What is Counterstrain and how is it different than a typical Physical Therapy Treatment?

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

Physical Therapy is traditionally taught as, "no pain, no gain." However, Counterstrain approaches pain as a warning that something isn’t right. This approach is much more pleasurable for the client and actually heeds better results. Patients love this approach and are more than willing to come back for additional treatments. Not only that but they don’t need as many treatments because this technique is so effective. 

Counterstrain is a passive manual technique that works to alleviate tender points throughout that body that are causing pain and/or reducing function.  It was first discovered by Dr. Lawrence Jones who found chiropractic adjustments were successful 70% of the time, but 30% of the time clients were not responding to adjustments.  He accidentally stumbled onto this passive technique that helped the other 30% recover from their injuries.  He was afraid he might die with this information so he started educating Physical Therapists and it has grown worldwide.

Counterstrain works at the muscle spindle level on the neurofeedback loop from the muscle to the spinal cord.  It is highly effective for any quick unexpected injury such as a whiplash injury, stepping off a curb wrong, slipping on the ice, etc.  The technique places the affected tissue on slack for at least 90 seconds and passively returns them back to normal. The treatment is completely painless and totally effective. If the injury is new it will likely only take 1 session. If it is chronic it could take several treatments, but even chronic conditions see lasting results.  I have found great success with headaches, low back back, ankle sprains, knee pain, and other injuries that have not responded to traditional Physical Therapy.  It is a technique learned through continuing education; as this instruction is not taught PT school.  I have attended 8 days worth of this continuing education and will be attending more in the future.

I am offering private Counterstrain sessions the second Thursday of every month from 5:30-7:30 at Statera for anyone who would like to sample what it is all about.  If you've tried other avenues and have not had success, come on in and give it a try; you have nothing to lose.  I look forward to helping you achieve a pain-free life!

~Dr. Lindsey Topping, DPT

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