Graston Technique

By: Spadina Chiropractic Centre  09-12-2011

What is the Graston Technique®?

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
• Increases skin temperature
• Facilitates reflex changes in the chronic muscle holding pattern
• Alters spinal reflux activity (facilitated segment)
• Increases the rate and amount of blood flow to and from the area
• Increases cellular activity in the region, including fibroblasts and mast cells
• 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/she did before the injury.

How is scar tissue different from other tissue?
When viewed under a microscope, normal tissue can take a couple of different fashions: dense, regular elongated fibers running in the same direction, such as tendons and ligaments; or dense, irregular and loose with fibers running in multiple directions. In either instance, 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 restriction. Once the tissue has been identified, the instruments are used to break up the scar tissue so it can be absorbed by the body.

Is the treatment 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.

Is Graston Technique® used alone?
No. Whether the injury is work or non-work related, the Graston Technique® protocol is the same. Our protocol includes a brief warm-up exercise, Graston Technique® treatment, followed by stretching, strengthening and ice.

What is the frequency of treatment?
Patients usually receive two treatments per week over 4-5 weeks. Most patients have a positive response by the 3rd to 4th treatment.

Are there any benefits to the treatment?
Yes. 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.

What are the specific benefits of Graston treatment?
For the patient:
• Decreases overall time of treatment
• Fosters faster rehabilitation/recovery
• Reduces need for anti-inflammatory medication
• Resolves chronic conditions thought to be permanent

For the clinician:
• Provides improved diagnostic treatment
• Detects major and minor fibrotic changes
• Reduces manual stress; provides hand and joint conservation
• Increases patient satisfaction by achieving notably better outcomes

For employers and the healthcare industry:
• Allows patients to remain on the job
• Reduces the need for splints, braces and job-site modifications
• Contributes to reduction of labor and healthcare costs, direct and indirect

Is Graston Technique® something new?

The concept of cross fiber massage is not new. Graston Technique® is grounded in the works of Dr. James Cyriax, an English orthopedic surgeon. The use of our specially 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.

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