Since Dr. Gardner often uses the Graston Technique with patients, I thought that I would expand on the topic and provide more information on Graston, how it helps recovery, and what to expect with the treatment.
What is the Graston Technique?
The Graston Technique is a scientifically advanced from of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that uses specially contoured stainless steel instruments to examine and treat soft tissue injuries. The Graston instruments mobilize, release and lengthen soft tissues that are tight, shortened or restricted, with the end goal being restoration of normal movement and postural alignment. The technique was developed in the early 1990’s and has grown to become popular with chiropractors, physical and occupational therapists and athletic trainers. The Graston approach is used for acute and chronic sprains, repetitive strain injuries and for scars. Injuries such as achilles tendinosis, plantar fasciitis back and neck pain and carpal tunnel syndrome are often treated via application of the Graston Technique. There are six patented Graston instruments that have unique features and contours that are designed to treat different muscles and joints of the body.
How Does it Help?
The goal of the Graston Technique is to reduce pain levels and increase function of an injured area. Graston treatment involves manipulating the soft tissue with a cross-friction massage with the Graston instrument. The tool is rubbed against the grain of the scar-tissue that has built up due to injury, introducing small amounts of micro-trauma that can sometimes result in inflammation. While it may seem that the Graston Technique causes additional injury, it is theorized that the treatment actually promotes healing to the area through the new micro-trauma. After Graston is applied, the healing process of the body is stimulated, initiating an increase the rate and amount of blood flow, bringing additional oxygen, nutrients and cells that promote healing.
What to Expect With Graston Treatment
The Graston Technique may cause some discomfort in some patients, depending on their injury and pain tolerance. The cross-friction massage can cause inflammation in the area that is treated and may result in bruising, which is a normal occurrence. The injured area can also be sore after treatment, though the application of ice for 15-20 minutes may ease any potential discomfort. While Graston may cause some temporary discomfort, it has the potential to decrease overall treatment time, result in faster rehabilitation and recovery and reduce the need for anti-inflammatory medicine such as Advil or Aleve.
Hyde, T. (2007). Conservative management of sports injuries (2nd ed., pp. 300-310). Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett.
St. Lawrence University '15
Mirror Lake Chiropractic Intern