How Graston Technique can Treat Running Injuries
Graston Technique® can be a tool to help your body heal as the training season progresses. As your mileage increases, injuries become an ever-present danger to achieving your goals. As a runner, you’re asking your body to absorb a large amount of force over an extended period of time.
Hopefully, your body is prepared and seamlessly adapts to the increase, but this isn’t always the case and the end result can be an injury. My question to you is, “What are you going to do about your injury?”
Graston Technique® is one of your options, and it’s a good one. Graston is being utilized by athletes all over the world from professionals to collegiate athletes to the weekend warriors. It can treat everything from chronic pain to an acute injury. Carpal tunnel, headaches, pulled muscles, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis and runner’s knee are just a small sample of the conditions that can be alleviated through the proper application of Graston Technique.
What Is Graston Technique?
Graston Technique is a soft tissue technique that uses specially designed stainless steel instruments. They are used to detect and treat scar tissue and fascial adhesions. Adhesions cause restrictions within the tissues which can result in a decrease in range of motion or pain.
The six instruments are designed specifically for the contours of the body. They are used to scan over the tissues to identify areas of fibrotic tissue. When these areas are identified, the instruments are then used to massage the area to break up the adhesions and restoring proper function to the treated tissue.
Do Graston Tools Hurt?
Patients are often hesitant to try Graston because it sounds and looks painful. The Graston Instruments look like they came out of some Medieval torture chamber, but if used according to the Graston protocol, it is usually fairly comfortable. Discomfort is a possibility, but whenever I perform it on someone I aim to keep the discomfort to a maximum of a 5/10 on a pain scale.
This is an important aspect of Graston Technique because if treatment gets too painful, we risk further injury to the tissue and the recruitment of specific neuroreceptors that can cause the tissue to spasm. This can be one of the Graston Technique Side Effects. When I’m performing Graston on a patient, I’m constantly communicating with them about their pain level and making sure the treatment isn’t too aggressive.
After the first treatment, the response I typically hear is, “That wasn’t so bad” or “I thought it would hurt more than that.” If treatment is done on a chronic injury, it actually tends to feel pretty good.
Graston Treatment During Training
Graston protocol suggests that the best treatment plan is twice a week for 4-5 weeks. I recommend twice a week for 3 weeks. This can vary, but that is a pretty typical treatment plan in my office, and here’s why: if you don’t see improvement within 3 treatments, I’m re-evaluating, trying a different treatment or referring to someone else with a different approach. Patients tend to see improvements early on with this treatment and if we aren’t seeing them, then I want to make sure I’m not missing something.
One of the great things about Graston Technique is that people are usually able to continue training while they are receiving treatment depending on the amount of pain they are experiencing. The treatment is correcting dysfunctional movement patterns within the tissue which will allow for more efficient movement. Neurologically, the body gets used to the dysfunctional movement pattern and needs to relearn the corrected movement pattern. The only way to do this is through movement.
Try Graston Sooner Rather than Later
So, if you are experiencing an injury, don’t hesitate to have it treated with Graston Technique. It increases healing time, has a high success rate and may allow you to avoid injections, medications and surgery. I actually avoided knee surgery due to the use of this technique. It’s also backed by clinical research. So, why not give it a shot? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Have you tried Graston Technique? What was your experience?
Leave a comment below if you have a nagging injury and are curious if Graston might help.