The Graston Technique to ease pain

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
March 20, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
There is a way to get rid of pain without surgery or medication. The technique uses steel tools to loosen tissue, and it's been very successful.Seven's On call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg.

It's a technique that has been patented and is used only by trained chiropractors and sports trainers. It involves specific tools, and it's a method that can relive some painful conditions.

Sharon Klamzar couldn't even step out of bed in the morning.

"I woke up one morning and could not put my foot down," she said.

She had plantar fasciitis, painful swelling of the tissue under the heel.

Sharon got no relief from anti-inflammatory injections.

"It just came back again," she said.

However, she did get relief from a treatment called the Graston Technique. Physical therapist Jamie Howard became a believer after nothing helped a nagging muscle injury.

"It was the only thing that would work out the tightness in my leg," she said.

When muscles, tendons or ligaments are injured, they can heal haphazardly, with random scar tissue forming. The area can be tight and painful.

The Graston Technique breaks up those fibers and smoothes the tissue underneath. Even though the stainless steel tools look more like torture devices, Howard says they are essential in finding and loosening scar tissue.

"You can feel things you just can't with your hands," she said.

There are different tools for different body parts.

There is one for the back or neck. There is another for carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger, or tendonitis of the thumb. The Graston Technique has become a staple for professional sports trainers. The Philadephia Flyers, Sixers and Eagles use it extensively.

Dr. Richard Goldberg, a rehabilitation specialist, has seen good results with his patients.

"I don't think there's much of a downside to the Graston Technique," he said.

Patients usually receive two treatments per week, for four to six weeks. On average, improvement comes after the third or fourth treatment. The technique developers say it's successful 60 to 90 percent of the time.

To find someone who uses this technique near you, click here.