Chiropractors often utilize instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization therapy (IASTT) when managing certain conditions as part of their treatment plans. We often get questions about how IASTM works, and to whom it may benefit.
What is IASTT/IASTM?
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization Therapy is an evidence informed approach to the management of soft tissue conditions. Practitioners will use a stainless steel tool to work on any areas they feel demonstrate scar tissue or restrictions within the fascia and underlying soft tissue. With the specifically designed tools which have bevelled edges, your chiropractor effectively detects and treats areas which may have tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. In conjunction with exercises and other therapies it can decrease your overall healing time and assist in resolving chronic inflammatory concerns.
What types of conditions can be treated with IASTT?
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Therapy is well researched, and is known to help improve range of motion and improve soft tissue healing and repair. We can treat a wide range of conditions with IASTT, often in cases of ligament/tendon/muscle injury or nerve entrapment conditions. Some examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, knee injury/inflammation, and shoulder injuries.
Case example: Ankle Inversion Sprain
Following an ankle sprain, your chiropractor may utilize instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization to aid in the healing process of the ligaments and other soft tissues within the ankle. Your injured ligaments are mobilized with the metal tool to decrease inflammation and decrease the development of tissue fibrosis. The tool is strategically run along the ligaments and through surrounding soft tissue as part of the treatment. This technique is usually part of a larger treatment plan which would also include rehabilitative exercises, and may also be done as the patient moves the ankle through weighted/unweighted ranges of motion. Generally, some soreness or short term aggravation of symptoms may be felt following treatment, however a quicker resolution of pain and increase in function is to be expected.
If you would like to learn more, book a free consultation to discuss with Dr Hamilton. For more information please check out: http://www.grastontechnique.com/AboutUs/ASynopsis.html
Chiropractic care is not promoted enough as an option to people suffering pain or injuries. Many patients I see say things like "I wish I knew to see you sooner" or "I can't believe I waited so long". Unfortunately our profession is shrouded in many myths, and there are some out there not practicing under an Evidence-Based paradigm. I would like to help bring a spotlight on the positive benefits of care (and what the research says), and ways in which chiropractors can help! Here's a great article on what to expect during your first visit, from the CCA:
Believe it or not, your feet can be a factor in the development of chronic low back pain. Your feet act as a very important foundation for your body, and can dictate how you adapt to stresses and changes in activity. Your feet strike the ground and propel you forwards, and faulty foot biomechanics can result in pain and dysfunction in other joints and structures in the body. If you think of your body as a kinetic chain from the ground up, your weight-bearing feet and ankles function as shock absorbers for the whole body. If your feet are not working effectively at this job, the shock and stress makes its way up the biomechanical chain in your body. This concept often gets lost in translation, and people do not always understand the missing link between the feet and the back.
The most common offending foot dysfunction leading to back pain and other issues is over-pronation, or the inward rolling/dropping of the arches. As the foot over-pronates, the feet become flat and therefore absorb less shock when you walk or run. The rest of your body is then forced to compensate for faulty foot mechanics; your pelvis may slightly drop, your knees may rotate, and you may develop a slight lean. Over time, this adaptation may lead to the development of pain in other areas of the body such as in the back, neck, knees, hips, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia. In one study, it was found that women with flat feet are almost 50% more likely to develop low back pain.
When faulty foot mechanics are a factor in low back pain, one way to approach is to consider supporting your foot as you walk or run. When I see patients with chronic back or hip pain that are not responding to treatment and exercise recommendations, I often look to the feet as a possible solution. Using foot orthotics to support your feet can help you with foot pain, and they can change the way your whole body moves and adapts.
Orthotics have been shown to be beneficial for low back pain in a number of studies on groups exposed to higher levels of foot stress (such as in runners, military recruits, and golfers). The idea behind using orthotics for back pain- as your feet are better supported, your body becomes more balanced as you stand and walk. Eliminating imbalances in your feet will cause a ripple effect up the biomechanical chain in your body. Studies show that people suffering from chronic or re-occurring low back pain tend to respond very well to custom orthotics within 6 weeks of wearing them. So if you have been suffering from low back pain which continues even after a course of conservative care/exercise, consider taking a look to your feet as another part of the puzzle.
Happy Friday! Here's a great infographic to remind us all of how we should be sitting at work. Take this moment to check your posture out!
Taking care of your back is an important factor in maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. Your back and its related structures (muscles, nerves, joints, and ligaments) work hard every day to keep you upright and moving through your daily activities. Unfortunately, statistics show that almost 80% of Canadians will suffer from low back pain throughout their lives. Low back pain can originate from a number of different structures, and may manifest immediately following an injury or it may be delayed by a day or two. Posture can play an important role in how your body responds to certain movements, and poor posture and weak core stability can pre-dispose you to a greater risk of injury and pain.
So what exactly is low back pain, and what causes it? Lower back pain can result from a number of causes, including: muscle strain, restrictions in the movement of the spinal joints or pelvis, irritations of the joints in the spine, irritated spinal nerves, disc injuries, and sprains. Sometimes, something as simple as sleeping on your stomach or shovelling the driveway can lead to low back pain. Injury to the low back may also irritate the longest nerve in the body called the sciatic nerve, which runs from the low back down the back of the thigh where it eventually branches below the knee to the foot. Symptoms of sciatic nerve irritation include burning and tingling along the back of the thigh, and weakness of the leg and foot muscles.
The key to limiting your potential for low back pain is prevention! Maintaining an active lifestyle will help to keep your muscles and joints moving in your low back. Strengthening your core muscles will also enable your back to move in a well supported and balanced way. Activities like yoga, swimming, and walking are very beneficial, and simple moves at home to keep your core and legs strong will help reduce your risk for low back pain. Encourage yourself to take breaks from sitting, and avoid movements which decrease the natural curve of your low back. A little effort throughout the day can go a long way towards improving your posture and reducing your risk of developing low back pain. For short periods of low back pain, you should avoid bed-rest (keep moving!), and use ice to help decrease the pain and inflammation.
If you do experience low back pain that lasts longer than a couple of days, consult with a chiropractor for an assessment. We will assess your ranges of motion, and examine your back to determine the cause of your pain. For those who may benefit from chiropractic care, conservative treatment of the low back may include: soft tissue therapy, spinal manipulation or mobilization, rehabilitative exercises, electrotherapy or laser, and acupuncture. Chiropractors are highly educated about back pain, and will work alongside you and your family healthcare team to get you feeling your best. We also work to educate patients on the reasons why they developed the low back pain, and ways in which they can self-manage to decrease the risk of re-injury.