While your expertise lies in the manipulation of the musculoskeletal system, adding soft tissue mobilization to your practice can not only make your practice more dynamic but also improve patient outcomes.
If you are hesitant to incorporate this type of therapy into your practice because of the strain on your hands, there is now a better option. Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) provides all the benefits of soft tissue therapy without the strain on your hands as well as many other advantages.
One of the biggest advantages of IASTM is that soft tissue injuries often heal faster when properly manipulated.
“IASTM or tools assist in decreasing adhesions via a pressure and applica- tion technique, in addition to increasing healing rates of target tissue”1-2 says Ethan M. Kreiswirth, PhD, ATC, and owner of Kreiswirth Sports Medicine Systems.
In addition to increased healing, IASTM treats injuries in two ways—neurologically and mechanically. “Neurological stimulation decreases pain and overrides pain response in local tissue, improving range of motion through the brain letting go of the tight tissue,” says Ed Le Cara, DC, PhD, ATC. “The mechanical benefit is improved sliding of tissue layers and improved range of motion.”
Save your hands
One clear advantage of using instruments for soft tissue mobilization is decreased strain on your hands over time. If you incorporate soft tissue treatment into your practice “having the ability to rest your hands and use instruments can aid in clinician longevity,” Kreiswirth says.
By letting the instruments do the work, you are reducing the amount of pain and injury to your own hands that can occur over your career.
Tying it together
By using IASTM, you can potentially increase outcomes for your patients beyond adjustments.
“It is imperative for any clinician to understand Panjabi’s Stability Model of treating active, passive, and motor control paradigms. That said, when incorporating all three variables, treatment outcomes are positive,” Kreiswirth says. “Today, many practitioners only treat one or two of the three variables. Best outcomes originate when all three are taken into consideration.”
Incorporating IASTM into your practice can not only prolong your career by saving your hands but can also improve treatment results and increase healing of soft tissue injuries.
Casey Nighbor is the associate editor of Chiropractic Economics. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-395- 3389, or through ChiroEco.com.
1 Gehlsen GM, Ganion LR, Helfst R. Fibroblast Responses to Variation in Soft Tissue Mobilization Pressure. Med Sci in Sports Exerc. 1999;31:531–535.
2 Hammer WI, Pfefer MT. Treatment of a Case of Subacute Lumbar Compartment Syndrome Using the Graston Technique. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2005;28:199–204.