After running my spring marathon, I had so many plans for epic summer running. I couldn’t wait to change up my routine, check out some trails and remember the feeling of a hot, sweaty run. But while the rest of my body recovered from my marathon, my right calf was not healing as quickly. I tried to deny the familiar pain and just pretend it was a sore muscle, but deep down in my sinking heart, I knew it: TENDINITIS.
Ah, tendinitis, my old foe, had returned to derail my running plans. The last time we tangled it took me weeks to seek professional diagnosis and treatment, so at least this time I had the benefit of experience on my side. Once I moved past denial, I picked up the phone immediately and scheduled an appointment with my chiropractor to begin Graston treatment.
What IS Graston, anyway?
Graston® is an evidence-based technique for aiding in the healing process of soft tissue injuries, such as tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and more. The purpose of the Graston technique is to break up scar tissue and fascial restrictions. In time this will reduce or eliminate the adhered fibers, restore range of motion, and eliminate the pain from the injury.
How is Graston performed?
Your clinician (in my case, my chiropractor) uses a stainless steel instrument to treat the affected area by moving it back and forth slowly over the injury for several minutes. The amount of pressure, speed and time used will vary depending on the severity of your injury and tolerance to the pain. In my case, as my tendinitis heals, he has been able to put more pressure on the injury over time as the tendons loosen up.
Does this hurt?
Uh … take a look at the photo. Yeah, it hurts.
You will likely experience discomfort from this procedure. I tell my friends that it feels like my leg is meat being tenderized. But don’t let this scare you! It is a pain that I know is productive because I will ultimately heal faster. You may also experience some bruising from Graston, depending on pressure and whether you are prone to bruises in general.
How many times do I have to get Graston?
This is going to vary greatly, depending on the injury and its severity. In my case, I receive Graston treatments 1-2 times per week, and have been doing so for about 5 weeks. This is not indicative of how long you may need treatments, however. I am actually receiving treatments on my left leg, which flared up just as my right leg was fully healed. You will work closely with your provider to determine length and frequency of treatment.
In my personal experience, I have found Graston to be extremely helpful. Tendinitis and other soft-tissue injuries can be stubborn and lingering, but Graston has helped speed along the healing process. The most important thing I have learned is to be patient with the process and fight the urge to run before I’m ready. All my tendinitis setbacks have occurred because I tried to run before the injury was healed. Recently though, I have been better about listening to my body, and it’s not surprising that I am healing faster!
Have you received Graston or seen its benefits? If not, would you try it?