By Christopher Rosebrough PT, DPT, GTS – Bonita Community Health Center Physical Therapist
Graston technique allows physical therapists to detect and treat areas of “scar tissue” or adhesions in muscles, tendons and ligaments that can reduce our range of motion and cause pain.
In the healing process, our body attempts to repair those areas by creating “scar tissue,” much like the scar that forms on the skin when you have scraped or banged your knee.
In time, we can have a build up of this fibrous scar tissue, particularly in the muscles, tendons and ligaments that get a lot of use. This can lead to pain and dysfunction because this replacement tissue lacks the strength and flexibility of healthy tissue (in some areas it may even mat down and entrap a nerve).
The Graston Technique® allows therapists to better detect and treat these areas because it uses a stainless steel instrument that glides along a patient’s muscle, tendons or ligaments, with the right amount of pressure to detect just where the scar tissue or restrictions are located.
When these knots or bands of scar tissue are encountered, both the clinician and the patient sense a restriction, almost like a speed bump or a granular feeling. The instrument can then be used to identify and treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. Stretching exercises are used to promote re-alignment of the fibers into the normal pattern of healthy tissue.
The benefit of the Graston Technique® is not only in detection of restrictions or adhesions, but also in the amount of improvement that takes place in a short amount of time. Remember the song and words “…the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone…”? Well, so they are and so are all of the body parts connected in what is referred to as the kinetic chain. The instruments allow the clinician to follow that kinetic chain, effectively uncovering the cause of the problem, then treating the cause and the area of pain or restriction. The unaided hand is hard pressed to detect and break up as much scar tissue, or follow the kinetic chain, as effectively or efficiently as stainless steel instruments can. GT decreases overall time of treatment, fosters faster rehabilitation/recovery, reduces need for anti-
inflammatory medication and resolves chronic conditions thought to be permanent. If you have not experienced the Graston Technique®, yet you have lingering discomfort or stiffness, please ask whether you may be helped by this effective treatment.
Dedication to a prescribed home exercise program is essential to the success of your treatment. Stretching and strengthening exercises are given to you in order to maintain the release of scar tissue, restrictions and adhesions. A temporary increase in soreness is not uncommon after the first treatment session and is most often a positive sign that restrictions have been released. Soreness is usually minimized after 48 hours and can be controlled with ice and stretching.
Improving Your Function
Locating a certified Graston Technique® provider is the first step to experiencing the best treatment for your specific condition. These providers practice the most current techniques to improve function and reduce pain. Lucky for the Bonita Springs/Estero area one can be found close at hand at Bonita Community Health Center Physical Therapy Department. Call (239) 949-6160 to learn more.
Bonita Community Health Center