Graston Technique Explained!
Graston Technique (GT) is a therapeutic technique used in diagnosis and treatment of skeletal muscles and its related connective tissue disorders. The Graston Technique is a fairly new type of soft tissue mobilization which employs the use of specially designed stainless steel instruments to help the chiropractor detect and resolve the adhesions or scar tissue. This method uses a set of six stainless steel tools of a specific shape and size. Chiropractors or other health practitioners use these tools to palpate or massage the patients' bodies to detect and break down the adhesions present in the muscles and tendons. The Graston Technique comprises of concave and convex-shaped stainless steel instruments which are held by chiropractor in his/her hands. The practitioner uses these instruments to rub them against the patient, using certain techniques to break down the adhesions or scar tissue and encourage the healing process.
Using the Graston Technique (GT)
This method of manual therapy consists of soft tissue mobilization and combines the use of stainless-steel instruments. The aim of this therapy is to divide and break down the scar tissue along with stretching the connective tissue and muscle fibers. There also seems to be a neurological factor to treating patients using the Graston Technique instruments. There is no definite explanation for many aspects of this therapy and there are no clinical studies or trials to substantiate the results.
The instruments in the Graston Technique are used with a specialized type of massage that is designed to aid the chiropractor or practitioner to detect the areas of restriction and break up the scar tissue. The concave and convex stainless steel tools are designed to comb over and catch on the damaged fibrotic tissue.
With the help of cross-friction massage, which comprises of rubbing or brushing against the grain of the scar tissue, the chiropractor re-introduces slight amount of trauma to the injured area. This causes temporary inflammation in the region, which leads to increase in the rate and blood flow to and around the area. The logic behind this process is that this process helps in initiating and promoting the healing process of the injured soft tissues.
Graston Technique Practitioners
The Graston Technique is practiced by chiropractors, osteopaths, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and athletic trainers. Medical doctors and Registered Nurses also practice it.
Patients Should Take The Following Precautions Before Undergoing Graston Technique:
Prior to Graston Technique
- Before the appointment, patients should try to accomplish at least 5 minutes of cardiovascular activity like walking or riding a stationary bike.
- Before starting the treatment, the chiropractor may apply heat or ultrasound to the affected area for warming up of soft tissues.
During the Graston Technique
- The practitioner applies appropriate instruments of Graston Technique to scan and treat the inured region of back.
- Treatment usually comprises of the chiropractor rubbing the affected area with handheld stainless-steel Graston Technique tool using calculated and extremely precise massage techniques.
- The time taken for treatment is usually around a minute per area which is treated.
After the Graston Technique
- The areas which are treated should be stretched.
- After the stretching, the patient may start low load, high repetitions of exercises with the help of an elastic band.
- Patients may experience some mild discomfort during procedure and may be some bruising which is common. Patient may also feel sore or there may be appearance of small red spots (petechiae) after the treatment. Applying ice therapy for about 20 minutes after treatment helps in alleviating discomfort.
- An exercise program comprising of stretching and strengthening should be done along with this chiropractic technique for rehabilitation of back and encourage faster healing of injured tissues.
- A standard course of treatment comprises of 6 to 10 visits. Medications are not needed in conjunction with this particular chiropractic treatment.
Contraindications to Graston Technique
Patients Having The Following Conditions Should Avoid Graston Technique:
- Open wounds/injuries.
- Hypertension/high blood pressure.
- Cancer (depending on the stage and location).
- Fractures which have not healed and are complicated.