Tools of The Trade

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)

Physical therapists must stay on the cutting edge with the latest techniques in rehabilitation to achieve the best results for their clients. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a procedure that is rapidly growing in popularity due to its effectiveness and efficiency, while remaining non-invasive. For those who are struggling with a chronic injury or want to bounce back from a recent injury, IASTM may be the treatment you need to help you recover from a soft-tissue injury.

What is IASTM?

When the body sustains an injury, the immune response aims to prevent further damage and repair the injury as quickly as possible by laying down scar tissue. Scar tissue is not the same as skin, muscle, ligament, or tendon. The arrangement of scar tissue is in an irregular pattern and does not resemble the properties of healthy tissue. This scar tissue may contribute to pain, limited range of motion or loss of function in muscles and joints that have been injured. IASTM treatment utilizes tools, usually stainless steel, to break up scar tissue at an injury site. Combined with proper movement, stretching, and cold therapy after treatment, the body restores normal tissue structure and function. Treatments are short, specific, and effective for a wide variety of ailments. The benefits of IASTM include pain relief, increased flexibility, increased strength, enhanced recovery, and often result in a complete resolution of symptoms.

What does it feel like?

IASTM treatment typically feels like the handle of a butter knife being rubbed back and forth over your skin.  A massage lotion is typically used as a lubricant help the tool glide over the skin.  While the treatment creates inflammation, it’s common for the client to regard the treatment as a “good hurt”. Often there is an immediate improvement in flexibility and decrease in pain after treatment. Each treatment session is short and is very specific. Common side effects include local discomfort, redness, and occasional bruising at the treatment site.  These side effects usually subside within 1-2 days following treatment.

Will it work for me?

Many conditions can be successfully resolved through the administration of IASTM. Treatments can be performed to almost any part of the body. Examples of conditions treated with IASTM include: rotator cuff injuries, knee injuries, ITB syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow tendonitis, neck/back pain and common strains/sprains. After surgery, IASTM can speed up recovery and prevent scar formation that may hinder a full recovery. IASTM treatment is provided at Direct Physical Therapy. Give us a call at (541) 482-5525 to schedule an appointment to receive this cutting edge treatment.