Following a soft tissue injury, whether this be from cummulative trauma such as working at a computer or from an acute tear such as a hamstring strain, bleeding and subsequent scarring occurs leading to adaptive shortening of the soft tissue structure, reduced range of motion, dysfunction and possibly pain or stiffness.
Graston Technique Instrument-assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (GISTM) is an advanced form of soft tissue mobilization that is used to detect and release scar tissue, adhesions and fascial restrictions.
This patented form of soft tissue mobilisation utilises six stainless steel instruments to glide along a patient’s muscles, tendons and/or ligaments. When these areas of adhesions are encountered, the Graston tools can be used to break down this scarring.
The Graston tools can also be used to separate larger muscles which are bound together through scar tissue formation. An example of this is between the Serratus Anterior which is located on the back of the ribs and the Subscapularis which is located on the front of the shoulder blade. These soft tissue restrictions can result in dysfunction in the motion of the shoulder blade on the thorax which can contribute to shoulder injuries such as an Impingement Syndrome
So how does Graston technique work?
- Separates and breaks down collagen cross-links, and splays and stretches connective tissue and muscle fibers
- Increases skin temperature
- Facilitates reflex changes in the chronic muscle holding pattern
- Alters spinal reflux activity (facilitated segment)
- Increases the rate and amount of blood flow to and from the area
- Increases cellular activity in the region, including fibroblasts and mast cells
- Increases histamine response secondary to mast cell activity
It is common to experience minor discomfort during the procedure and some bruising afterwards. This is a normal response and part of the healing process.
Is Graston technique used alone?
No. Whether the injury is work or non-work related, the Graston Technique® protocol is the same. Our protocol includes a brief warm-up exercise, Graston Technique® treatment, followed by stretching, strengthening and ice.
what is the frquency of treatment ?
Patients usually receive two treatments per week over 4-5 weeks. Most patients have a positive response by the 3rd to 4th treatment.
Can anyone obtain the instruments?
Only clinicians who have been trained and accredited in the Graston Technique® Basic course are qualified to obtain the Graston Technique® instruments and apply the technique to treat patients. The course is offered either on-site or at trainings offered throughout the year at a variety of locations.
The concept of cross fiber massage is not new. Graston Technique® is grounded in the works of Dr. James Cyriax, an English orthopedic surgeon. The use of our specially designed instruments and protocol is new.
Graston Technique® has become standard protocol in universities and hospital-based outpatient facilities as well as industrial on-site treatment settings such as Indiana University and the University of Michigan. The technique is also being used at industrial settings and by NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball trainers.