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It’s fair to say that as a chiropractic physician and CrossFit trainer, I advocate a realistic, sustainable diet plan and constantly varied fitness routine. Hopefully, we can all agree that not all diet plans are created equal, and there’s no “magic pill” or “perfect” diet. Do your best to avoid processed foods 80-90% of the time and it’s safe to say you are “eating right.”

handlebar chiropractor Dr. Ron Donato lower back patient instrument HawkGrips IASTM

Chiropractor Dr. Ron Donato (right), the author of this article, treats a patient’s lower back with the HawkGrips “Handlebar” instrument.

We can probably also agree that not all exercise plans are created equal, and there’s no “magic machine” or “perfect” movement. Move properly with solid form, have a good coach who constantly varies the implemented weightlifting/gymnastics/skill work/mobility and metabolic conditioning over a period of time, and it’s safe to say you have an effective exercise routine.

As a healthcare provider, when I hear patients say, “I have a good diet” or “I exercise,” I can’t help them help themselves until I qualify their diet and exercise. In order for me to truly treat a patient, I must make sure they’re educated on what to eat and not to eat, as well as how to move and not to move.

Just as all diet and exercise plans are not created equal, all recovery modalities do not have the same effectiveness for each patient. If I broke my leg, the first practitioner I visit wouldn’t be a chiropractor or physical therapist, no matter how much I prefer conservative treatment modalities, because the acute injury needs to be addressed first.

Likewise, surgery isn’t a good first option for athletes who suffer from overuse injuries, have a chronic sprain/strain, bulging discs or other non-stenotic forms of spinal degeneration. In these situations, physical therapy, chiropractic, massage therapy and acupuncture are typically much better options to correct the biomechanical issues causing those problems in the first place. Take care of the area of complaint, teach the patient how to move better, and they will have a much better outcome.

Tools of the Trade

That said, do all physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists or acupuncturists have the “tools” necessary to treat the millions of patients I’m referring to? They literally do not. First, the practitioners themselves must know how to move properly, as well as diagnose and communicate to their patients how to functionally move. Second, they must be able to treat the area of complaint to the best of their ability.

elbow HawkGrips instrument patient IASTM Dr. Ron Donato chiropractor treatment HG6 multi-curve

The HG6 “Large Multi-Curve” instrument is ideal for treating the elbow area, as well as the knees, calves, ankles and feet.

In my professional career, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) has been a game-changer. These tools have the ability to steep into the soft tissues and break down scar tissue that’s typically the culprit for many chronic complaints. Scar tissue not only changes tissue integrity but often biomechanical movement patterns as well, resulting in movement compensation that can be harmful to the patient. On top of that, free nerve endings pop up within the scar, creating pain and further movement abnormalities.

Soaring with HawkGrips

To break down scar tissue, it’s infinitely more efficient to use an instrument. I have taught seminars across the country on IASTM and had my hands on literally hundreds of different tools, including Graston, