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After experiencing trauma from an accident or surgery, your body automatically begins its healing process. For the most part, this process is beneficial. It puts back together key structures and strives to get your body to a place where it can function normally.

But in some cases, the scar tissue that is left behind can become painful and even limit your range of motion, especially in soft tissue. Muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia are all parts of soft tissue and are exceedingly difficult areas to treat.

IASTM, also known as instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, has been practiced for more than 25 years and continues to be an excellent way to treat soft tissue injuries. If you would like to schedule an appointment with our office and find out if IASTM treatment is right for you, contact the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio at 419-424-0131.

What Is IASTM?

When you sustain an injury to your soft tissue, your body automatically floods the area with collagen, a protein that provides structure to many parts of your body. These newly developed collagen-dense areas are scar tissue.

In a healthy soft tissue structure, the soft tissue is able to move freely. When an area is scarred, the excess collagen can often make it feel tight and painful. IASTM techniques were explicitly developed to restore flexibility and reduce pain in these scarred areas.

The treatment involves applying precise pressure to a targeted area to relieve tension caused by the scar tissue. This pressure also creates microtrauma in the tissue, which triggers the healing process and provides pain relief.

What Does IASTM Achieve?

By applying targeted pressure with the stainless steel instruments throughout the problematic soft tissues, the scarring is re-molded, allowing the muscle to move more freely and preventing the pain that is associated with that tension.

Through this process, you will likely experience reduced pain, increased range of motion and improved overall functionality. The controlled microtrauma that is created during the treatment helps to stimulate collagen production in the correct pattern.

Am I a Good Candidate for IASTM?

IASTM can help address a host of both acute and chronic conditions that cause pain or discomfort, including:

  • Ankle pain
  • Hip pain
  • Neck pain
  • Tingling digits
  • Tingling arms
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Tennis elbow
  • Strained ligaments
  • Pulled muscles
  • Edema reduction
  • IT band
  • Hamstring injuries
  • Trigger finger
  • Pain caused by post-surgical and traumatic scarring
  • Plantar fasciitis

If you have developed any of the conditions or symptoms listed above, you are likely a candidate for IASTM. You should also know that this is not a complete list of treatable conditions, and that this technique is only part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

What Should I Expect During an IASTM Procedure?

Prior to the procedure, you will typically be asked to warm your muscles up by completing five minutes of cardiovascular exercise. This is to increase the blood flow throughout your body, optimizing the healing process. The cardiovascular warmup is an important part of IASTM.

After the cardiovascular warmup has been completed, you will then be asked to sit or lie down in the treatment room. Your therapist will then use appropriate stainless steel instruments to assess areas of concern. The instruments are then used during a massage to penetrate deep into the soft tissue layers, disrupting the scar tissue structures.

The specially designed instruments are what set IASTM apart from similar treatments. They are only available to licensed therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers and other practitioners that have been trained to use them. Once the treatment has been completed, it is typical for patients to apply ice for around 15 minutes if any soreness has developed.

Is IASTM Painful?

IASTM requires a certain amount of force to be applied in order to reach the scar tissue. Sometimes, this pressure can become slightly uncomfortable — especially around areas that are already sore — but you should not feel any intense pain during the procedure.

It is normal to experience some level of bruising following IASTM treatment, and by using a reliable physician or physical therapist from the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio, you ensure that no unnecessary damage or discomfort is caused.

Will My Practitioner Combine IASTM with Other Procedures?

IASTM provides the best results when it is used with other procedures in a comprehensive treatment plan that will be developed by one of our therapists. Once the plan has been finalized, you will be given a set of instructions to follow that will maximize the effectiveness of your treatment.

Begin Your IASTM Treatment in Ohio

Chronic or acute pain can have a substantial impact on your quality of life. That impact can be as small as making it difficult for you to perform an everyday chore or as large as preventing you from embracing a loved one. But we are confident that IASTM treatment can get you to a place where these limitations are few and far between.

We are looking forward to being your partner through this process, so if you would like to schedule an appointment to see if IASTM is right for you, give our office a call at 419-424-0131 or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.