Monday, August 19, 2019
The Graston Technique: Something To Get Excited About For Joint And Muscle Pain Relief?
Tens of millions of dollars are spent each year by folks trying to find a solution to their muscle and joint pain. Sit down and watch television any evening and you'll be bombarded by ads touting all sorts of drugs and creams and gadgets marketed to do one thing; relieve your joint and muscle pain.
So tell me why do you think there is such an endless stream of "breakthrough" treatment?
The answer is a simple one, there is always something "new" because nothing, up until now, has been proven to be effective for the millions of folks suffering from painful shoulders, knees, backs, necks, and other joints and muscles. I know this because I was one of them. You see I hurt my knee playing football and tried literally everything-under-the-sun to find relief. I even had knee surgery, that didn't help very much.
After the surgery and still in pain, I heard about a therapy called the Graston Technique. the Graston Technique is a relatively new system which is popular with professional athletes. It incorporates specially designed instruments that are used to rehabilitate damaged muscle, tendons, and joints. And it worked so well for me in the rehabilitation of my knee, that I took postgraduate courses in it to learn about it so I could incorporate it into my chiropractic practice and use it on my patients.
The results for my patients have been just as remarkable as the results I experienced personally. So let me tell you more about Graston and why the sports medicine and rehabilitation world is all buzzing over this innovative technique to treat the soft tissues of the body. Take the time to read the rest of this article, because if you have pain you'll be glad that you did.
One of the many benefits of chiropractic is having a variety of different techniques at our disposal that allow the chiropractor to treat a variety of conditions. One such technique that is relatively new is called the Graston Technique. The Graston Technique is an instrument-assisted soft tissue release technique. It is a unique treatment that targets and treats soft tissue restrictions which contribute to common conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Plantar fasciitis, and muscle/ joint sprains and strains just to name a few. Most patients are unaware of the treatment, so it is the responsibility of the chiropractor to educate the patient to the potential benefits of the Graston technique. Decreasing and alleviating pain as well as lessening the burden of chronic conditions allows the patient to better cope with their condition and that is a major benefit and selling point of the Graston method. Patients may also be impressed when they learn that many professional athletes in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL successfully utilize this technique. What exactly is the Graston Technique and how does it work? Graston, as mentioned above, is an instrument-assisted soft tissue release technique. The Graston Technique utilizes six stainless steel instruments of varying sizes and shapes to fit the many contours of our body parts. The instruments are skillfully maneuvered over the skin with minimal but adequate pressure to detect areas of muscle adhesion, scar tissue, and trigger points. Once an area of adhesion or scar tissue is identified, we guide the instruments back and forth to break up the adhesions, scar tissue, and trigger points.
A typical Graston visit starts with exercise, stretching, ultrasound, or heat pack to warm up the region being treated. We then add an emollient/lotion to the skin in order to reduce friction and assistant the gliding of the tools over the skin. We then continue to comb/glide over the skin looking for a target area. Once we have detected an adhesion, scar tissue, or trigger, we use a variety of tools to manipulate back and forth over the area using various pressures. Skin redness is very common and in some rare cases; you will see slight bruising in that region.
Treatment times generally consist of 30-60 seconds per area followed by stretching and passive modalities. It is common to experience slight discomfort following treatment. Applying ice to the area should reduce this discomfort. Treatment plans generally consist of 6-12 treatments starting with 2 times per week. Treatment regimens are customized to the individual needs of the patient.
What then is the underlying mechanism of tissue change that gives the Graston technique its therapeutic benefit? When we run the instruments back and forth, we are inducing microtrauma to that region. Microtrauma is accompanied by a temporary inflammatory response and subsequent increase in blood flow to that region. Most times when you hear the words trauma or inflammation we consider it a negative. However, this is the key idea behind the Graston Technique. When microtrauma is induced, there is an increase in inflammation and blood circulation to that area which activates the body's natural healing response.
Patients should expect to notice changes after a few treatments. Every patient will respond differently. We tend to see some similarities among patients in the way they respond to treatment. Treatment goals include an increase in Range of Motion, increased sensation, and a decrease in muscle stiffness. Once we know the patient is responding favorably to treatment, we incorporate in-office and at-home stretching and strengthening exercises in order to enhance and sustain the results for longer periods of time.
Graston has shown great results in both acute and chronic cases. The following are common conditions treated by Graston: Cervical sprain/strain (neck pain), Thoracic sprain/strain (midback pain), Lumbar sprain/strain (low back pain), Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (wrist pain), De Quervain's tenosynovitis (wrist pain), Plantar Fasciitis (foot pain), Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow), Medial Epicondylitis (golfer's elbow), Rotator Cuff Tendinitis (shoulder pain), Patellofemoral Disorders (knee pain), Achilles Tendinitis (ankle pain), Post-Surgical Scar Tissue, Trigger finger, Shin splints, Joint Sprains, and Fibromyalgia.
Graston provides other unique opportunities for practitioners. Graston can be packaged with regular chiropractic care to start. Another opportunity is packing Graston along with passive modalities. Our office now offers comprehensive migraine treatment. The treatment consists of Graston to the suboccipital muscle, cold laser, ultrasound, electric muscle stimulation, and postural realignment tailored to each individual. Rehabilitating tissue and restoring proper structure and function has shown to reduce migraine symptoms and even migraines in general in some cases.
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