(NaturalNews) Chiropractors and physical therapists must stay on the cutting edge with the latest techniques in rehabilitation and natural enhancement to achieve the best results for their patients. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a procedure that is rapidly growing in popularity due to its effectiveness and efficiency while remaining non-invasive. For those who are struggling with a chronic injury or want to bounce back from a recent injury without having to go the surgical route, IASTM is worth a closer look.
What is IASTM?
Once the body incurs an injury, the immune response aims to prevent further damage and repair the wound as quickly as possible, hence scar tissue. Scar tissue is not the same as skin, muscle, ligament, or tendon. The arrangement of scar tissue within a wound is in an irregular pattern and has little functional strength, like a blacktop patch for a pothole. This is why there may be a limited range of motion and pain in a muscle or joint that has been injured, or why a scar on the skin surface looks "tight" and non-uniform. IASTM treatment utilizes a tool, or set of tools, to break up scar tissue at an injury site to trigger a focal inflammatory response. This inflammation leads to the absorption of scar tissue and the production of new collagen to repair the injury site. Combined with proper movement, stretching, and cold therapy after treatment, the body restores normal tissue structure and function. Treatments are short, specific, and effective for a wide variety of ailments. The effects of IASTM include pain relief, increased flexibility, increased strength, enhanced recovery, and in most cases complete resolution of symptoms.
Does it hurt?
Any time inflammation is induced, pain is quite common. Although the treatment creates inflammation, it's common for the patient to regard the treatment as a "good hurt". Often there is an immediate improvement in flexibility and decrease in pain after treatment. Certain injury sites will be more painful than others and the care provider can adjust accordingly to an individual's preferences. Fortunately, the treatment takes 5-10 minutes or less and is very specific as to not disrupt healthy tissues. Common side effects include local discomfort, redness, and occasional bruising at the treatment site.
Will it work for me?
A multitude of conditions have been successfully treated through the administration of IASTM and most within 10 treatments. IASTM can be performed to almost any part of the body, from plantar fasciitis to TMJ. After surgery, IASTM can speed up recovery and prevent scar formation that may hinder a full recovery (spinal surgery). Other successfully treated conditions include: rotator cuff injuries, knee injuries, ITB syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow tendonitis, strains/sprains, even fibromyalgia!
How do I start?
Start by locating a healthcare provider near you that offers IASTM, likely a chiropractor or PT. Some companies like Graston require their providers to maintain certification in their technique and will advertise as such. One can expect to see more IASTM providers appearing within the next few years since this is a growing alternative treatment for injuries. Common names for IASTM include Graston, FAKTR, Gua sha, and SASTM.
About the author: Dr. Daniel Zagst is a chiropractic physician at Advanced Health & Chiropractic in Mooresville, NC. He has a BS in Professional Studies of Adjunctive Therapies, Doctorate of Chiropractic from NYCC, and an Advanced Certificate in Sport Science and Human Performance. Find out more at www.dzchiro.com