by Julie Grabandt, MPT, OCS, ATC
Therapists use many different forms of treatment to assist with healing and pain control. Instrument assisted soft tissue massage (IASTM) has been very successful in helping patients decrease pain and improve movement. IASTM is the use of instruments to assist with mobilizing and decreasing tension within muscles, tendons, and other tissue throughout the body. There are several types of instruments and techniques that can be used. Graston Technique is one of these.
When performing Graston Technique, health care professions will use six different stainless steel instruments. Each instrument is patented and is a different shape with convex and concave surfaces to allow the therapist using the instrument to feel abnormal tissue that can be treated. The technique has been proven to decrease recovery time for various injuries when used in conjunction with proper strengthening and stretching.
Graston Technique, a form of IASTM, has been effective in treating people with lateral epicondylosis, achilles tendinosis, plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, headaches, and various other injuries. It has also been used to assist with scar management following surgery. Despite some discomfort immediately after a Graston treatment session, patients report rapid improvement in symptoms. Instruments assist the therapist with providing treatment to specific areas for shorter periods of time compared to other forms of treatment.
IASTM is used to re-create the inflammatory process to promote proper healing of tissue that has experienced trauma. The instruments assist with providing pressure to stimulate tissue healing and the proper alignment of healing tissue. Improving alignment of tissue produces stronger and healthier healing tissue. This leads to decreased pain and improvement in function.
Treatment sessions are typically less than 15 minutes. Additional stretching and strengthening exercises assist in decreasing symptoms and other long-term changes. Patients may experience redness or localized soreness that will typically resolve within a 24-hour period. Patients also often benefit from the use of ice and increased water intake to assist with flushing of the toxins released following IASTM. In some instances, one may have minimal bruising that will also clear over a brief period.
The therapists at Southwest Health are all fully trained in Graston Technique and use it frequently in their treatment sessions with patients to help decrease pain and return patients to a better quality of life. If you have any further questions regarding the use of Graston Technique, contact the therapists at Southwest Health. They are always eager to help!