Every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases the latest statistics on workplace injury.
Among the most recent numbers provided are that 1.15 million Americans are hurt on the job annually. Of these, 31 percent sustained some type of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), a majority of which were caused by overexertion. Furthermore, the BLS reports that the leading MSDs revolved around soft tissue issues such as “sprains, strains, or tears,” resulting in more than 421,000 days of missed work.
Soft tissue injuries can also be fairly common in sports or as a result of exercise according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, with some muscle, tendon, and ligament issues occurring without much prompting at all, such as when engaging in “simple everyday activities.”
While there are a variety of treatment options available should a soft tissue injury exist, the appropriate remedy depending primarily on the exact injury, its location and severity, sound assisted soft tissue mobilization (SASTM) can sometimes help.
What SASTM is
SASTM is a derivative of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM), a treatment technique founded by David Graston which “enables clinicians to effectively and efficiently address soft tissue lesions and facial restrictions resulting in improved patient outcomes.”
SASTM specifically involves the use of instruments which enable medical professionals to locate the problem areas (such as areas of restriction, built up scar tissue, and inflammation) by the sounds they hear when using SASTM devices.
Benefits of SASTM
In treating these types of issues, the patient experiences many possible benefits, one of which is a greater range of motion. For instance, in an article posted on Patch.com, Dr. Aaron Martin shares that scar tissue is created when there is “micro-trauma to the soft tissue” which, over time, negatively affects the muscle’s smooth movement via the creation of adhesions. This ultimately makes it more difficult to move that area. Scar tissue is also not as flexible and has poorer circulation than regular muscle tissue, contributing to a reduced range of motion.
Other positive results associated with SASTM include better function in the treatment area and lower level of discomfort and pain. Injuries that can respond positively to this form of treatment range from bicep tendinitis to knee sprains to neck or back pain. That makes this particular remedy valuable in the healing of a variety of soft tissue issues.
Implementing SASTM in your practice
Although SASTM can be used by a number of different medical professionals, such as massage therapists and physical therapists, it can also be used by DCs in a chiropractic setting. This creates another natural treatment option that can be offered at your practice, providing one more stream of revenue with a minimal up-front investment.
The first step to implementing SASTM involves obtaining the necessary training and certification to use SASTM instruments. Some companies offer in-person training seminars which cover the instruments and how to appropriately use them. Others make it possible to achieve on-line certification via in-depth manuals, videos, slides, and, finally, a certification test.
Once certified in SASTM, the next step is to notify your current and prospective patients that you now offer this additional treatment option. One way to do this is simply by sending an email or postcard sharing what SASTM is and the types of conditions it helps. Another option is to create a flyer or brochure outlining SASTM’s benefits, handing them out in your office or making them available for download from your website.
You could also hold a free informational seminar for groups in your area most likely to experience soft tissue injuries, thus needing this type of remedy. Some groups to consider are work groups prone to soft tissue injuries, such as factory workers who engage in repetitive movements, athletic groups, and individuals with local gym memberships.
Essentially, successfully implementing SASTM into your chiropractic practice requires educating the consumer as to what it is and how it can help. Do that and you’re well on your way to using your newfound skills, helping your patients while growing your practice in the process.