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The Benefits of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)


Have you suffered a ligament or tendon injury while exercising or playing sports? Have you recently had orthopedic surgery, and are feeling limitations in your mobility? Are you experiencing chronic pain worsened by muscle imbalances?

Would you prefer to steer clear of drug-based pain management?

Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) may be a useful tool for you in your road to recovery.

What Is IASTM Treatment?

Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (also known as "scraping") refers to a popular physical therapy treatment that aims to improve fascial restrictions and scar tissue that is restricting mobility, diminishing strength, and causing pain. But what is it actually? Let's break the term down.

"Instrument-assisted" means that various handheld instruments are used to apply the treatment. These instruments are typically stainless steel with beveled edges and contours that conform to different body anatomical locations. This differentiates it from the various methods of manual soft tissue mobilization, where a physical therapist used their hands to push, pull, and knead your muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves in precise ways to help bring you pain relief and return you to functionality.

"Soft tissue" refers to the body's muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Trauma to these tissues results in the formation of scar tissue (or "adhesions") that in turn leads to swelling, pain, and loss of mobility. Chronic pain and further injury can result from leaving these adhesions untreated.

IASTM is also known as "scraping," and this is where the "mobilization" part comes in. Using a patented procedure called the Graston Technique, a clinician gently slides different instruments—with the appropriate amount of pressure—along the affected area(s). This scraping motion employed by the therapist breaks up any scar tissue that has formed.

IASTM is used in many specialities of physical therapy, from sports medicine to post-operative recovery. It can be indicated in a range of soft tissue disorders, including:

  • Fascial restrictions

  • Muscle imbalances

  • Tendon injury

  • Ligament sprains

  • Chronic pain

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Neck pain

  • DeQuervain’s syndrome

  • Fibromyalgia

  • IT band syndrome

  • Shin splints

  • Low back pain

  • Muscle strains

  • Myofascial pain

  • Nerve entrapment

  • Painful scars

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Post-mastectomy and C-section scarring

In all the above conditions, IASTM has demonstrated positive outcomes in an astounding 75%–90% of cases.

What are the Benefits of IASTM?

Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization boasts the following benefits (in addition to its wide applicability):

  • Helps increase collagen production

  • Relieves pain

  • Restores proper function to treated areas

  • Increases the speed of overall recovery

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Improves mobility

Best of all, utilizing IASTM during a comprehensive program in physical therapy can be helpful in treating the underlying cause of dysfunction, which translates to lesser probability of surgery or painkillers for injury rehabilitation. This means you won't be subject to the slew of potentially dangerous side-effects (including addiction) that come with them.

Have you sustained a Muscle Injury, Ligament Injury, or Tendon Injury?

Are you looking for a physical therapy clinic servicing the Vancouver area that offers IASTM treatment? Look no further than TrueMotion Physical Therapy!

Our highly skilled, experienced, and dedicated team of physical therapists offer a host of various services and treatment methods, tailored to you and your needs.

Call to set up an evaluation appointment today, call us at 360.309.6189!




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