Strain-Counter Strain Technique
Often, when a person first begins to experience back pain, problems with the spine are the first thing that person and the primary care doctor think about. Often, a person with back pain suspects that there is something wrong with the bones, joints, and discs of their spine, because they probably know someone that has been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease is the easiest think to diagnose on an X-ray image of the spine, which is often the first diagnostic study ordered by a doctor trying to find the cause of back pain. Degenerative disc disease may in fact be the cause of a person's back pain, though muscle tension is often the cause, in many cases as well.
Though back pain due to muscle strain is often very painful, it usually is relatively short lasting 2-7 days, and will resolve on its own as the affected muscles relax. Muscle strain may be caused by overuse, overstretching, or as a protective response to injury in a nearby joint or soft tissue. Before thinking about it further, you might assume that a muscle spasm would not be something you would want to happen to you in any circumstance, but this protective response may actually save you from injuring yourself further when you hurt yourself. If a joint were to become injured due to trauma, the muscles associated with that joint may immediately tense up, stopping the suddenly unstable joint from any more unstable movements that would hurt it further. This same principle applies to the ligaments, tendons, and discs of the back.
Once the trauma to the muscle or soft tissue has stabilized and healed, the muscle spasm usually subsides, and the person will experience back pain relief. There may be some cases, though, where certain muscles remain in a state of tension, long after the injury or onset of symptoms of arthritis. Chronic pain is often referred to as myofascial pain syndrome. One treatment for myofascial pain syndrome, and the related condition - trigger points, is a healing process known as the Strain-Counter Strain Technique.
The Strain-Counter Strain Technique is a method of physical rehabilitation whereby a specialist positions the body, and massages the affected muscles, to breakup scar tissue around muscles and fascia, and to stretch the muscle back to its original healthy length.
Step on of this technique is to relax the chronically tightened muscles. Massage therapy, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound are three ways to accomplish this important step in the program. The next step is to rewire the electrical circuitry inside the tense muscles so that they are no longer programmed to order the muscles to stiffen up. The clinician will first move the patient into a position where the muscles are guided into their correct positioning. This correct positioning will eventually reset to their natural positions. Each position is held for 90 second intervals. The clinician takes care not to cause the patient any discomfort during these movements, because they want to retrain the neurons in these muscles from recognizing this position as being harmful or unsafe to the body.