Adjunctive procedures are some of the tools in our tool belt to create an individualized plan of care. Although the additional therapies usually aren’t enough to correct the musculoskeletal complaints alone, they can help relieve pain, decrease muscle tension, and promote healing when used appropriately. If you have any other questions or would like to make an appointment, please check out the FAQsorcontact us.
Manual Muscle Therapies
Manual muscle therapies is the generic term for techniques that work directly on the muscles. More specifically, the names of these soft tissue techniques include: massage, trigger point therapy, myofascial release technique, pin and stretch, post isometric relaxation technique, and muscle stripping and stretching. The main focus of these therapies is to reduce muscle tension and knots (aka trigger points) in order to restore full muscle function and reduce pain.
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) aka Graston Technique
IASTM is the generic term for a technique muscle stripping technique in which the doctor uses a metal or buffalo horn tool. Most people recognize this technique as Graston. However, this mode of therapy has been used for at least 2,000 years in Chinese Medicine and is known as guasha (gwah-shah). The main focus of IASTM is to restore the altered soft tissue into normal physiological tissues. For more details on IASTM, please visit the IASTM aka Graston Technique.
Cyriax is another type of soft tissue technique accomplished with a separate tool. This technique differs from IASTM in that it is focused on one area rather than a general sweep of a large area. For example, you may have been diagnosed with tennis elbow and we will use IASTM to focus on the entire muscle, but use Cyriax to focus specifically on the tendon that is causing the pain. Similarly to IASTM, the focus of Cyriax is to restore the altered tissues to normal physiological tissues.
Electrical Stimulation is a therapy applied through pads applied directly to the skin. When turned on, the machine delivers an electrical current between the pads. Most commonly, there are two main focuses to apply electrical stimulation: 1) pain relief and 2) to decrease muscular spasm or tension. Pain relief is accomplished by creating high frequency current over an area, between the pads. In doing this, the fast nerve fibers sensory input is activated and overrides the slow pain nerve fibers sensory input. Decreasing muscular spasm or tension is accomplished by creating lower frequency current over an area that is turned up enough to allow the muscle to jump. This allows the exchange of nutrients in that area to allow the muscles to relax.
Therapeutic ultrasound is used to treat soft tissue lesions, most commonly sprains/strains. The therapy is delivered through the ultrasound head at a very high frequency. There are also two modes of action for ultrasound: 1) continuous ultrasound and 2) pulsed ultrasound. Continuous ultrasound is more commonly used for chronic injuries to promote healing by increasing blood flow to the area. Pulsed ultrasound is used for acute injuries in order to control the amount of inflammation in the area. Ultrasound is best used for plantar fasciitis, pulled muscles, and sprains.
Low Level Laser Therapy
Low level laser therapy (LLLT or laser) is used to allow changes to tissues and cells in the body. These changes include reduction of pain and stimulation of healing. Some conditions that improve best with laser therapy include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, nerve impingements, and other paresthesias or nerve-type pain.
Kinesiotaping is a newer technique that is most commonly being used for professional athletes around the world. There are two modes of action for kinesiotaping: 1) promoting healing and 2) support. The kinesiotape promotes healing due to the unique design and elasticity which will lift the skin in an area to allow fluid exchange. Additionally, decreased inflammation allows decreased pain and furthermore promote pain-free movement to that body region. Movement is a natural process to promote healing. When used for support, the kinesiotape is applied using a different technique. This technique works by activating the mechanoreceptors in the skin, and through biomechanical feedback from the brain, calling on the muscles below that area to activate.