You may have heard about the Graston Technique® being used as a method of treatment for soft tissue injuries. A soft tissue injury (STI) is the damage of muscles, ligaments, or tendons anywhere in the body. Common STIs usually occur from a sprain, strain, overuse, or a blow resulting in a bruise.

These injures can be painful and develop scar tissue around them. Scar tissue limits range of motion, and in many instances causes pain, which prevents the patient from functioning as he or she did before the injury.

In order to treat these types of injuries, it is important to help break down the scar tissue so the muscles, ligaments, or tendons can heal properly, thereby restoring the patients’ range of motion and relieving pain. The Graston Technique® is a form of manual therapy known as soft-tissue instrument-assisted mobilization. It is one of a number of manual therapy approaches that uses instruments with a specialized form of massage/scraping the skin gently.

The Technique:

  • Separates and breaks down collagen cross-links (scar tissue), and splays and stretches connective tissue and muscle fibers
  • Increases skin temperature to aid in relaxation and healing
  • 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

Patients will start with a light warm up activity, then Graston Technique® treatment, followed by stretching, strengthening, and ice. The procedure is repeated two times per week over 4-5 weeks. Most patients have a positive response by the 3rd to 4th treatment, are not disabled during their treatment, and can continue their normal activities.

When used properly, this technique helps bring about a natural healing response in the body as the scar tissue is broken down, thus allowing patients to regain strength and mobility. It is equally effective in restoring function to acute and chronic injuries, and pre- and postsurgical patients. If you would like more information on the Graston Technique®, or for a free consultation to see if you could benefit from the treatment, please call Dr. Hirst at 480-899-9923.