“Is bruising OK?” This is one of the most common questions I hear about instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM). Here’s the best possible answer: Yes, it is OK. But let me explain why:
Bruising will not kill a human being (except possibly if you have hemophilia). Nor should bruising cause any kind of irreversible harm. Therefore, bruising is OK. But I also want to emphasize that bruising is not the goal of IASTM.
There’s nothing in modern literature that says bruising indicates a release of toxins or of any adhesion. Those are purely ideas from traditional Eastern medicine. When it comes to modern-day Western medicine, we’ve seen that bruising may actually inhibit the healing caused when we use IASTM.
“Does bruising happen after an IASTM treatment?” More often than you would think. If it does, let this be a guide that the treatment you conducted before the bruising occurred might have been a little too aggressive. Some people bruise easier than others, so patient education is key.
Inform your patients that bruising may occur following treatment with IASTM. Ask if they bruise easily or not. Some other questions that clinicians may consider asking include: “Are you currently on blood-thinners?” and “Do you have a higher pain-tolerance level than average?” If the patient’s pain-tolerance is high, they may not provide any sort of warning that the treatment is too aggressive, even if you are constantly adding more pressure to the point of bruising.
When bruising does occur, the patient may feel mildly sore. This bruising and soreness typically clears up after a day or two. If it doesn’t resolve or actually worsens, please contact a physician. For a more complete discussion on patient education, check out this previous HawkTalk Blog post.
Petechiae (pronounced peh-tee-kee-ah) refers to broken capillaries near the skin’s surface. The Wikipedia definition for petechia (singular) is a small (1-2 mm) red or purple spot on the skin, caused by a minor bleed (from broken capillary blood vessels). Usually referred to in the plural as petechiae, they may occur when excessive pressure is applied to tissue.
This is a normal occurrence (don’t be alarmed!) when friction forces are applied to the skin. It’s a sign that treatment should begin to wrap up since these broken capillaries could lead to bruising.
As a doctor of chiropractic, I see many patients who suffer from limited range of motion, whether it’s cervical, lumbar or even an extremity. When I examine a patient and identify limited mobility in an area, my treatment protocol will not only consist of a chiropractic spinal adjustment, but also instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) with a HawkGrips instrument, along with corrective exercises and stretches. HawkGrips instruments are great tools to utilize in combination with chiropractic spinal adjustments…
Los Angeles Dodgers Physical Therapist Dr. Steve Smith Praises HawkGrips as the Best IASTM Products on the Market
My name is Dr. Steve Smith and I’m a sports physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist. I’ve been a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization since January 2012 and currently hold the position of major league physical therapist. Prior to joining the Dodgers, I earned a master’s degree from the The University of Maryland Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science in 2002, followed by a doctoral degree in 2003. I spent the first several years of my career working as a staff…
The human skin is the the largest organ of the integumentary system. It is enriched with dense neurological tissue that permeates the entire body and provides a uniquely accessible means of influencing tone and function of underlying structures. Fascia and muscle generate and transfer kinetic energy in an environment by which functional movement relies on a combination of elastic recoil and eccentric control around a focal, multi-planar axis.
I have a condition that the medical world calls “hallux valgus.” Also known as a bunion, it basically means a foot deformity. To put it mildly, I actually have extreme deformities. Over the years, the symptoms worsened and began to affect my ability to walk and run. My lower-extremity muscles were always tight and I felt no relief throughout the day. Soon, my knees became impacted as well and I blew out both, resulting in bilateral meniscal repairs. My hamstrings and quads would constantly get strained and the result was…
As his F-4 Phantom jet fighter raced across the skies over North Vietnam, U.S. Air Force co-pilot Ralph Galati glimpsed a surface-to-air missile streaking menacingly toward him. Unable to evade this deadly projectile fired by enemy troops below, the Phantom shuddered from the explosive impact. It was February 16, 1972, and the Vietnam War had been raging for nearly seven years. The most controversial conflict in the history of the United States, it would eventually claim the lives of nearly 60,000 American servicemen…
Lymph is responsible for transporting essential immune cells throughout the body. When lymph becomes stagnant, it causes swelling of affected tissues, which leads to pain and dysfunction. This condition called lymphedema causes the affected skin and subcutaneous tissues to become inflamed and hardened, or fibrotic. Typically, treatment includes manual lymph drainage, a specialized hands-on technique that stimulates superficial lymph vessels to move. Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) has been proposed to…