Many runners are sidelined from training because of soft tissue injuries such as Achilles or patellar tendonitis, ITB syndrome, plantar fasciitis, or hip bursitis, to name a few. If you have ever experienced any of these injuries and sought medical attention, the first thing the doctor or therapist tells you is to stop running. That is the last thing an avid runner wants to hear! As an orthopedic sports medicine physical therapist for over 30 years, I have searched for game-changing treatments and technologies that help my clients get out of pain, recover quickly and stay in the game. One of those game-changing treatments that is unmatched in its ability to resolve tendinopathies, scar tissue problems, and other soft tissue dysfunctions is called Astym.
Astym is safe, non-invasive, effective, and one of the most researched soft tissue treatments available. Astym Therapy is “a-stimulation” of the body’s natural healing response that engages the body’s natural restorative mechanisms. Developed by leading research hospitals and universities, Astym therapy stimulates healing, remodeling, and rebuilds soft tissue using proven protocols that deliver 96.5% success rate even when other treatments have failed.
So how does it work?
First, we stimulate: As an Astym-certified therapist, we conduct a thorough evaluation, and then follow specific treatment parameters to initiate a regenerative process that encourages the resorption of scar tissue and the regeneration of damaged soft tissues. Providers use FDA-registered medical instruments and run along muscles, tendons, and ligaments to identify areas of damaged soft tissue causing pain and restricted mobility. You will feel bumps as the instrument moves along your skin. These bumps indicate defective or damaged soft tissue. The first couple of treatments may range from being only slightly noticeable to mildly uncomfortable. As your body heals, those bumps will decrease and the area around your injury will smooth out nicely, indicating healing. Most patients typically experience a decrease in pain with an increase in movement within the first 1-3 treatments.
Then you stretch and strengthen: It’s up to you to guide how your body heals. Your therapist will give you a customized stretching and strengthening program designed to encourage your body to maximize the strength and agility of soft tissue. Stretching tells the new fibers to line up properly, in nice parallel lines, and strengthening makes them stronger. One of the things I love most about ASTYM is that during therapy, our athletes are typically encouraged to continue most normal activities and exercise.
It really fixes the problem: Astym treatment doesn’t just treat the symptoms or hide a problem with a temporary solution. Instead, the Astym targets the problem and stimulates the body to regenerate and remodel tissues. Response rates to Astym therapy are high, and most patients experience improvement.
“I had been suffering with plantar fasciitis in my right foot for a very long time, years off and on. Sometimes it was so bad, I could barely walk. Those first few steps in the morning were incredibly painful. I have always enjoyed working out, running, and being active. I would have to give up running for months on end at times and had to adjust my routine in the gym to accommodate the pain in my foot. I had seen a podiatrist many times, used custom orthotics in my shoes daily, and had cortisone shots in my heel many times. Nothing seemed to work for long. I began taking Pilates at Back 2 Normal to incorporate a good stretching routine into my weekly workout schedule in an effort to help all the areas of my body that were limited from tight muscles, including my foot. There I met Lisa Chase, who owns the facility and is an amazing physical therapist. She began treating me for my plantar fasciitis and some lower back pain. Lisa introduced Astym Therapy to my therapy for several weeks. It can be uncomfortable if you are already in pain, but I noticed a difference immediately after each treatment and after several weeks, my foot is almost 100%. I still have tightness if I don’t keep up the stretching, but when I begin to feel it tightening up, I make sure to get in and break up that tissue with some Astym therapy from Lisa. It has made a marked difference in my fitness capabilities and just my daily comfort.”
– Carol Thorton
Fitness Enthusiast and Avid Runner