OUCH! It Hurts to Move


Zoe Fackelman, PT

When pain comes and goes with activity, specific positions or motions or limits movement, typically we will find adhesions, scar tissue or fascial restrictions. These restrictions come from repetitive micro-trauma preventing fascia, muscle or joint function causing pain and limiting you from your desired activity or sport. At Lake Country Physical Therapy and Sportscare, PC we will use hands-on manual therapy techniques such as Graston Techniques to detect and release the soft tissue quickly. Speaking from experience, the technique is briefly uncomfortable and hurts less than the pain, but then the reward of pain free function is remarkable. Sometimes the technique has been known to leave bruising due to the breaking down of tissue adhesions and fine capillaries from inappropriate healing. This is not something to be alarmed about, as a patient, but it does let us know, as physical therapists, that we are addressing the correct area of tissue adhesions and restrictions.

The formal name of the technique is Graston Technique Instrument – assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (GISTM). The technique uses patented stainless steel instruments that have different shapes for different body contours. It allows us to detect and treat soft tissue problems, dysfunctions, in a precise manner. The instruments facilitate our hands on approach to treatment.

The creator of the Technique developed it out of necessity for himself. He had a severe knee injury and had not responded well to knee surgery or conservative therapies He combined his knowledge as a tool maker with another person, who was an elite track and football athlete, and together they designed the tools and the use for the Graston Technique.

Graston technique can be used to release restricted soft tissue (muscle, ligament, tendon, and fascia) anywhere in the body, whether it is

  • Adhesions or scar tissue from a healing or healed injury or surgery
  • A new sprain or strain
  • Chronic / repetitive strains and sprains such as medial and lateral epicondylitis (Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Neck and Back pain
  • Tendonitis
  • Acute and Chronic sprains / strains of ligaments and muscles
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Heel pain

The Graston Technique has also been known to help patients avoid having joint replacement surgeries by releasing soft tissue contractures or adhesions, which then helps improve joint alignment and better joint biomechanics. This means the joint is moving like it should and in turn can help decrease pain.
Use of the instruments is just one part of the overall approach to your healing. Other steps are necessary such as a thorough evaluation of your problem, controlling inflammation or swelling, joint mobilizations, strengthening and stretching programs, posture education, functional activities, sports specificity training and of course instruction on what you need to do at home to manage your problem such as home self-care pain management and exercise.

The Graston Technique assists recovery with quicker and improved functional outcomes and, more importantly, an improved quality of life.

For more information about Lake Country Physical Therapy and Sportscare, PC, please call
(585) 396-1400, email Zoe@lakecountrypt.flywheelsites.com, or visit us at www.lakecountrypt.com.