Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

Occupational Therapy

Advisor

Bernadette Kroon PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA

Keywords

instrument assisted soft-tissue mobilization, IASTM, therapeutic intervention, pain management, range of motion

Abstract

This project began in partnership with the Inland Hospital occupational therapy department in Waterville, Maine. The therapists were interested in evidence on the effectiveness of instrument assisted soft-tissue mobilization (IASTM) as a therapeutic intervention for their patients. This technique is an alternative form of therapeutic massage, which uses metal instruments to treat soft-tissue adhesions. This project looked into therapeutic outcomes of IASTM for use on adults with physical dysfunction, specifically those experiencing pain or loss of range of motion. The project reviewed numerous studies on the topic of IASTM. Eleven articles were selected to be included in the final project based on highest level of evidence, relevant outcome measures, and use of IASTM tools. Findings suggest that IASTM gives relief from the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome as well as low back pain in the long-term. Standard IASTM treatment times do not appear to be effective at improving muscular performance. IASTM appears to be effective at increasing peripheral blood flow to the area being treated. Several studies also demonstrate that IASTM is effective at decreasing pain and increasing musculoskeletal range of motion, although more evidence is needed to determine which specific diagnoses, treatment areas, and treatment strategies will result in the most beneficial clinical outcomes.

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