Authors: Matthew Le, AP & Malaina Morales, AP
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
IASTM involves using a smooth, stainless steel tool to access deep myofascial tissue and release adhesions, modulate chronic inflammation, and remodel dysfunctional tissue. After an injury, the inflammatory cascade occurs at the site as the body initiates the healing process. Poor tissue healing may result in fibrosis and scar tissue, which can cause restricted blood flow and limit nutrient and oxygen supply to the tissues and interfere with collagen synthesis. This altered tissue can cause chronic pain and increase the likelihood of repeated injury.
IASTM produces microvascular and capillary hemorrhage and localized inflammation, which is helpful in breaking down fibrotic adhesions and scar tissue. This process also increases the flow of blood and nutrients into the area and leads to the synthesis of new collagen and tissue regeneration. By recruiting and activating fibroblasts (connective tissue cells that synthesize collagen and play a role in wound healing) at the site, healing is accelerated and collagen deformation is corrected.1 Essentially, IASTM works by breaking down poorly-healed and dysfunctional tissue in order to replace it with healthy tissue.
We provide local injections into common areas of pain, such as the large muscle groups of the back which are prone to developing myofascial trigger points and into the joints such as the knee and shoulder where old injuries, arthritis, or degeneration can cause chronic pain. We only inject natural, FDA-approved substances such as saline, which are safe and effective for relieving pain.2
Injection Therapy can be especially beneficial for conditions such as ligament injuries, joint degeneration, and other moderate to severe pain conditions. Because it involves the use of a thicker gauge needle and the injection of a mild irritant, Injection Therapy may be able to elicit more powerful results than dry needling alone.
Cupping Therapy involves introducing a flame into a glass cup and then quickly placing it onto the skin in order to create a vacuum. The negative pressure helps to elongate and stretch the myofascial tissue, increase blood flow, and relieve pain.3 This therapy is excellent for targeting the large muscle groups of the body.
It is indicated for myofascial tension that causes pain or nerve entrapment. Some examples include piriformis syndrome, IT band syndrome, and tension headaches/migraines triggered by tension in the trapezius, rhomboids, and levator scapulae and subsequent compression of the occipital nerve. In summary, Cupping Therapy is best for widespread tension, tightness, and pain.
Intramuscular Electrical Stimulation is performed by attaching electrodes to acupuncture needles in order to transmit a mild electrical impulse to the muscle tissue. This therapy is a useful addition to dry needling treatments because it helps increase pain relief effects by activating the release of endorphins in the central nervous system.4 It also helps desensitize overexcited pain receptors.5
We offer a variety of Soft-Tissue Therapies aimed at relieving pain and promoting tissue healing. These therapies are safe, natural, and effective. By utilizing your body's own innate repair mechanisms, we can promote the regeneration of healthy tissue to help you achieve lasting pain relief. In addition to these therapies, we also recommend stretching daily, prioritizing quality sleep, and being mindful about your posture. In regards to nutrition, we recommend that you optimize your nutritient status and try to avoid inflammatory foods in order to optimize tissue healing. For more guidance, please visit this page: Nutrition as an Adjunctive Therapy to Promote Healing and Resolve Inflammation.
1. Kim, J., Sung, D. J., & Lee, J. (2017). Therapeutic effectiveness of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization for soft tissue injury: mechanisms and practical application. Journal of exercise rehabilitation, 13(1), 12–22. https://doi.org/10.12965/jer.1732824.412
2. Roldan, C. J., Osuagwu, U., Cardenas-Turanzas, M., & Huh, B. K. (2020). Normal Saline Trigger Point Injections vs Conventional Active Drug Mix for Myofascial Pain Syndromes. The American journal of emergency medicine, 38(2), 311–316. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2019.158410
3. Trofa, D. P., Obana, K. K., Herndon, C. L., Noticewala, M. S., Parisien, R. L., Popkin, C. A., & Ahmad, C. S. (2020). The Evidence for Common Nonsurgical Modalities in Sports Medicine, Part 2: Cupping and Blood Flow Restriction. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Global research & reviews, 4(1), e19.00105. https://doi.org/10.5435/JAAOSGlobal-D-19-00105
4. Han J. S. (2004). Acupuncture and endorphins. Neuroscience letters, 361(1-3), 258–261. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2003.12.019
5. Shanmugam S, Mathias L, Thakur A, Kumar D. Effects of Intramuscular Electrical Stimulation Using Inversely Placed Electrodes on Myofascial Pain Syndrome in the Shoulder: A Case Series. Korean J Pain. 2016;29(2):136-140. doi:10.3344/kjp.2016.29.2.136