What is Graston?
The Graston Technique incorporates a patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function. The technique separates and breaks down collagen cross-links, and splays and stretches connective tissue and muscle fibers. It increases skin temperature, and facilitates reflex changes in the chronic muscle holding pattern. It also alters spinal reflux activity, and increases the rate and amount of blood flow to and from the area. It increases cellular activity in the region, including fibroblasts and mast cells. It also increases histamine response secondary to mast cell activity.
Why is Scar Tissue a Problem?
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.
Scar tissue is different from other tissues. When viewed under a microscope, normal tissue can take a couple of different fashions. However, when tissue is damaged it will heal in a haphazard pattern or scarring that results in a restricted range of motion and, very often, pain.
How are the Instruments Used?
The Graston Technique instruments are used to enhance the clinician’s ability to detect adhesions, scar tissue or restrictions in the affected areas. Skilled clinicians use the stainless steel instruments to comb over and “catch” on fibrotic tissue, which immediately identifies the areas of restrictions. Once the tissue has been identified, the instruments are used to break up the scar tissue so it can be absorbed in the body.
Is it Painful?
It is common to experience minor discomfort during the procedure and some bruising afterwards. This is a normal response and part of the healing process.
The treatment protocol involves a brief warm-up exercise, Graston Technique, followed by stretching and strengthening and ice.
Most patients are not disabled and continue to perform their regular functions at home or work. Graston Technique gives back the control that is often lost when injury strikes.
Historically, the Graston Technique has resolved 87% or more of all conditions treated. It is equally effective on restoring function to acute and chronic injuries, and pre and post surgical patients.
The concept of cross-fiber massage is not new. Graston Technique is grounded in the works of Dr. James Cyriax, an orthopedic surgeon. The use of specifically designed instruments and protocol is new. Graston Technique has become standard protocol in universities and hospital based outpatient facilities as well as industrial on-site treatment settings such as Indiana University and the University of Michigan. The technique is also being used at industrial settings and by NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball Trainers.