Graston Technique: A New Way to Decrease Pain and Improve Function


The Graston Technique may be a treatment option that your therapist deems appropriate for the management of your condition.

This procedure allows your therapist to detect and treat areas of “scar tissue” (fibrosis) or adhesions in muscles, tendons and ligaments that can lead to pain and dysfunction. During the healing process, our bodies attempt to repair muscles, ligaments and tendons by forming “scar tissue” or fibrosis, like the scar that forms on the skin when you have scraped or cut your knee. Scar tissue is not as strong or flexible as normal, healthy tissue. Over time we can develop a build up of scar tissue, especially in muscles, tendons and ligaments that get a lot of use.

This can lead to pain and dysfunction because this replacement of fibrosed tissue lacks the strength and flexibility of normal tissue (in some cases, it may even mat down and entrap a nerve).

Graston Technique allows your therapist to better detect and treat these areas because it uses a stainless steel instrument that glides along muscle, tendons and ligaments, acting as a scar tissue stethoscope. When knots or bands of granular tissue are detected, both the therapist and patient sense a restriction or granular feeling.

The instrument can then be used to “break up” this restriction or adhesion. Stretching and strengthening exercises are then used to promote realignment of fibers so they behave more like healthy, normal tissue.

Another benefit of Graston Technique is the amount of improvement that can take place in a short amount of time. The unaided hand is sometimes unable to detect and break up as much scar tissue as the stainless steel instruments can. When the Graston Technique is coupled with appropriate strengthening and stretching exercises, it enhances the manual therapy that is part of your rehabilitation and your recovery will be more complete.

The Graston Technique is not appropriate for every condition. However, it is appropriate for many conditions.

Please visit prior to your first treatment. Make sure to watch the educational slideshow on the main page of the website.

Graston Technique (GT) is an instrument-assisted variation of traditional soft tissue mobilization.  The GT instruments consist of six stainless steel instruments of various sizes and contours.  GT is a form of treatment used to “break up” or soften scar tissue, thus allowing the return of normal tissue health and function in the area being treated.

Graston Technique may produce some or all of the following:

  1. Localized discomfort during treatment.
  2. Reddening of the skin, raised blotching or short duration welting.
  3. Localized warmth of the skin over the area treated.
  4. Superficial skin bruising or petechiae (red stipple like blotches).
  5. Post treatment soreness.
  6. A “Spontaneous Tissue Release”.

The long-term goal of Graston Technique is to minimize discomfort, improve motion and restore function in conjunction with other components of physical therapy.

The above reactions to treatment are normal and in some instances, unavoidable. These reactions should subside shortly and not affect your usual daily activities. Your physical therapist may advise you to apply ice or other self-care measures if necessary. Your therapist will follow up and assess your response to each treatment. If you should experience an unanticipated amount of soreness after the treatment, your therapist will adjust your treatment accordingly.

Be sure to perform the specific home exercises that your therapist has discussed with you in order to achieve the best outcome post treatment. It is also recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water to promote tissue healing.

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