Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is a manual physical therapy technique performed at ProTailored Physical Therapy. Our Fort Wayne, IN physical therapists use special plastic or metal tools to gently move and scrape against the skin to relieve pain, decrease inflammation, and promote the healing process.
If you have been living with a painful and/or limiting condition, IASTM will likely benefit you. Contact ProTailored Physical Therapy today to request an appointment with one of our licensed Fort Wayne, IN physical therapists, and learn more about what you can gain from this technique!
How do I know if IASTM will help me?
You may be wondering if IASTM is right for you. There are a vast number of conditions that IASTM can treat, including:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Hip pain
- Heel pain/Achilles tendonitis
- Myofascial pain and restrictions
- Muscle imbalances
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Patellar tendonitis
- Muscle strains
- Ligament sprains
- Shin splints
- Chronic joint swelling associated with sprains/strains
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis and golfer’s elbow
- Post-surgical and traumatic scars
- Plantar fasciitis
- Trigger finger
- IT band syndrome
What can I expect with IASTM?
You may be wondering, “why is it necessary to use instruments in physical therapy?” Most manual physical therapy treatments are done with the hands, but there are many benefits that instruments can bring. For example, these special instruments can effectively break down fascial (connective tissue) restrictions and scar tissue across the body. These instruments are also designed to act as an aid for physical therapists, so they can find and treat affected areas with more accuracy.
There are a number of different speeds and pressures that an IASTM-trained physical therapist may use while conducting this specific technique, and it will be based on the nature of your condition and your specific needs. These different speeds and pressures work to facilitate a contraction (also known as turning a muscle on) or inhibit a muscle (also known as turning a muscle off).
When using certain levels of pressure through IASTM on the affected muscles, tendons, or ligaments, a mild inflammatory response is initiated. While this may seem counterintuitive, inflammation helps promote the body’s natural healing process, so you can recover and get back to your life faster.
This also helps break down adhesions or scars that may have occurred, due to a surgical operation, repetitive use injury, or immobilization. By breaking these down, IASTM allows functional restoration to occur.
IASTM has been proven to help with:
- Pain with movement
- Muscle recruitment issues
- Limited motion
- Motor control issues
Common Questions Regarding IASTM/Scraping
What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is a small area of shortened or tight muscular fibers located within a muscle.
Why do I have trigger points?
Trigger points can develop secondary to trauma or overuse.
Fun fact: The upper trapezius (shoulder musculature) commonly holds many trigger points as people commonly tense the shoulders with stress/anxiety.
What is scar tissue?
Scar tissue is made in the body after an injury occurs. It is a group of cells and collagen that has been produced to replace the injured cells. Scar tissue is different from other tissues as it has less elasticity. This may lead to decreased motion or increases in pain in some motions.
Why do I have scar tissue?
Scar tissue will occur after surgery or a traumatic injury. However, scar tissue may form in the body with injuries that are less traumatic and that you may not even feel, such as overuse injuries.
What does IASTM/scraping feel like?
At our clinic, we use metal tools. Clinicians may use different speeds or different pressures during treatment. You will feel anything from light to deep pressure. Some areas of the body may be more tender or sore than others. The body may get used to the stimulus, and some patients report a decrease in pressure within a few minutes of the treatment.
What will I feel like after I’ve had IASTM/scrapping done?
It is common for the area that has been needled to feel a little warm or sore after IASTM/scrapping. This is because the process of IASTM/scrapping increases blood flow to the area to promote healing. Some muscle tenderness is common the day after dry needling – and in days following that, patients may report a reduction in pain and stiffness.
What tools are used for IASTM/scraping?
There are many types of different scraping tools. A common one is Graston Tools which is a brand that offers multiple shapes and sizes. At ProTailored, we use metal scraping tools. Scraping tools can also be made of plastic and traditional tools were made of bone or jade.
Where all can IASTM/Scraping be performed?
IASTM/scraping can be performed on any skeletal muscle tissue.
Fun fact: At ProTailored Physical Therapy, we commonly scrape the plantar fascia (muscles at the bottom of the foot). This is done to relieve tension throughout the fascia that is often responsible for foot/heel pain and plantar fasciitis.. We have great success with this!
How can I get started with IASTM?
Do you have one of the symptoms listed above? Are you suffering from pain? Are you not able to breeze through your daily tasks anymore? If so, IASTM may be for you.
Contact us today to request your appointment and meet with one of our dedicated physical therapists who will determine the best course of treatment for you. Don’t suffer through life any longer – take a stand with physical therapy and call us at (260) 739-0300!