The Graston Technique

By Tracy Wilcox, PTA, ATC

What is the Graston Technique?

Graston Technique is a treatment option in PT.

The Graston Technique is a common technique.

The Graston Technique is becoming increasingly popular with the JOI physicians and throughout the JOI Rehabilitation clinics. You have probably seen it done or even experienced it yourself. Graston incorporates the use of stainless steel instruments to aid in soft tissue mobilization. It is a therapeutic method for diagnosing and treating disorders of the skeletal muscles and related connective tissue. It allows clinicians to treat scar tissue and adhesions that affect normal function. Scar tissue forms after injuries and can cause pain and limit range of motion. The instruments are used to break up this scar tissue so that the body can absorb it.

Does the Graston Technique hurt?

It can be uncomfortable and may cause mild bruising and discoloration. These are normal responses to the break up of adhesions. Treatments are generally short (10-15 minutes) and are preceded by a warm up activity, such as biking or a hot pack. Treatment is followed by stretching and strengthening exercises, and ends with a cold pack. Patients begin to notice results immediately with decreased pain and increased range of motion.

When is Graston used?

Graston Technique has been shown to have benefits in treating both acute and chronic injuries. It can help reduce the swelling from a new injury or help heal the nagging tendonitis that has been around for months. A few of the conditions that have been clinically proven to achieve quicker and better outcomes with the treatment of Graston are: Achilles tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical sprain/strain, plantar fasciitis, and shin splints.

Who uses the Graston Technique?

All practitioners are required to have extensive training in the technique. At a minimum, a 12-hour hands-on course is required to learn the research, indications, contraindications, and uses of the instruments. The course is only open to athletic trainers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, and medical doctors.

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