Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a non-invasive technique to mobilize soft tissue myofascial restrictions using specifically designed instruments. IASTM is also used to decrease pain, improve ROM, proliferate collagen formation and connective tissue remodeling and even improve muscle function. By using these specially designed instruments, with a beveled edge, it gives the clinician a mechanical advantage for deeper penetration and more effective treatments. IASTM treatments can be beneficial in treating many different orthopedic impairments such as increasing muscle flexibility and joint mobility, Tendonitis and Tendonosis, Plantar fasciitis, and scar tissue formation. It can also be combined with exercise to increase muscle activity.
There are many different IASTM instruments and companies that each have their own set of instruments and protocols for treatment. The Graston Technique® protocol has specific components for evaluation, IASTM treatment, stretching, exercise and then reassessment. At Block Sports Chiropractic and Physical Therapy, we use a combination of the IASTM and corrective exercises to get the best result. This protocol is used by our chiropractors and physical therapists and can be adapted for many different diagnoses and allows for adaptation for different parts of the body. Graston Technique® must be accompanied by a stretching and strengthening program of the targeted tissues to promote proper fiber alignment. A study in 2017 in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, (by Weighing et al), showed that Graston Technique® alters neural activities of mechanoreceptors, demonstrating that Graston Technique® produces more than just mechanical effects in tissue.
Graston Technique® has many clinical applications such as tendonitis and tendonosis. It can be used to mobilize the scar tissue to improve its mobility and loosening it from the surrounding healthy tissue. It is theorized that it can also initiate the natural inflammatory response of the body which starts the healing process again by increasing the blood, nutrients, and fibroblasts to the region, which results in the formation of new collagen and healing. In muscle injuries, Graston Technique® can be used as a deep massage to break up adhesions between muscles and increased fascial mobility. Graston Technique® can also be used in ligament injuries to stimulate fibroblast activity which will help to repair damaged ligaments and remodel the tissue into a functional formation. Since scar tissue has pain receptors, that can be a source of pain, particularly when the scar becomes dense and hinders normal motion of a muscle, tendon or fascia. The scar can get pulled on during normal activity and will alter movement, muscle function and elicit pain which could result in the formation of more scar tissue. Graston Technique® is very effective in breaking down scar tissue and remodeling the underlying tissue into a more functional formation which will result in improved range of motion, muscle function and decreased pain. Our providers at Block Sports Chiropractic and Physical Therapy are trained in using this technique over your delicate scar tissue.
There are six different stainless steel Graston instruments that are all shaped differently for individual use and with specific strokes to maximize effectiveness. Patients usually receive two treatments per week during a five to a six-week period but it can last longer than that if needed. These instruments are only sold to Graston providers that have taken the instructional course and passed a practical and written exam. Dr Ronald Masone has taken all of the Graston courses and is a Graston Certified Physical Therapist. He has been performing this technique for several years now with excellent results. To find a Graston provider in your area or for more information on Graston Technique® you can visit www.grastontechnique.com.
The great thing about the Graston Technique®, is it can be used in several different ways. It can be performed with the muscle at rest, during non-weight bearing activities and even during weight-bearing activities. It can be used over large muscles, and also small sensitive regions surrounding the neck area and scar incisions. No matter the region, chances are one of these tools can be used to help provide relief. Some benefits besides the aforementioned scientific and biochemical changes are the safety use for therapists (saves our hands and thumbs), the training required to get certified and the global use of the tools. It prevents injury on the clinician but also requires a great deal of education and learning to get certified, which allows us to learn more and become better practitioners.
It is important to note that during the application of IASTM, the patient may have slight bruising and/or red spots called petechiae. This is a relatively normal response, meaning there was a significant build-up of the underlying tissues. Often times, the patient can be initially sore afterward as well but this should not cause severe pain during or after treatment. It is important to tell your provider if uncommon reactions occur. Otherwise, Graston Technique® and other forms of IASTM are very safe to use and are very powerful in treating various injuries and dysfunctions. Both our chiropractors and physical therapists in our Selden and Smithtown, NY locations are trained in IASTM, and Ron Masone is a certified provider. Please come visit us at Block Sports Chiropractic and Physical Therapy to see how Graston Technique or IASTM may benefit you or someone you know.