Recovery following an injury can be a long, arduous process. As anybody who has ever suffered a torn meniscus or an anterior cruciate ligament tear or sprain can testify, the recovery and rehabilitation process can be painful and frustrating.
Chiropractic care, specifically instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM), can be a crucial part of any good injury rehab program, as it may help the body heal faster and reduce the amount of pain during the rehab period.
Excess scar tissue following injury
It is not uncommon for the body to build up excess scar tissue, sometimes known as adhesions, in the injured area during the rehabilitation process. Scar tissue is part of the body’s natural protective mechanism that forms as a result of swelling following an injury in the spaces between the joints that normally allow for movement.
Once this scar tissue has formed, it can prevent the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints from moving freely. In cases of extreme scar tissue formation, the joint may actually freeze up entirely, which is commonly seen in the shoulder.
Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization for scar tissue buildup IASTM should be part of any rehab program following an injury in which there is excessive scar tissue buildup.
First, the chiropractor glides the adjusting instrument along the length of the affected muscles, tendons or ligaments. If there are areas with excessive scar tissue buildup, there will be a grainy or restricted sensation.
The instrument is then used to break up the adhesions, which will be reabsorbed into the body.
The instrument can also stimulate white blood cells to reform collagen to the injured area. This is similar to what happens following the initial injury, but because it is milder, the process will properly rebuild tissue, rather than overproducing it.
The patient should go through a low-intensity, high-rep series of stretching exercises following IAST to get the affected muscled used to moving without restriction.
Benefits for DCs
In addition to the obvious patient benefits from IASTM, DCs can also benefit. Any type of instrument adjusting will mean less wear and tear on the DC’s arms, hands and upper body. Furthermore, adding IASTM to an existing practice can open the door to a whole host of new patients, particularly those with sports injuries.
Most patients only think of chiropractic in terms of joint pain. However, IASTM is a proven soft tissue
technique that can help speed the rehab process following an injury.