Strain-Counterstrain – What Conditions Does It Treat?

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Counterstrain continues growing in popularity. Every year, dozens of therapists complete the rigorous Counterstrain Academy training and go on to successfully address from simple to baffling painful conditions.

The essence of Counterstrain resides in the mastery and understanding of the multiple systems of the body and their interactions. It is not a system that can be linearly explained—at least as it pertains to our current understanding of how our bodies work.

That’s what makes it difficult to answer the following questions in a soundbite format:

What conditions do you treat?

Or

Will Counterstrain be helpful for (insert condition?)

It is tempting to take the route of oversimplification and say: “Yeah, Counterstrain is good for that!” but as a Counterstrainer, I know that most conditions are the result of cumulative protective mechanisms influencing each other and— with exception of acute trauma—rarely straightforward. In my opinion, just saying that Counterstrain is good for a condition does little to recognize Counterstrain as a multidimensional systemic approach.

Take for instance, the all too common complaint of sciatica.

When patients report sciatica, I only think of pain radiating from the posterior hip down to the legs, not the sciatic nerve being pinched by the piriformis or gluteals, as it’s commonly preached. The reason is simple: there are other structures that could produce the same pain.

Off the top of my head, shutting off reflex arcs in the endopelvic fascia, parietocecal ligaments, Toldt’s fascia, ureters, pudendal arteries, gluteal arteries and veins, hip capsule, sacrospinous ligament, popliteal artery, femoral artery and vein, among others, has proven effective to eliminate the pain perceived as sciatica. In some cases, relief was achieved without even touching the hips.

This doesn’t mean that the sciatic nerve is never involved. If it is, the scan will indicate it, but the point is that there’s a lot more to the pain known as sciatica than a pinched nerve.

But I have not forgotten why you are here. You need a concise answer to find out whether the relief you experienced is also possible for your loved ones. I can only tell you this: Though there’s a high chance Counterstrain can help, I won’t know until I start treatment.

There are two good reasons for this.

One, even though my intervention is powerful, the healing process is in the hands of the patient. Take two individuals with the same demographics and symptoms. The one who proactively takes care of his health will recover; the other one won’t find long-term relief, no matter how many times he comes to see me.

Two, my experience has shown me that the diagnosis assigned to most run-of-the-mill conditions seldom reveals the cause.

Take for instance, the different types of tendinitis. What is tendinitis if not tendon inflammation—which itself is a symptom? The cause is the mechanism keeping the tendon inflamed.

Or take the mother of all pinched nerves, Neuralgia, which is but a collective manifestation of symptoms. The cause? Impossible to say without first knowing what is triggering all those expansive protective mechanisms and what systems are being affected. Saying nerve pain is as ambiguous as saying wet water: it states the obvious without providing useful information.

Yes, I believe in simplification, but not oversimplification. And I believe in concise answers but not in soundbites.

I will not tell you that Counterstrain treats specific conditions, but what I can tell you is that Counterstrain has been immensely beneficial—if not the ultimate approach—in the successful treatment of popular conditions such as:

  • Sciatica
  • Lumbago
  • SI joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Radiculopathy
  • Neuralgia
  • Neuropathy
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Rotator Cuff Impingement
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Chronic bloating
  • Lymphedema
  • Migraines

  • Palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Vertigo
  • Cervicalgia
  • Tight IT band
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Swelling and discoloration from trauma
  • Pre-surgical preparation
  • Post-surgical recovery

… And more.

Yes, Counterstrain has proven immensely helpful—almost to the miraculous level in some circumstances—in delivering relief, but that never exempts the patient from their role, or from the nature of their condition. Sure Counterstrain can help you relieve the joint pain and discomfort from gout, but it does not mean you’re cured from gout. Sure it can relieve a tight IT band but it doesn’t mean your IT bands are immune to the effects of overuse or mechanical loading.

I’m certain that now you understand there’s a lot more to any given condition than a linear soundbite. The ability to recognize this is what allows us to look at different dimensions for answers, rather than getting stuck in a protocol. That is why I work hard to make sure that the answers I give are easy to comprehend without the detrimental effects of oversimplification.

Until next time, may you enjoy a fit and pain-free life!

Coach Izzy

P.S.
Just because I address a specific problem, it doesn't mean the treatment won't have effect on other issues. Here are two of my most remarkable, albeit unintentional, results.

Brian Tuckey, PT, OC, JSCCI

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