More often than not, injury begets soft tissue issues. As a result, hypomobility is an inevitable roadblock that will further hinder the body from returning to complete health and function. It is a clinician’s job to identify mobility restrictions through comprehensive assessment techniques, but the treatment of the injury is a multifaceted factor to determine. The professionals at Advances in Clinical Education have perfected this concept and released a simple protocol for recognizing and managing mobility restrictions.

How to identify and treat mobility impairments

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The process begins with passive physiologic motion testing. If your patient identifies as hypomobile, they suggest working through the following steps:

  • Start with accessory movement testing and mobility reset techniques.
    • Attack any joint restriction with appropriate joint mobilizations.
    • Treat any soft tissue restriction with appropriate manual therapy/stretching.
      • Michael Voight PT, DHSc, OCS, SCS, ATC, CSCS, FAPTA of ACE noted, “Simple stretching alone rarely makes long-term changes… when tightness is identified somewhere in the body, there may be a weakness existing somewhere else in the body. Targeting the tightness alone creating stability and strength somewhere else is a short-term gain at best!”
    • Have the patient perform their own soft tissue mobilizations, dynamic and static stretches or self-mobilizations to reinforce the manual work.
  • Provide reinforcement protocols wherever possible.
  • Once mobility is established, treat as if the problem were a stability/motor control dysfunction.

How instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization fits into the equation

Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is a manual therapy technique that utilizes instruments or tools to massage and manipulate the soft tissue. Clinicians use this methodology to:

  • Improve general tissue mobility
  • Detect and release scar tissue, adhesions and fascial restrictions
  • Stimulate neurological drive
  • Facilitate the soft tissue healing process
  • Break up abnormal cross linkages between muscle, tendon or fascia and return the injured area to its optimal function

“The goal of IASTM is to provide an optimal healing environment for connective tissue by modifying the physiologic responses to injury, such as inflammation, or by enhancing components of normal musculoskeletal function, such as increasing range of motion and strength,” said Voight.

When paired with other strengthening and rehabilitative techniques, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization is a perfect adjunct therapy to add to your soft tissue management arsenal. Dr. Voight and his team at Advances in Clinical Education helped develop the Scrape, Tape and Move course to demonstrate this by teaching clinicians how to utilize movement assessment, IASTM, kinesiology tape and elastic resistance to become a rehabilitation powerhouse. Learn more about their curriculum and find a course near you!

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