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Graston. No, It is Not a Butter Knife.

Graston is a form of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization. There are 6 stainless steel instruments that are used. The physician runs the tool over a treatment area and what can be felt by the practitioner is what is described as “grittiness” or “gristle”. The patient can also feel this unevenness. This uneven tissue is typically due to a buildup of microtears that occur in a tissue over time when the tissue, whether fibrotic or muscular, has been injured. This unevenness in tissue can also be due to abnormal growth of fibrotic tissue due to pathological conditions or it can be from scar tissue following surgery or other medical procedures.

How Does Graston Help?

The Graston Technique is used to treat a while range of soft tissue conditions such as:

· Sprain/strains

· Achilles Tendinitis

· Patellar Tendinitis

· Tennis elbow/golfer’s elbow

· Rotator Cuff Syndrome

· Muscle tears

The instruments are designed to break up the microtears and fibrosus in the affected area, which will bring blood flow to the area. When blood flow is brought to the area, so is oxygen and nutrients for repair. Treatment typically involves active or passive movement of the treatment area to help with the proper alignment of the new fibers that are being laid down during this healing process. This break down and repair is a necessary part of the healing process. It leads to an improvement in the strength and elasticity of the tissue, which will in turn improve the tissue’s ability to transmit forces without the likelihood of future injury.

What to Expect?

Let’s just say, you either love it or hate it…mostly hate it! Let's face it, Graston is not the most comfortable of techniques, but it does lead to immediate improvement in range of motion and reduction in aching pain. The treatment typically lasts anywhere from 8 minutes to 15. You may be asked to do movements while it is being performed on you, which in most cases distracts you from the discomfort. There will be redness and even petechiae in the area post treatment. Petechiae is bleeding underneath the surface of the skin. Within 24-48 hours, a bruise of green/yellow will appear. If you are more prone to bruising than the bruising may be more of a purple. Either way, it will heal up within a week of treatment. The goal is not to cause pain, but to apply enough pressure to work through the myofascial restrictions. In addition, the healing typically is faster when the prescribed stretches/exercises are performed. Remember healing is NOT a passive event.

Let us give you the tools to help heal yourself!

Cindy VanSickler, DC, CCSP, Cert. MDT

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