by Danielle Clark-Fox
Graston is a form of instrument assisted manual therapy; basically your therapist using tools of various materials and edges to assist them in remodeling your muscle/scar tissue/ligament or other tissue. Graston, in particular, uses stainless steel instruments with differing beveled edges to best access the area needing treatment.
Graston tools are useful to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your therapist’s manual treatments to address adhesed tissue. These tools help to increase the area that can be treated during a session as the tools typically have a treatment edge larger than that of your therapist’s fingers. It is also easier to treat tissue deeper, say a hamstring muscle, than with just the use of hands.
Why is it necessary to treat adhesions in tissues? Scar tissue is great in that it lays down right where your body needs it to be. Scar tissue isn’t so great in that it lays down in a “willy nilly” pattern independent of how the surrounding tissue runs. Scar tissue typically doesn’t have the same elasticity or collagenous properties of your normal tissue either. This can cause a great deal of tugging and pulling with movement and daily activity; causing a decrease in range of motion, strength and increasing pain. Graston treatments help address these issues and in conjunction with other types of treatment and modalities can restore your function back where it needs to be!
What should you look for in a Graston practitioner? The Graston classes are given in 2 separate sessions. A certified practitioner is one who has attended both sets of sessions. Also, only practitioners who have taken the courses can purchase the Graston tool set. There is also a company in the UK teaching classes and selling tools. So you should look for a certified Graston practitioner (check out the Graston website for a listing near you) and someone with either the US or UK set of tools.
At Boston Sports Medicine we have 2 certified Graston therapists and several other therapists anxious to take the classes as well. If you feel Graston could assist you give us a call in either our Davis Square or Allston locations and we’d be happy to help!
Dr. Clark-Fox is a Physical Therapist at Boston Sports Medicine