The Graston technique is an innovative approach to pain relief.
Strains, sprains, and pulled muscles can occur without warning. Even a seemingly small problem with soft or connective tissues can lead to intense pain and a decrease in an individual’s range of motion.
- The Graston Technique is showing great promise in helping patients to recover more quickly from soft tissue injuries and myofascial pain.
- With the use of specially designed instruments, therapists provide a more intense type of massage and soft tissue manipulation that can go well beyond surface issues to address deeper problems.
What is the Graston Technique?
This procedure is commonly referred to as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, or IASTM. Like other forms of manual therapy, soft tissue is massaged and manipulated to achieve the desired results with the use of stainless steel instruments rather than the therapist’s hands. Providers such as athletic trainers, physical therapists, osteopathic physicians, and chiropractors often use the Graston Technique to help address acute and chronic pain issues for patients.
When is the Graston Technique Recommended?
As with any other type of soft tissue therapy, the Graston Technique is designed to manipulate muscle and connective tissue to provide pain relief and to increase the range of motion of the affected areas. One of the unique aspects of this treatment is that the therapist can feel for tense or tight muscle and areas of scar tissue with the specialized tools to provide precision treatment for enhanced results. By rearranging the soft tissue, muscles, tendons, and ligaments can be stretched to reduce tension. The tools are even effective at breaking up areas of scar tissue that may cause pain or limit movement in a patient.
There are many reasons why a therapist may recommend this form of treatment for a patient. Even patients who are hypersensitive when it comes to manual therapy can benefit from this treatment. Practitioners find that there can be many advantages for patients when using the Graston Technique, such as:
- Better recovery times
- Fewer appointments required for treatment
- Reduced need for anti-inflammatory medications
- Increased recovery from potentially chronic conditions
- Faster relief in as little as one session
Like many other types of treatment, there are possible risks that are associated with the Graston Technique. Because the therapist introduces micro trauma to the affected area, bruising may occur. This is especially true following the first treatment. Additionally, red dots, referred to as petechiae, or red streaks may be visible on the skin. This is no cause for alarm and should resolve itself within a few days. Patients may apply ice or cold packs to the affected area for about 20 minutes to reduce pain and inflammation.
It is found that this type of therapy works better when it is combined with an exercise plan that includes muscle strengthening, aerobic work, and stretching. This helps the injured tissues to heal faster than through the use of the therapy on its own.