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Treating Back Pain with the Graston Technique


What is the Graston Technique

When it comes to treatment options for people suffering from back pain caused by soft tissue inflammation or fibrosis, there are a lot of options available. One of the most effective methods of treatment is the Graston Technique.

This widely used treatment focuses on instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization. It is considered a type of manual therapy and is intended to break down scar tissue and restrictions associated with trauma of the patient’s soft tissue.

What Are Soft Tissue Injuries?

Injuries to the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the back are the most common cause for back pain, back dysfunction, as well as a host of other problems. Even though it may not seem immediately serious, a simple strain can cause an excruciating pain and difficulty in movement for the sufferer.

Whenever a soft tissue injury occurs, tissue repair takes place in a random manner, often leading to the formation of scar tissue. While scar tissue is generally not painful, it has the tendency to limit a person’s range of motion. Moreover, this stiffness may be long-lasting and can contribute to further back and neck problems.

What Instruments Are Utilized In The Graston Technique?

The instruments utilized in the Graston Technique are convex and concave shaped, handheld instruments made of stainless steel that mold to the contours of the patient’s body.

The practitioner will apply the instruments on the affected areas of the patient’s body using specific methods, allowing him to isolate and treat the patient with minimal stress to the back. This helps break down the scar tissue and promotes fast recovery.

How Does the Graston Technique Work?

Considered a manual therapy, the Graston Technique involves soft tissue mobilization with the utilization of certain stainless steel instruments. The purpose of this therapy is to break down scar tissue and stretch muscle fibers and connective tissue. This therapy also has a neurologic aspect to it.

The instruments in the Graston Technique will be used together with a specialized massage. The massages are designed to aid the practitioner in determining the areas of restriction and, eventually, break up scar tissue. The shapes of the instruments help the practitioner to comb over the injured fibrotic tissues.

This therapy involves cross friction massage. Cross friction massage entails rubbing and brushing against the grains of the scar tissue. The practitioner will re-introduce a small amount of trauma to the area affected by the injury. The trauma introduced will temporary cause inflammation to the affected area. The inflammation leads to the increase in the amount and the rate of blood flow in the area. This process will help in the initiation and promotion of the healing process on the affected soft tissue.

Who Are The Practitioners of the Gaston Technique?

Most of the practitioners who specialize on the Graston Technique are osteopathic physicians, chiropractors, and athletic trainers. Occupational therapists, physical therapists, doctors and registered nurses may also provide this kind of therapy.

Before a practitioner can provide this kind of therapy, he or she must undergo extensive training. The practitioner must finish a 12 hour course focusing on the global approach to the utilization of the Graston instruments and a 14 hour course regarding specific conditions.