Graston and IASTM Therapy to Improve Health and Performance
The Graston Technique is a form of hands-on therapy known as soft-tissue instrument-assisted mobilization. (IASTM) There are many different approaches to IASTM, in this article we are going to go over what to expect at Rising Sun Chiropractic when you receive Graston or IASTM therapy.
Dr. Nelson uses specific stainless steel tools to help identify and treat areas of limited range of motion and scar tissue.
Graston Technique & IASTM Goals
The general goals of the therapy are to reduce your pain and increase function through a combination of:
- Breaking down the scar tissue and fascia restrictions that are usually associated with some form of trauma to the soft tissue (e.g., a strained muscle or a pulled ligament, tendon, or fascia).
- Reducing restrictions by stretching connective tissue in an attempt to rearrange the structure of the soft tissue being treated (e.g., muscle, fascia, tendons, ligaments).
- Promoting a better healing environment for the injured soft tissue.
- Trigger the recruitment of specific repair cells in the body, fibroblasts, to come to the area treated and focus on repairing the tissue.
What are the Benefits of Graston at Rising Sun Chiropractic
In our daily lives, we rely on our bodies being able to move in expected and pain-free ways. This movement requires free moving joints, healthy strong muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Injuries to these soft tissues play a significant role in the pain and dysfunction associated with back, shoulder, hip, knee, and really any joint of the body. While it may not sound like a serious injury, a simple back muscle strain or strained ligament in the back can cause excruciating pain and difficulty with movement. Tendon injuries in the elbow are associated with golfers and tennis elbow. Fascia injuries in the foot lead to plantar fasciitis, the list goes on.
The Graston Technique and IASTM offer several potential advantages to you in your recovery. With most soft tissue and joint injuries these techniques can:
- Fostering faster rehabilitation/recovery
- Decreasing overall treatment time
- Reducing the need for anti-inflammatory medication
- Resolving chronic conditions thought to be permanent
The treatment may be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments. Typically at Rising Sun Chiropractic these therapies are used as part of your treatment plan with the goal of getting you out of pain quickly.
The typical course of treatment for lower back pain generally ranges from 1 to 10 visits over the course of several weeks. No medications are required in conjunction with this manual therapy.
What Should You Expect at Rising Sun Chiropractic with Graston and IASTM
During Graston Treatment
- The practitioner will utilize the appropriate Graston Technique and IASTM instruments to scan, then treat, the affected area.
- Treatment generally consists of the clinician rubbing the affected area(s) with the handheld stainless steel Graston Technique instruments, using very specific, calculated movement techniques.
- Typically the injured area is in motion during the therapy.
- Treatment time is usually 30 to 60 seconds per area treated.
- It is common for patients to experience some discomfort during the procedure.
Dr. Nelson and the team at Rising Sun Chiropractic will walk you through what happens during and aftercare. You may be sore, bruised or exhibit small red dots over the area treated, called petechiae. Ice and heat can be used but we typically try and hold off from those therapies due to the effect on recovery of the tissue. We often pair motion and exercise with the therapy to help you recover more quickly and stimulate your body to repair the treated tissues.
Dr. Nelson routinely hears from patients that they experience an increased range of motion and reduced pain after the first treatment.
Graston Therapy and IASTM are generally designed to treat soft tissue-related conditions, for example:
- Lower back muscle strain or sprain
- Achilles tendinosis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cervical sprain/strain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Rotator cuff tendinosis
- Shin splints
- Tennis/golfer’s elbow
Graston Technique Indications
When an injury within the soft tissue occurs, the tissue repairs itself in a haphazard pattern, forming scar tissue. Think about cooked spaghetti noodles in a bowl or a tangle in fishing line. While the scar tissue itself is not painful, it does tend to limit the range of motion, and the ongoing stiffness may contribute to chronic pain. The therapy helps our bodies re-arrange that injury into more of a normal crosshatch pattern.
Graston and IASTM Technique Contraindications
Not all candidates with pain from soft-tissue injury are candidates for the Graston or IASTM Technique. In general, it should not be used with any condition contraindicated for soft-tissue mobilization.
In addition, patients with any of the following conditions are not good candidates for the treatment:
- Open wounds around the area to be treated
- High blood pressure
- Cancer (depending on the type and location)
- Pregnancy – at a minimum, pregnant women should avoid having the therapy done over the spine, pelvis, abdomen, or along certain acupuncture points
- Unhealed, complicated fractures.Certain types of kidney disorders
- Taking blood thinners
For a full list of both absolute and relative contraindications to the use of this therapy, patients should consult a clinician trained in the Graston Technique.