When working with damaged soft tissue and related chronic injuries, Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) offers the opportunity to detect restrictions deep in the tissue and treat large and small injury areas. One of the most common and well-established IASTM methods is the Graston Technique® (GT). This patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function. Further information about this form of treatment is outlined in this article. Dr. Craig, Dr. Xavier, and Dr. George have all earned advanced certification in GT Training.

Soft-tissue injuries are common, whether from trauma or repetitive use. These injuries involve damage to ligaments, tendons, muscles, and myofascia. Doctors of chiropractic have long used their hands and fingers to break up adhesions and restrictions, and to promote bloodflow. The additional benefit of using specially-designed instruments increases the positive effects of care to soft tissue damage. At Fairwood, our chiropractors use this non-invasive treatment to correct issues related to soft tissue pain.

Dr. Craig employs the Graston Technique, a manual modality that releases scarred or trapped muscles and connective tissues, as a treatment for many of his patients. “This technique fits in well with our non-invasive, conservative treatment philosophy, significantly reduces pain and restores freedom of motion,” Dr. Craig states. “We use it in many sports related injuries as well.”

Normally, the creation of scar tissue at an injury site is a beneficial development where the body attempts to isolate and arrest the motion of damaged muscles so proper rebuilding can take place.

“Unfortunately, scarring can get out of control, causing lumps of scar tissue to overgrow and trap muscle fibers and connective tissues, essentially gluing them together to form what we call adhesions,” Dr. Craig explains. These adhesions can severely limit muscle contraction and motion in the affected area, making even simple movements painful or even impossible.” Dr. Craig adds that adhesions can also prevent tissues from completing the healing process, meaning that an injured body part cannot fully recover.

In addition to Graston and other instrument-assisted treatments, the role of exercise and movement is very important. By warming the area and using instruments to smooth out scar tissue and adhesions, it frees the body to begin the first-stage healing process. Light exercise and specific stretching keeps the necessary circulation and range of motion from becoming restricted once again.

Graston Technique® has become standard protocol in universities, hospital-based outpatient facilities, and industrial on-site treatment settings such as Indiana University and the University of Michigan. Trainers for the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball also use this technique. The benefits of instrument-assisted treatments, especially Graston, are many. For further information, read more here.

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