Dr. Robert G. Silverman is one of the nation’s foremost chiropractic healers. He was named the American Chiropractic Association’s 2015 Sports Chiropractor of the Year. Dr. Silverman specializes in natural pain relief, sports performance, and nutrition. He is a nationally and internationally known speaker and has his own TV show. Dr. Silverman graduated magna cum laude from the University of Bridgeport, College of Chiropractic. He is in private practice in White Plains, N.Y. Visit his website HERE.
Independent Healing: For decades, the first-line treatment for pain has been to pop a pill. What’s wrong with that strategy?
Dr. Silverman: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often the first-line treatment and frequently prescribed for musculoskeletal injuries. It is estimated that over 30 million people in America take some form of NSAID on a daily basis for a variety of conditions ranging from headaches to low back pain. NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin.
It is well-documented that all forms of NSAIDs are associated with adverse gastrointestinal (GI), renal, and cardiovascular effects. The long-term effects have to be considered as well when taking NSAIDs frequently. Some of the more profound side effects include the inability to allow joint cartilage synthesis, slow muscle recovery, and preventing fractures from healing.
Thus, the answer is obvious: NSAIDs decrease pain but impair healing. Natural approaches also decrease pain but promote healing.
IH: You have a natural approach to pain relief called Active Release Technique (ART). What sorts of pain does it effectively treat?
Dr. Silverman: Active Release Technique (ART) effectively treats acute, chronic, and nerve pain. It is a highly successful approach to the treatment of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and fascia, known as soft tissue. It is a non-invasive, hands-on therapy performed by skilled licensed healthcare providers.
IH: What does the treatment entail? Is it a type of massage?
Dr. Silverman: ART providers utilize highly developed skills and anatomical knowledge, in conjunction with symptom patterns and functional testing, to locate scar tissue on and in between muscles and nerves.
A precise hand or thumb contact is applied to the problem area and the patient is directed to move the region of the body through a specific range of motion. Through the combination of tension to the tissue from the provider, and motion by the patient, the tissues will slide under the provider’s contact. This process has been proven to rapidly break up scar tissue and yield recovery of many types of soft tissue conditions.
ART is a patented, state-of-the-art soft tissue system/movement-based massage technique.
IH: How long do sessions last and how many treatments are needed for relief?
Dr. Silverman: Most sessions take 15 to 20 minutes. Although each case is unique and there are several factors that will determine the precise length of time required to fully resolve each condition, we usually find a significant improvement can be gained in just four to six treatments.
IH: What is the “kinetic chain”?
Dr. Silverman: The kinetic chain is a concept that joints and muscles have an intertwining effect on one another. It stresses that the whole body is interconnected. ART allows practitioners to further assess and correct problems not only at the site of pain itself, but also in other areas of the kinetic chain.
These areas associated with movement compensations are often contributing factors to the problem. This ensures that all the soft tissues that have become dysfunctional and are contributing to the specific injury are addressed, even if they have not yet developed pain.
IH: Many professional athletes are now using ART. Can you tell us how the treatments help them perform?
Dr. Silverman: Professional sports organizations that utilize ART include the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, Olympians, IronMan competitors, figure skaters, NASCAR drivers, LPGA, and professional bodybuilders.
There is ample evidence to show that ART promotes faster recovery, restoration of normal tissue function, and prevents injury.
IH: During ART treatments, does the patient feel pain?
Dr. Silverman: ART addresses the sites of adhesion in order to break up the scar tissue creating the pain and dysfunction. Since these sites are very sensitive to begin with, ART may create some discomfort described by many patients as a “good hurt.” However, pressure is never applied beyond the patient’s tolerance.
Every patient responds differently to ART. Some heal faster, while some are “more sore” after treatments. Some can handle intense treatments on multiple body parts in one session, while some can only handle treatment on one issue at a time.
IH: How much does treatment cost? Does insurance cover it?
Dr. Silverman: Cost of treatment varies according to location. In New York, treatments may range from $75-$100 per session. Different insurance companies offer different coverage, so it’s best to check with your provider.
IH: What kinds of results have you seen in patients? Are people able to become more active after treatment?
Dr. Silverman: Performance of any task such as golfing, running, walking, or typing can be improved significantly with ART by restoring proper muscle function and movement to allow the body to perform at its most efficient level. Adhesions create drag and tension, which requires more energy and effort to accomplish a desired movement. Performance reaction times can also be improved as muscle function is improved.
IH: Are patients able to reduce or eliminate painkilling drugs after ART treatments?
Dr. Silverman: Patients typically feel a significant decrease in pain and increased range of motion after ART treatments. Therefore, they are able to decrease and/ or eliminate the need for NSAIDs. (Always check with your doctor before stopping any prescription medications).
IH: To find a board-certified ART practitioner in your area, go to the ART website here.