Each Graston Technique ® procedure detects and treats areas of “scar tissue” or adhesions in muscles, tendons and ligaments that can lead to pain and dysfunction. In the healing process, our body attempts to repair muscles, tendons and ligaments with “scar tissue,” much like the scar that forms on the skin when you have scraped or banged your knee.
However, scar tissue tends to be weaker and less flexible than normal, healthy, undamaged tissue.
Scar Tissue and Muscle “Overuse:” How Does It Occur?
Over-used muscles (and other soft tissue) change in three important ways:
Acute conditions (sprains, strains, or collisions)
Accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
Reduced oxygen (hypoxia)
Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up, restricting tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain.
If a nerve is trapped, you may also feel numbness, tingling, and weakness.
What You Can Expect With Graston Technique Treatment
Graston Technique uses six stainless steel instruments to glide along a patient’s muscle, tendons or ligaments. When knots or bands of scar tissue are encountered, both the doctor and the patient sense a restriction or a granular feeling from the instrument. GT instruments are used to “break up” this restriction or adhesion. Stretching exercises are used to promote re-alignment of the fibers so they behave more like healthy tissue. As a result, the patient feels less pain and gains more mobility.
The instruments are not meant to replace a clinician’s hands, but to complement them. The instruments enhance what the clinician’s hands can feel – substantially improving the ability to detect and treat soft-tissue dysfunctions. An unaided hand is hard pressed to detect and break up as much scar tissue as the stainless steel instruments can.
Every session is a combination of examination and treatment. Your clinician will use his or her hands and the Graston Technique instruments to evaluate the texture, tightness, and movement of the muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with specific gliding motions along with the instruments over the scar tissue sites.
The vast majority of patients are then able to function and continue to perform their regular functions at home, work or play.
Any Side Effects From This Treatment?
Although this treatment has been rumored in the past to leave unwanted bruising, this is fairly uncommon. While the treatment can leave some bruising, it is dependent on the level of scar tissue that is broken down and at what stage the scar has been building up. Using ice immediately after the treatment, coupled with a full range of motion exercise and high repetitions, is very helpful to reduce bruising.
Unique To Your Needs
Keep in mind that six different instruments allow treatment protocols that are unique to each patient. This allows your clinician to identify and correct specific problems that are affecting you. Unlike many medical techniques, this is not a cookie cutter approach. Finding the lesions or scar tissue that is preventing movement allows the body to quickly gain strength.
For any questions or concerns on this type of treatment, please contact us. We are always happy to answer questions, and we hope Graston Technique proves to be an option for you.