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Active Release Techniques and the Many Benefits

Whether you’re an office professional, busy mom or an elite athlete, anyone can suffer from painful and debilitating repetitive strain injuries. There is an innovative way to treat these injuries that affect muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is used to treat head to toe injuries—from headaches to plantar fasciitis. Also, it is used to treat other injuries including TMJ, shin splints, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder pain and sciatica.

The Technique

The technique is a soft tissue manual technique called Active Release Techniques (ART). Professionals use it to treat all of these overuse conditions that create micro-trauma. With repeated overuse, those small tears turn into worsening conditions with tears and pulls. As the injured area worsens, it typically is depleted of oxygen because of decreased circulation. Ultimately, this depletion can lead to the formation of scar tissue.

It is well-recognized how restrictive scar tissue buildup becomes. It restricts the tissues, binding them up, so they just don’t move freely anymore. Muscles become affected by the scar tissue by becoming shorter and weaker and increased tendon tension that can cause inflammation (tendonitis). Eventually, you lose range of motion and strength. Sometimes nerves can become trapped in the inflamed, restricted area, and you can experience tingling and numbness in the area.

Active release techniques (ART) is a way to manipulate the soft tissue. And the scar tissue adhesions that have formed as a result of the overuse injury are manually broken up. These adhesions are what are entrapping muscles and causing pain. Best of all, it’s a natural treatment without medications or surgery.

How It Works

Dr. Rofrano examines the injured area for points of tightness and restricted movements of muscles, tendons, ligaments and surrounding soft tissue. Abnormal tissues are treated by the doctor providing precise, directed tension while you perform specific movements. There are over 500 movements that comprise ART therapies. Doctors use them to identify and correct your condition.

ART is more specifically targeted and precise than deep tissue massage. The technique was invented by Colorado chiropractor and sports physician P. Michael Leahy.  He used it to treat his athlete clients for chronic pain and injuries.

Trained medical professionals know how to feel for these adhesions. They locate them, manipulate them and break them up. There is minimal pain and discomfort. For more extensive adhesions, you will be able to feel them breaking apart. Your session with the doctor could be 10-30 minutes, depending on your specific case.

Additionally, the results can be instantaneous. You will be amazed after having tried other techniques with little to no success. The doctor will likely recommend follow-up treatments to continue with pain relief and to  restore normal texture and range of motion to the area.

Are You A Candidate?

You might be wondering whether you need ART. If you experience stiffness in your neck or any joint or have reduced the range of motion or flexibility, you can benefit. If your joints are inflamed or if you have throbbing pain after exercise, you can benefit. And if you feel that you’ve lost muscle strength in a particular area, you can benefit.

Initially developed for elite athletes, Active Release Techniques has made its way into medicine as a mainstream technique used for all kinds of patients. Overuse injuries are so much more common today, with a higher prevalence of technology overuse injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace. Now, most everyone can benefit from ART. In addition, companies lose many sick days to these types of repetitive strain injuries.

Of course, it is still widely used among athletes, but ART can be used in any area of the body where soft tissue is located near a joint. Overuse injuries in these areas have likely led to scar tissue formation over time.

We treat tennis players and golfers for elbow injuries and have used it for Achilles tendinitis, rotator cuff injury, and supraspinatus tendon injuries. And many patients with chronic neck and back pain have been able to significantly decrease or eliminate their pain while simultaneously increasing range of motion.

Here are some of the issues that can be treated with Active Release Techniques:

-Neck pain

_Upper back pain


-Low back pain and Sciatica

-Arm and hand pain

-Leg and foot pain, including shin splints and plantar fasciitis

-Tension headaches and migraines

-Shoulder pain, including rotator cuff injuries and frozen shoulder syndrome

Breaking up is hard to do, but in this case, you’ll look forward to it. You’ll be surprised how much your condition can improve after one session of treating the soft tissues. Your joints can feel better and your nerve issues can subside. And you can feel less stress on that area of your body.

Fortunately, therapies such as ART can relieve pain, increase the range of motion, and help improve the overall quality of your life.

Thank you for reading our blog! How can we help you? Contact us today.

Natural Pain Solutions

Pain can be a real energy drain.  Almost everyone that comes to me complaining of pain also complains of fatigue. This is no coincidence.

If you are in pain, it can make you irritable, moody, depressed, and unable to concentrate.  Pain can make you tense and keep you from sleeping well through the night.  Pain can simply make you tired, very tired.

Pain that is fairly recent is called acute pain.  If the pain persists and lasts more than 4-6 weeks it is considered chronic pain. This seems to be the majority of cases I see, as most people put off coming in as they think the pain will go away on its own.

