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.
Why is scar tissue a problem?
- 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
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.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.How the Graston Technique Works
This form of manual therapy comprises soft tissue mobilization and incorporates the use of stainless-steel instruments. The goal of the therapy is to separate and break down the scar tissue, as well as stretch connective tissue and muscle fibers. There also appears to be a neurologic component to treating patients with the Graston Technique Instruments. There remain many aspects of this therapy for which we have no explanation and no clinical trials or other studies to verify the outcomes.
The Graston Technique uses the instruments with a specialized form of massage that is designed to help the practitioner identify areas of restriction and break up the scar tissue. The concave and convex stainless steel instruments are used to comb over and catch on injured fibrotic tissue.
Using a cross-friction massage, which involves brushing or rubbing against the grain of the scar tissue, the practitioner re-introduces small amounts of trauma to the affected area. This temporarily causes inflammation in the area, which in turn increases the rate and amount of blood flow in and around the area. The theory is that this process helps initiate and promote the healing process of the affected soft tissues.
Treatment is rendered along the kinetic chain and thus a patient presenting with back pain might also receive treatment to the hip flexors, abdomen, hamstrings and other regions of the body.