A soft-tissue injury involves damage to the muscles, ligaments, tendons and/or fascia somewhere in the body. Common soft-tissue injuries usually occur from a sprain, strain, blow to the body resulting in a contusion (ruptured blood vessels/bruising), or overuse of a particular body part. Soft tissue injuries can result in pain, swelling, bruising and loss of function. Adhesions within the soft tissue may develop as a result of repeated strain, surgery, immobilization or other mechanisms.
What is IASTM?
IASTM involves using a range of tools to enable clinicians to efficiently locate and treat individuals diagnosed with soft-tissue dysfunction. Most tools are made with plastic or metal, but there are other materials used as well. At Flicker Physical Therapy, I use a metal tool made by Endiglow.
How does it work?
Often, patients with soft-tissue injuries do not seek out physical therapy until the injuries have become chronic. By this point, the body has completed most of its self-healing process. No scar tissue and adhesions have formed, which limits motion and often causes pain. Scar tissue and adhesions essentially act like super glue in your body. When scar tissue is created after injury, new cells are laid down excessively and in a very disorganized manner. Scar tissue/adhesions prevent the muscle or other tissues from lengthening appropriately.
It is often necessary for the physical therapist to restart the healing process in order to remodel the soft tissues in the affected area and this is done using IASTM. IASTM introduces controlled microtrauma to the affected soft tissue and stimulates a local inflammatory response. The microtrauma initiates reabsorption of inappropriate or excessive scar tissue and facilitates a remodeling of the affected soft-tissue structures. After IASTM treatment, scar tissue can be remodeled so that the cells become organized in a direction that better promotes movement.
What soft tissue injuries is IASTM appropriate for?