Graston Technique – What is it and how can it help me?

Oct 20, 2016

by Ross Holsing, PT, DPT, Healing Motion


Manual therapy techniques are one of the many treatment options that Physical Therapists utilize when trying to help someone with pain or physical limitations. These techniques are often performed with the goal of allowing someone to move easier and feel better. A PT will also perform manual therapy to allow someone to relax his or her mind and body. One such manual therapy technique is called Graston Technique. Although this technique has been around for over 20 years, it is gaining more attention lately. Many people even noticed that it was being performed on the Olympic athletes in Brazil this past summer.


So what exactly is Graston Technique? It is defined as an “evidence-based form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to detect and effectively break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions, as well as maintain optimal range of motion.” The instruments that are utilized with this technique are made of stainless steel. While this may sound aggressive or painful, the goal of Graston is not to cause pain. In fact, the goal is exactly the opposite of that!


The treatment focuses on soft tissue – meaning muscles, tendons, fascia, and ligaments. Most people know what muscles, tendons and ligaments are, but many people are less familiar with fascia. Fascia is simply the covering around the muscles. Think of fascia like a piece of cellophane that is wrapped around a steak. In this example, the fascia is the cellophane wrap that clings to, supports, and separates the steak (which is our muscle).

Restrictions in the soft tissue can lead to pain or limitations of movement. Pain and limitations will cause a decrease in activity tolerance for work, activities around the house, or recreational hobbies. Soft tissue restrictions are usually the result of a surgery (new or old), recent injury, or chronic problem. So basically something is not allowing your body to move properly and heal itself. If that something is related to soft tissue restrictions, then Graston Technique will be a valuable resource for helping you achieve your goals as part of Physical Therapy treatment. As stated on the Graston website, “Performing Graston techniques on these soft tissue restrictions will speed up the healing process and make typical PT treatment options (stretching, ROM, strengthening) more effective.”


Although the effect of Graston Technique varies for each person, it is very common for people to feel improvements after the first session. You can expect to feel more flexible, have less pain, or be able to tolerate more activity as a result of receiving Graston and Physical Therapy treatment. The overall goal of Graston is the same as any other Physical Therapy treatment technique: allow you to feel better and perform functional movements easier. Graston Technique has been proven to effectively treat “acute and chronic conditions such as Achilles Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel, Adhesive Capsulitis, IT Band Syndrome, Lumbar Strain and Plantar Fasciitis.”


Call Healing Motion Physical Therapy at (402) 346-7772 to inquire about Graston Technique. Allow us to help you achieve your optimal health!




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