Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)
There are times when adjustments, stretching and exercise are not enough to resolve your symptoms. In these cases, Bridwell Wellness Center can use a variety of soft tissue techniques to help complete the healing process. The BWC Chiropractic doctors have a great deal of experience in the use of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM). In their years of clinical practice, they have learned how to employ assisted techniques and have used them appropriately with patients to achieve the desired outcome of treatment. Several IASTM techniques may be incorporated into care, and these include:
- Graston technique
- Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehabilitation (FAKTR)
When is Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization appropriate?
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization, BWC Chiropractic Injuries that we might treat with IASTM include sprains, strains, and other types of trauma that may stem from overuse or misuse. Some of the injuries that have shown to respond well to this type of therapy include bursitis, tendinosis, and tendonitis. Additionally, chronic problems affecting the spine or extremities, such as plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, rotator cuff injuries, Achilles tendinosis, and tendinopathies also improve with focused, assisted mobilization of inflamed tissues.
There are two functions of IASTM. One is to resolve abnormal tissue density like scar tissue. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization also reinstates the first-stage healing mechanism. The natural response to injury in the body is the proliferation of white blood cell substances, which lay down new collagen in the area of trauma. This new collagen forms scar tissue, which may act as a protective “patch” over the initial injury. The problem with scar tissue, however, is that it lacks the flexibility of healthy tissue. Ultimately, scar tissue can restrict mobility and cause discomfort.
IASTM incorporates techniques that essentially re-injure the body, although to a much lesser degree than the initial injury. Because dense tissue must be broken up, treatment itself can be uncomfortable and may cause slight bruising. Most tissue treated is not scar tissue, but tissue that has become entangled with hyaluronic acid molecules, thus forming a dense, gel-like restriction beneath the deep fascia. Research has shown that an increase in temperature along with friction can normalize hyaluronic acid molecules, thus freeing fascial layers to “glide” as they should.
Every patient is treated with a care plan designed around their unique situation. In addition to IASTM, treatment may also involve stretching and custom exercise that focuses on rebuilding strength and flexibility in the injured area.
The process of healing soft tissue injuries, particularly those that are chronic in nature, takes time. The use of appropriate soft tissue techniques along with exercise and stretching, performed at home, can accelerate recovery.