Physical Therapy is traditionally taught as no pain, no gain.
However, the counterstrain approaches pain as a warning that something isn’t right. This approach is more pleasurable for the client and can heed better results. Many patients love this approach and are more than willing to come back for additional treatments. Not only that but they also don’t need as many treatments because this technique can be effective.
Counterstrain is a passive manual technique that works to alleviate tender points throughout the body that are causing pain and/or reducing function. It was 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 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 whiplash, 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 painless and effective.
If the injury is new it will likely take one 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 pain, 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 physical therapy school.