Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) uses stainless steel instruments that have different shapes to accommodate different areas of the body. The purpose of it is to assess the tissue quality and to treat that tissue to reduce adhesions, fascial restrictions, and scar tissue that are around or correlated to the injured area of the body. If these are found in tissues, they could restrict range of motion and alter the mechanics of a joint, contributing to increased stress on a joint or in other parts of a muscle/tendon/ligament. If this increase in stress goes on long enough, it can lead to an injury.
The IASTM was patented in 1994 in Indiana and has since grown to more than 13,000 clinicians in different fields of practice including chiropractors, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and occupational therapists.
Some of the common results of utilizing the IASTM with acute or chronic injuries include an immediate increase in range of motion and function and an immediate decrease or elimination of pain. These results are commonly long lasting. Occasionally some tightness or pain will return, but I often see long lasting results as long as the person is compliant with complementary treatments.
A frequent misconception about the IASTM, is that it is painful and will cause bruising. While the technique itself, may be uncomfortable (we are treating injured tissue), it should not be painful. It should be noted that, while bruising is not a goal of the treatment, it may occur. The IASTM is essentially causing controlled inflammation and breakdown of the damaged/injured area to allow proper healing and laying down of tissue to allow for improved function.
At our 2 Raleigh Orthopaedic performance center locations, the IASTM is utilized in two different ways:
- In conjunction with Physical Therapy treatment. Once the Physical Therapist does the initial evaluation, they will determine if the patient is an appropriate candidate for the IASTM and incorporate it into the treatment as needed. The certified IASTM provider has attended both of the IASTM courses that are offered as well as both of the FAKTR (Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehabilitation) courses that are recommended as complementary to the IASTM. She has been practicing the technique for over a year now and has seen excellent results in most of her patients.
- And on a self pay basis during limited hours of the day. This option is for the athlete or active adult that is feeling some limitations in their performance, but does not have any functional restrictions.
If you feel the IASTM is a treatment that would help you, please call or email us to make a Physical Therapy appointment.