Once you have an injury to a soft tissue, such as a ligament, tendon or muscle, the tissue’s structure changes and scar tissue develops. Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) can help break down scar tissue and restore the tissue’s natural, pre-injury structure.
IASTM is a method of manual therapy that uses instruments or tools to augment the traditional application of a practitioner’s hands. These instruments vary in shape, composition and use. All are used to aid with musculoskeletal injury recovery.
IASTM techniques help restore pain-free movement and function in soft tissues by improving blood flow, altering biomechanical properties of the tissue, encouraging new cell growth and inhibiting abnormal neural input.
Physical therapists at Sutter Health provide many types of IASTM, such as:
- Graston Technique® therapy
- Astym therapy
- Cupping, an alternative therapy used in traditional Eastern medicine
- Gua sha, and ancient Chinese healing technique
IASTM can efficiently treat a wide variety of conditions, including:
- Achilles tendonitis and tendonosis
- Rotator cuff tendonitis and tendonosis
- Patellar (knee) pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis elbow
- Neck and back strain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Pain from total joint replacements
Contact your local Sutter Physical Therapy office to locate therapists who are trained in these techniques and for more information.