What is Positional Release Technique (PRT)?
As with many of the advanced soft tissue techniques, Positional Release Technique (PRT) can trace its origins to Osteopathy. This technique can work well with protective muscle spasms and is also known as Strain Counterstrain. At an anatomy and physiology level, the human body consists of a vast array of sensors. These sensors are continually working and sending and receiving information from the brain or other organs. All functions within the human body are continuously monitored, and changes are frequently made to ensure that everything works correctly. Two types of sensors within tissue are muscle spindles and golgi tendon. Muscle spindles detect how much and how fast muscle tissues are stretched and golgi tendon detect muscle tension. The information the body receives from these sensors has relevance for movement and injury prevention.
Painful muscle spasms and PRT
Protective muscle spasms usually occur due to injury or the potential for injury and are the body's way of preventing further damage. In many, respects such spasms are similar to a splint or brace and prevent further movement/damage. However, when muscles go into spasm, they not only restrict mobility but can be very painful. Any further movement then tends to create more spasming and pain, leading to a pain cycle. Such a situation can easily lead to a chronic problem, especially if not managed correctly. Hence, muscles can stay in this protective state long after the event that triggered the spasm, and one sees this in an MSK Therapy clinic setting. Muscles spams tend not to respond well to being stretched, which is why the body adapts to avoid pain ( see tissue adaption article). Sadly, there seems to be a view that if something is tight, it only needs stretching. Sometimes people notice some ease from applying a stretch, only to be far worse later and repeat this pattern due to the initial pain relief. However, the body may not respond to further tissue stretch damage instantly, as the speed of inflammation can vary from one set of tissues to the next. The stretch may produce some relief due to endorphins released at the time. Also, there may be a slight reduction in tension too, though short-lived.
Releasing painful muscle spasms
Positional Release Technique (PRT) or Strain Counterstrain involves positioning protective muscle spasms in a shortened state. A suitably trained practitioner can position the consumer and hold the tissues in a shortened state, enabling a releasing of tissues. Naturally, one tends to find the most comfortable or shortened tissue position to sit or lay in when in pain. Muscles that have been in a protective state tend to go back into spasm shortly after being released if they are just released. The full Positional Release Technique (PRT) protocol addresses this situation, provided the practitioner is fully competent in the technique and has excellent anatomy and physiology knowledge. There are occasions where Positional Release Technique (PRT) may be contraindicated or not suitable for a consumer. One could actually create muscle spasms if the method were used incorrectly. As with many advanced soft tissue techniques Positional Release Technique (PRT) is a form of fascial release, though works differently to Myofascial Release (MFR).
Muscles spasms and Chronic Pain relief
Long-term chronic pain tends to have more than just a physical impact on the person suffering from it, as pain is a "stressor" ( see the articles on stress and "stressors"). Not only does chronic pain affect mobility, but it can impact all aspects of health. A lack of mobility can seriously impact our enjoyment of life, and chronic pain is physically, mentally and emotionally draining, (see the article on Chronic Pain for further details on aspects of such conditions and treatment). These factors all play a part in treating, and some people even have an emotional release when pain is finally relieved. Such a release may involve somebody bursting into tears during or at the end of treatment and not knowing why. Successfully treating long-term pain can produce relief on many levels and not just physical pain.
Massage and Myotherapy Registrations
Terry brings over 15 years of experience working in the MSK field back to Australia from the UK. His training covers a wide variety of treatment methods and soft tissue therapy (STT) skills. Terry's main area of interest lies in trauma and myofascial pain relief. He also taught as a senior course coach on one of the first myotherapy courses in Brisbane and is highly qualified. His skills are now available at the Morningside clinic, where he works as a Myotherapist.