After graduating from the Washington University School of Medicine's Program in Physical Therapy in 1987, my post-graduate studies included Manual Therapy and Muscle Energy Techniques, which are skills used to correct muscle imbalances and joint dysfunction.
While working rehabilitation hospitals, I observed how shortened musculature could compromise balance and diminish a patient's physical independence. I soon observed that a functional improvement could be achieved by treating muscle imbalances of strength and flexibility. Shortly thereafter I opened an outpatient clinic specializing in the treatment of orthopedic, sports and work-related injury cases. Whether injury is due to faulty posture or physical trauma, I have observed a predictable pattern in the evolution of muscle and soft tissue pain into joint pain and dysfunction. However, if a sufficient stretching "dose" is applied to the musculature, normal flexibility can be regained in most cases, and pain quickly becomes diminished.
The most notable clinical observation is the consistent improvement that can be expected in joint function following the resolution of soft tissue (muscular) restrictions. When daily stretching exercises were consistently performed, geriatric patients were able to achieve new levels of physical independence even when joint pain had become chronic over several years. In several instances, the excellent clinical outcomes achieved through this conservative approach has allowed some patients to discontinue use of prescriptive analgesics and muscle relaxants (in collaboration with their physicians) and others to even cancel scheduled orthopedic surgery. The consistent performance of the stretching exercises functionally resolves most pain symptoms, often in as little as three weeks. A 25 year-old man with C5/C6 quadriparesis (following a diving injury) regained independent walking (4.0 mph!) and later graduated from college with a degree in computer-aided design. Physical independence was regained even amongst the very elderly, allowing many seniors who were in their mid-90's to continue to enjoy their social connections from the comfort of their own homes and established communities.
|*National Member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)|
|*APTA Chapter Member of the Neurology, Orthopedics, Gerontology and Aquatic Therapy sections|
|*APTA-certified Clinical Instructor (CCI) of PT students|
|*Member of Cambridge Who's Who|
|*22 years of diverse clinical experience, including inpatient acute, outpatient, sports|
|work-related injury, geriatrics (home-care/rehabilitation/skilled nursing facilities)|
site last updated on February 11, 2010 by Paul J. Fransen, P.T.