If you have sustained an injury to or are experiencing pain in your soft tissue, you will likely be looking for a treatment that can help relieve your pain and boost your healing. A physical therapist uses many modalities to assist you in rehabilitation. Spending on your soft tissue pain, your physical therapist may use the Graston Technique®.
What is the Graston Technique?
The Graston Technique was created from necessity. An amateur athlete, David Graston sustained a debilitating knee injury from water skiing. After surgery, he became frustrated with the lack of progress in his rehabilitation. He took matters into his own hands and created several instruments he hoped would help his soft tissue injury.
His personal success led to medical trials with Ball Memorial Hospital and Ball State University. Through this, the Graston Technique was born. The first certified clinic opened in 1994.
This therapy technique is an evidence-based instrument-assisted form of manual therapy.
Certified practitioners use stainless steel tools specially designed to locate knots in the soft tissue. These knots, or trigger points, can be caused by muscle tension or scar tissue. Once these knots are located, your physical therapist can also use the specialized tools to help break up and release the knots. This can help to reduce the pain you’re experiencing and help to improve your functioning and range of motion in the affected area. It can also help improve your rehabilitation time for recovery.
How does the Graston Technique work?
The Graston Technique uses six different tools. These tools are stainless steel, have rounded edges, and are concave or convex in shape. A certified practitioner brushes and rubs the tools against the grain of the scar tissue. This can cause temporary inflammation but can also increase blood flow to the area being treated. Due to the pressure being applied by the instruments, some discomfort may be experienced. Some bruising or soreness may also be experienced after the treatment session.
This specific technique can be used in combination with other physical therapy modalities.
Who can perform the Graston Technique?
The Graston Technique should only be performed by certified practitioners. Practitioners go through a series of training to become certified. It begins with essential training, learning the instruments used and how to apply the techniques. Training then moves to learning how to incorporate this therapy treatment with other therapeutic modalities. Once certified, continuing education is encouraged to build on the knowledge gained during training.
Graston Technique training is multidisciplinary and commonly pursued by:
- Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.
- Athletic trainers.
- Medical physicians.
- Occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants.
What conditions can be treated with the Graston Technique?
The Graston Technique can help treat soft tissue acute or chronic conditions such as:
- Post-surgical scar tissue (once healed).
- Rotator cuff tendinitis.
- Knee pain.
- Tennis or golfer’s elbow.
- Neck pain.
- Back pain.
- Plantar fasciitis.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Achilles tendinitis.
- Women’s health (C-section scarring or post-mastectomy).
- IT band issues.
- Hamstring injuries.
- Trigger finger.
What benefits can the Graston Technique provide?
The Graston Technique is an evidence-based manual therapy. When used by a certified practitioner, it has shown up to 90% improvement, helping both with acute and chronic injuries and helping to improve and maintain range of motion.
Benefits of the Graston Technique can include:
- Quicker recovery time — This therapy treatment can help decrease your recovery time. Breaking up scar tissue or tension knots in your soft tissue can help promote blood flow. Improved blood flow can help promote quicker healing.
- Pain relief — The instruments of this specific therapy treatment break up scar tissue or knots in the soft tissue, which can reduce pain and stiffness.
- Medication reduction — By helping to reduce inflammation and pain, this therapy technique can lessen the need for pain or anti-inflammatory medications.
- Shorter treatment time — Going hand in hand with a quicker recovery time comes a shorter time needed for treatment. The typical timetable for the Graston Technique is around four weeks.
- Activated nerves — Pressure from the instruments used can help activate certain nerves in the affected area. These activated nerves help your body strengthen and repair muscles.
- Improved chronic conditions — Conditions previously thought to be chronic have been helped or resolved with treatment by this treatment.
- Noninvasive treatment — Some conditions that might require surgery to help correct can benefit and improve with this therapy treatment. This makes it a noninvasive, less risky treatment option.
- Cost-effectiveness — Improving recovery time, fewer treatments needed and pain relief lead to lower costs for injuries and conditions that respond to this specific treatment.
Lattimore PT can help you find relief with the Graston Technique
The Graston Technique can provide a beneficial treatment for a variety of injuries and conditions. Lattimore Physical Therapy is proud to have certified physical therapists who can offer this specific therapy treatment for your individualized treatment plan.
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.