What causes chronic pain?

Myofascial  trigger points are one of the most common causes of persistent pain.  Trigger points are tender, tight bands or “knots” within a muscle that can refer pain to other areas of the body as well.  They can become fibrous and hard overtime.

This can be referred to as myofascial pain and you can have multiple trigger points throughout  your  body. 

For instance, trigger points in your jaw can cause TMJ pain and headaches, trigger points in your low back and buttocks can cause sciatica, and trigger points in your calves and  feet can cause plantar fasciitis.

Myofascial trigger points or muscular adhesions can also cause nerve entrapment leading to numbness and tingling in your arms or legs. 

These trigger points can be caused by an accident or injury, even one from years prior.  Myofascial pain can also be caused gradually from repetitive stress, by doing the same type of activities over and over again.  Things like sports, sitting at a computer for years, or using your smartphone for hours a day.

Even though myofascial trigger points are one of the most common causes of pain, they cannot  be identified on x-ray or MRI. This leads many doctors to think that your pain is not real, due to stress or “all in your head.” 

Another cause of persistent pain is joint dysfunction. This is where the joints of your spine or extremities can become stiff, stuck or fixated, and they don’t have normal motion. 

This can cause local pain and inflammation, irritate nerves, and can result in headaches,  neck or back pain, TMJ, hip or other joint pain.

What are the best solutions for pain?

Well I thought I would look on WebMD first to see what an internet savvy person could find out.  You know, WebMD, the number one “health” website with 80 million unique visitors per month.

For pain treatment, they list a choice of 5 pain relievers, 8 different antidepressants, 5 anticonvulsants (originally developed for epilepsy) or 3 different opioid pain killers such as codeine, morphine or oxycodone.  And painkillers happen to be one of the most common causes for drug addictions (and drug overdose deaths) in United States.

 Besides all of the side effects, and dependency with the above drugs, they do nothing to resolve the cause of the pain.  Now I realize there are some conditions, like cancer for instance, that require these medications for pain relief. 

But for the majority of cases, if you want to actually correct the underlying cause of pain there are some natural pain solutions available to you.

After treating thousands of patients over the past 30 years, I have found that the most effective treatment for pain is a multifaceted, 7-point approach.  I call it  Functional & Free™- A 7-Step Program to determine your root cause and provide you with whole body permanent solutions! and it includes:

1.  Active Release Techniques, which is a type of myofascial release or manual therapy, to reduce pain producing myofascial trigger points, adhesions and fibrous tissue, and to restore muscular balance.

2.  Gentle chiropractic adjustments to restore normal joint function and movement.  Instead of manual manipulation (cracking your neck or back), we use a computerized instrument called the Impulse.  This is a very advanced, gentle and precise way to reduce pain and restore motion to joints.

3.  Super Pulsed Laser therapy to reduce pain and inflammation, and enhance microcirculation to promote healing.

4.  Therapeutic functional training exercises and vibration training to improve strength, flexibility, balance and posture

5.  Coaching on Lifestyle Modifications such as what type of exercise to do, stress relief activities, proper sleep habits, and even the use of infrared sauna.

6.  A  personalized nutrition program with our Natural Medicine Formulas based on lab testing to see what deficiencies or imbalances can be corrected to help transform your health.  

General recommendations for natural pain relief include nutritional supplements such as Magnesium, Ultra Pure Fish Oil, Vitamin D and and an herbal remedy called Curcumin Protect to help enhance recovery and aid the healing process.   

7.  A proprietary diet that can  reduce inflammation and enhance healing.  I call this The FreeDiet™ as it can help you become free of pain, fatigue, fogginess and fat.  

I applied this treatment program to a  40-year-old women recently who came in with fatigue (for 25+ years), migraine headaches, neck and jaw pain, anxiety, depression, poor memory and concentration, insomnia and a number of other symptoms. 

All this was in spite of being on a number of medications.  She started feeling a lot better with treatment and was sleeping well through the night. Her energy came back and she was soon feeling good for the first time in years.

If you or loved one is in pain and would like to know if we can help you, email us at  or call us at 561-627-5800.

Yours for optimal health,

Dr. Tom Rofrano 

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    Content on this website is based upon the opinions of Thomas Rofrano, D.C. and is not considered medical advice. It is designed to be a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Rofrano and his community. Dr. Rofrano encourages you to make your health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Dr. Rofrano is a chiropractic physician and offers physical and nutritional support and guidance to those seeking alternative or complementary care to traditional medicine. His care is not meant to replace that from your primary doctor and specialists but rather to help you on your path to achieving life-long vibrant health.

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