Graston & Instrumented Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)
What Is a Soft-Tissue Injury?
A soft-tissue injury involves damage to the muscles, ligaments, tendons and/or myofascia. Sprains and strains are the most common soft-tissue injuries and are the result of either a trauma, such as falling or twisting an ankle, or repetitive use, such as a person who plays tennis five times a week and develops pain in his/her shoulder or elbow. It’s either misuse (i.e., the wrong muscles are used to complete an action) or over-use (i.e., using a muscle too often without proper recovery time).
What Is IASTM?
Though doctors of chiropractic have always used their hands to increase blood flow and break up restrictions in injured soft tissue, fingers alone can’t detect restrictions at deeper levels or treat the full range of restrictions. Because of this, several companies have now developed handheld tools to perform instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization.
Graston is the leading technique when it comes to IASTM. It is an innovative, patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions. The technique utilizes specially designed stainless steel instruments to specifically detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation.
IASTM has two main functions: to break up abnormal densities in tissue, such as scar tissue, and to reinitiate first-stage healing in the body. When a body is injured, it sends blood, specifically the healing substances found in white blood cells, to the wounded area to begin laying down new collagen tissues and repairing the injury—building scar tissue. IASTM is like a mild injury to the tissue which starts this process over again and helps the body to heal itself. Though scar tissue is essentially a “patch” at the site of an injury, helping it to heal, it is much less flexible than normal tissue. In the long run, scar tissue can cause restricted motion, which leads to pain.
Some of the common conditions treated with IASTM:
- Sports Injuries
- Neck & Back Pain
- Chronic Soft Tissue Scarring & Adhesions
- Post Surgical Fibrosis
- Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow
- Plantar Fasciosis
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome
- Repetitive Strain Disorders