What is Graston Technique?
Graston technique is a modern and innovative physical therapy technique that uses stainless steel instruments varying in size according to their intended purpose. It is a form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) that enables experts in the detection of damaged tissue in an injured area of a patient’s body. Physiotherapists use the Graston technique to break down scar tissue and boost soft tissue healing.
It was formerly developed for athletes but is widely used as mainstream physiotherapy practice to relieve pain and aid soft tissue healing. The mechanism involves stainless steel instruments being pressed against the affected area and gliding it over back and forth or in circular motions on injured muscles. The friction between the instruments and skin mobilizes scar tissue and releases tension, toxins, and fluids causing pain. Graston technique helps in increasing range of motion and facilitates an easy movement of restricted joints and muscles.
Mechanism And Conditions Targeted By Graston
Graston technique is a form of physical therapy used to treat various injuries. An injury consists of damaged soft tissue in the muscles and ligaments caused due to a sudden impact. This results in the tearing of soft tissues that accumulate on the surface of the skin after healing causing excessive levels of scar tissues.
During the treatment session, specialized instruments are used to diagnose and detect the intensity and location of tissue damage and treat the damaged tissue. Graston Technique can be used in different areas of the body such as the neck, back, spine, shoulder, elbow, knee, or ankle. It can also be used to relieve pain caused by a sprain, strains, and dislocations.
The main goals of the Graston technique are to reduce edema, pain, restore functionality and increase mobility. Chronic injuries or pain can be managed through the Graston technique as well. The technique is versatile in nature making it an effective treatment when treating more than one injury at the same time.
The tools used in the Graston technique are stainless steel instruments that vary in shape – convex and concave depending on their intended purpose. There are 6 core tools that are used to diagnose and locate the injured fibrotic tissue.
Benefits Of Graston Technique
The Graston Technique benefits a variety of patients with different types of injuries helping decrease the overall treatment time. It reduces the need for anti-inflammatory medication. It helps resolve chronic conditions and aids in pain management.
The instrument-assisted physical therapy induces a neurophysiological effect that regulates pain perception. It breaks knotted soft tissues in the damaged muscles increasing blood flow and circulation to the area. The Graston Technique is used to treat and diagnose skeletal muscles and connective tissue disorders. With the help of gentle scraping using 6 instruments, physiotherapists scan and detect areas of injured fibrotic tissue.
The technique helps chiropractors break up scar tissue by gliding the round-edged instruments back and forth or in a circular motion to increase skin temperature, separate and break down collagen cross-links, alter spinal reflux activity, and increase the rate and amount of blood flow to the affected area promoting cellular regeneration.
Graston technique is a safe, natural, and noninvasive procedure that helps aid faster rehabilitation after an injury and reduces the recovery time. The increased blood circulation caters to the soft tissue healing in tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Many conditions take up to 8 to 10 treatments for maximized benefits as breaking the scar tissue is a slow process.
Soft tissue injuries induce excruciating pain and restrict muscle and joint movement. If left untreated for a long time, they might result in permanent damage hampering the body’s full range of motion. The Graston technique helps boost the soft tissue healing process by breaking scar tissue through increased blood flow and circulation to the affected area.
What Are The Side Effects Of Treatment?
The after-effects of the Graston technique may include mild inflammation and localized swelling that might result in soreness to touch with mild bruising. The side effects generally resolve in a couple of days and can be treated with heat and ice packs.
Soreness with mild discomfort and redness may appear over the treated area which is nothing out of the ordinary. In case of uneasiness, ice packs can be applied over the affected area for 15-20 minutes to numb the pain and reduce swelling. Graston technique is followed by a combination of exercises, stretching, and strengthening exercises to rehabilitate the restricted muscles and joints and boosted tissue healing.
Patients who suffer from open wounds, high blood pressure, cancer, fractures, kidney disorders and those taking blood thinners should avoid Graston therapy. Pregnant women should be wary of the therapy and avoid having it done over the spine or pelvic region.