A New Form of Therapy

The foundation of our approach is a comprehensive, integrated physical therapy method that combines the innovative Dermal-Fascial Restoration® (DFR®) with traditional therapy methods (e.g., conventional medical treatments, manual physical therapy, exercise and massage) to dramatically improve the rate and magnitude of recovery from a variety of injuries.

Living with Pain

During his first 10 years in practice, Dr. Mettler often saw new patients who were struggling with pain long after they had finished physical therapy or other medical treatments with previous therapists. At this point, Dr. Mettler began exploring ways in which physical therapy could transform the lives of his patients.

Development of Dermal-Fascial Restoration (DFR)

In the course of his work, Dr. Mettler identified a method to rapidly identify and undo the damage caused by the inflammatory process that accompanies injury. He developed Dermal-Fascial Restoration (DFR), a highly-skilled, manual physical therapy method that restructures (or releases) the adhesive scar tissue, without causing further injury.

Adhesive scar tissue formation is, in most cases, a major contributor of ongoing pain in the musculoskeletal system. Whether inflammation occurs from minor injury such as a mild muscle strain, or as a result of major surgery or trauma, the body develops scar tissue in an effort to heal. According to many experts, scar tissue can act like glue, causing independent tissues to adhere together. Movement that stretches or compresses those tissues causes pain.

Better Outcomes for Patients

Once the adhesive scar tissue has been treated, pain is often reduced or eliminated, and movement is usually restored. Consequently, normal strength can then be rebuilt. Perhaps the most significant benefits to this form of treatment are the objective, immediate and long-lasting results.

DFR has been successfully used on more than 7,500 patients in the past 20 years. Average outcome scores for patients discharged from physical therapy at the Mettler Center in Champaign, IL are over 40% higher than published outcome studies of standard physical therapy.[2]

While the DFR can produce remarkable results, it is only one form of physical therapy used by Dr. Mettler and his associates. In fact, the combination of this technique with traditional therapy techniques (e.g., conventional medical treatments, manual physical therapy, exercise and massage) dramatically improves the rate and magnitude of recovery, and constitutes the complete approach used in Dermal-Fascial Restoration.

With more than 20 years of proven research and practice, the Mettler Method promises to be one of the most fundamental advancements in the rehabilitative field since the origin of physical therapy.

3 Ways Adhesions Affect Health

Scar tissue impacts healthy musculoskeletal function through three basic processes.

  1. Adhesions reduce circulation, which dramatically impairs the tissue’s ability to repair itself.
  2. Adhesions interfere with proper muscle and tendon function which may result in reduced strength and increased stiffness.
  3. Adhesions may prevent nerves from gliding within the neural channel

All three processes also promote pain.

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[2] Based on a randomized sample of new Mettler patients treated from 2009–2012 using the Oswestry, DASH, NDI and LEFS self-report outcomes scoring systems with a comparison to the following studies:

Low Back (Oswestry)

  1. Nunn N. Practical challenges and limitations using the Oswestry Disability Low Back Pain Questionnaire in a private practice setting in New Zealand. A clinical audit. New Zealand J of Physiother. 2012;40(1):24-28.
  2. Unsgaard-Tøndel M, Fladmark A, Salvesen &, Vasseljen O. Motor control exercises, sling exercises, and general exercises for patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial with 1-year follow-up. Phys Ther. 2010;90(10):1426-1440.
  3. Unlu Z, Tasci S, Tarhan S, Pabuscu Y, Islak S. Comparison of 3 physical therapy modalities for acute pain in lumbar disc herniation measured by clinical evaluation and magnetic resonance imaging. J Of Manip & Phys Therapeutics. 2008;31(3):191-198.

Upper Extremity/Shoulder (DASH)

  1. Camargo P, Haik M, Ludewig P, Filho R, Mattiello-Rosa S, Salvini T. Effects of strengthening and stretching exercises applied during working hours on pain and physical impairment in workers with subacromial impingement syndrome. Physiotherapy Theory & Practice. 2009;25(7):463-475.
  2. Badke M, Wooden M, Fly K, Boissonault W, Ekedahl S. Patient Outcome Following Rehabilitation for Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery: The Impact of Selected Medical Comorbidities. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2007;37(6):312-319.
  3. Brennan G, Parent E, Cleland J. Description of Clinical Outcomes and Postoperative Utilization of Physical Therapy Services Within 4 Categories of Shoulder Surgery. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010;40(1):20-29.

Cervical/Neck (NDI)

  1. Fritz J, Brennan G. Preliminary examination of a proposed treatment-based classification system for patients receiving physical therapy interventions for neck pain. Physical Therapy. 2007;87(5):513-524.
  2. Dunning J, Cleland J, Waldrop M, Arnot C, Young I, Turner M, Sigurdsson G. Upper Cervical and Upper Thoracic Thrust Manipulation Versus Nonthrust Mobilization in Patients With Mechanical Neck Pain: A Multicenter Randomized Clinical Trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2012;42(1):5-18.
  3. Young I, Michener L, Cleland J, Aguilera A, Snyder A. Manual therapy, exercise, and traction for patients with cervical radiculopathy: a randomized clinical trial. Phys Ther. 2009;89(7):632-642.
  4. Ask T, Strand L, Skouen J. The effect of two exercise regimes; motor control versus endurance/strength training for patients with whiplash-associated disorders: a randomized controlled pilot study. Clin Rehab. 2009;23(9):812-823.

Hip, leg, knee, foot and ankle (LEFS)

  1. Abbott J, Kidd M, Stockwell S, Cheney S, Gerrad D, Flynn T, Cleland J. Manual Physical Therapy and Exercise Versus Electrophysical Agents and Exercise in the Management of Plantar Heel Pain: A Multicenter Randomized Clinical Trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2009;39(8):573-585.