What is the Graston Technique?
The Graston Technique, developed in 1994, is an instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that allows clinicians to detect and treat scar tissue build up, muscle restrictions, and adhesions that are usually associated with some form of soft tissue trauma (examples: strained muscle, pulled ligament, tendon, and fascia).
Certified clinicians use six different shaped stainless steel tools to stroke over the affected region and detect fibrotic tissues and areas of restriction. Once the tissue deficits have been identified, the instruments are used to break up the scar tissue and promote a healing environment.
Why might my Physician or Physical Therapist recommend Graston?
Graston is used when an injury occurs within the soft tissue that causes scar tissue formation. Scar tissue is the result of tissue healing itself in a haphazard pattern thus causing limited range of motion, stiffness, and increased pain within the joint/muscle/tendon/ligament. Graston has been found to allow for faster recovery time of soft tissue injuries.
Graston can be effective in the treatment of, but not limited to, Achilles Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Cervical Sprain/Strain/Pain, Fibromyalgia, Epicondylitis, Lumbar Sprain/Strain/Pain, Patellofemoral/Knee Pain, Plantar Fasciitis, Rotator Cuff Tendonitis, Shin Splints, ITB syndrome, Piriformis syndrome, de Quervain’s syndrome, edema reduction, and painful scar formation.
What are the contraindications for use of the Graston Technique?
Relative contraindications (use with caution):
- Varicose Veins
- Burn Scars
- Anticoagulant Medication
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Unhealed Fractures
- Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
Absolute Contraindications (don’t use technique):
- Open Wounds
- Uncontrolled Hypertension
- Inflammatory Condition due to Infection
- Unstable Fractures
What should one expect during a treatment session?
Prior to Treatment
- Warm up via cardiovascular equipment (example: riding a bike or walking on a treadmill), ultrasound or use of a hot pack to warm the affected tissue.
- Use of the appropriate tools to scan and treat the affected areas(s).
- Treatment consists of various strokiing techniques to aid in tissue rehabilitation.
- Treatment time is usually 30 to 60 seconds per area treated.
- Stretching activities to the affected area(s).
- Strengthening activities consisting of low weight and high repetitions.
- Apply ice for 10-15 minutes following the treatment session.
Is the treatment painful?
It is common to experience minor discomfort during the procedure and bruising may occur. This is a normal response and part of the healing process. Ice should be used 10-15 minutes post treatment to ease the discomfort.
What is the frequency of treatment?
Patients usually receive 3 treatments per week over a 4-5 week period. Most patients will notice positive results within 3-4 treatment sessions.
How can I find a certified clinician in my area?
Visit the following website to locate a certified provider near you, http://www.grastontechnique.com/LocateaProvider.html.
The author of this article is Monica Caine, DPT, from Athletico – Clybourn/Lincoln Park Facility.