can be almost immediate at times. Sometimes with less severe injuries only three to six sessions are needed to restore normal muscle and joint function along with proper guidance of exercise technique, stretching and diet to prevent the injury from reoccurring. More severe injuries can take longer and other forms of therapy must be regularly performed to fully restore normal muscle and joint function. After the adhesions are broken up, a rehabilitation program should be used to strengthen the muscles since certain muscles in the point will have been not properly strengthen due to altered biomechanics.

This has been a very useful and common sense therapy that has worked very well for my patients and complements all the other treatment modalities I use. It has allowed many of my patients to get back to the weight room pain free, full strength or runners back running at their full potential. If you have a current injury that will not go away, even with other forms of treatments or rest, this maybe an appropriate therapy for you to try.

Are smelling salts effective

When competing in powerlifting events, smelling salts and ammonia caps are widely used among athletes to hype them up and before the “big” lift.  ammonium carbonate  is the active compound.  Smelling salts have been around since Roman times and also known as ‘sal volatile’ for their ability to create a reaction. Many powerlifters use salts before the big lift.  The salts when inhaled irritate the mucus membranes of the nose, throat, and lungs, stimulating the body to breathe more quickly.  There is wide controversy between powerlifters using salts. However it is legal in most competitions and is accepted as a form of “natural stimulants.  I have not used smelling salts and have done well in my big lifts.  In my opinion I believe smelling salts are very effective to hype you up and focus on your big lift. You see powerlifters inhale the salts and then slap their face to get adrenalin flowing and peak their lift performance in those brief minutes of the lift.  The salts are inexpensive ranging around 5 US dollars per bottle. They should be stored in your gym bag and be aware of not to place your bag in the sun or over a heater vent as due the ammonia in smelling salts are toxic.  Ammonia gas is toxic, large concentrations could be fatal so do not stick your head in your gym back to smell for a leak!.  Although there has been no reports of any its best to treat it carefully so you’re not the first to be a fatality.  When using the salts in competition it would be good to brief your partner or coach to make sure the lid is on tight after they administer the open container under your nose.  If you are going to try smelling salts for the first time it would be better to try in an area if you get nausea it will not be an embarrassment.  Although there has been no reports of getting ill from the salts some people may be inherently susceptible to a reaction. In conclusion smelling salts are safe to use in small quantities and depends on your view in use of  an aid in powerlifting.

Good luck in all your training and competitions!