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What exactly is the Graston technique?

The Graston Technique, also known as instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization (IASTM), is a therapeutic approach in which specialized tools are employed to massage or scrape the skin. Chiropractors, physicians, physiotherapists, trainers, and other therapists all perform this type of manual therapy.

Goals of the Graston Technique

The main goals involve minimizing pain and boosting function using a combination of:

  • Scar tissue breakdown typically occurs as a result of trauma, such as a strained muscle or a stretched or torn ligament, tendon, or muscle.
  • Connective tissue stretching promotes increased movement and plays a crucial role in reshaping the structure of soft tissues.
  • Promotion of a healthy environment for tissue healing.


The human back consists of an intricate network of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascial tissues. Any injury or trauma affecting these delicate soft tissues can lead to a variety of complications and issues. Potential symptoms of back problems can encompass pain, diminished functionality, and various other discomforts. It is often mistakenly believed that muscle strains are inconsequential injuries.. In fact, a muscle strain can result in horrible pain and difficulty in moving. Overall, this technique provides many advantages including:

  • Reducing total treatment time.
  • Promoting quicker recovery.
  • Decreasing the reliance on anti-inflammatory medicines.
  • Helping chronic conditions that are considered permanent.

Research indicates that IASTM therapy has the potential to stimulate nerve fibers, while also positively impacting the body's mechanoreceptors and proprioceptors. Such treatments have shown promising outcomes in enhancing overall wellness and functional well-being.

How does it work?

This technique is an integral part of spinal adjustment. In addition, it utilizes specialized handheld instruments and a unique form of massage. Both components play a crucial role in aiding chiropractors in identifying problematic areas and effectively breaking down scar tissue.

What tools are used in the technique?

This set consists of six primary tools, expertly crafted from stainless steel, available in both convex and concave designs. The tools feature smooth, rounded edges that ensure safety while effectively scanning for areas of traumatic fibrotic tissue.

What is Graston massage?

This technique involves cross-friction, where the scar tissue is gently brushed or scrubbed by a chiropractor to stimulate healing. By applying controlled pressure, the chiropractor introduces a slight amount of trauma to the affected area, promoting effective scar tissue management.. Sometimes, this spinal adjustment can result in inflammation. This also improves the rate and degree of blood flow surrounding the area. The idea is that this helps start and continue the healing process.

This spinal adjustment emphasizes the interconnectedness of the kinetic chain. Consequently, a patient who has back pain can also get treatment for their other muscles. These muscles encompass the hips, abdomen, hamstrings, shoulders, and other areas of the body. Many individuals think of muscles as separate entities, but in reality, they are all interconnected through the fascia. Therefore, it is possible to address and treat them as a cohesive unit.

So, what should I expect from this technique?

The general course of treatment for lower back pain can last 1 to 10 sessions. This takes part over a time span of several weeks. No medicines are needed along with this manual spinal adjustment. Patients getting therapy using the Technique should expect:

Before treatment

Prior to undergoing any treatment, individuals are advised to engage in a daily five-minute routine of physical activity. This can encompass a variety of options, ranging from pedalling an exercise bike to utilizing a treadmill. On the chiropractor's suggestion, ultrasound or heat therapy can also be used. This helps to warm up the tissues to make treatment more effective.

During treatment

The chiropractor will utilize appropriate Graston technique instruments to assess and treat the injured area. Typically, the therapy involves the chiropractor gently brushing the affected area(s). This technique is aimed at promoting healing and recovery. With treatment completed, patients can expect to see an improved range of motion. Furthermore, it reduces pain by a great deal. Pillars of Wellness can help you get in touch with the right chiropractor to get you the help you need.

After treatment

Following the session, individuals may be advised to take part in some light exercise. This helps to further enhance healing and reduce pain. Additionally, a nutritional plan may be suggested by the chiropractor for optimal healing. Individuals must listen to their bodies and practice mindful self-care when it comes to managing any pain or discomfort experienced from the treatment.


The technique has the potential to treat acute and chronic conditions such as:

  • Lower back pain.
  • Any muscle strain or sprain.
  • Achilles tendinosis.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Neck muscle strain or sprain.
  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis.
  • Shin splints.
  • Tennis or golfer's elbow.

What about any contraindications?

The Graston technique may not be suitable for individuals experiencing pain from soft-tissue trauma. It is important to consider that this technique is not recommended for those with conditions that contraindicate tissue mobilization. Additionally, individuals with the following concerns should exercise caution when considering the use of this technique:

  • Open wounds surrounding the injured area.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Tumors or cancer (size as well as location are important factors).
  • Pregnancy.
  • Untreated, complicated fractures.
  • Specific kinds of kidney disorders.
  • Conditions requiring blood thinners.

How the Graston technique helped Ruth overcome her disability

Ruth suffered a hamstring injury in January 2015, leaving her feeling helpless due to the pain and stiffness. Despite trying various ineffective treatments, she stumbled upon the Graston technique, which prompted her to reach out to a chiropractor.

After undergoing treatment, Ruth now walks effortlessly and pain-free. Pillars of Wellness, a renowned clinic in Burlington, offers a comprehensive range of services including chiropractic care, yoga, and physical therapy. Whether you're dealing with chronic pain or other health concerns, our clinic is here to assist you. Begin your journey to recovery today by booking an appointment and taking the first step towards a better life.

Laurent Pinci
Laurent Pinci
Pillars of Wellness is a truly Integrated Healthcare Centre providing a high degree of collaboration and communication among health providers.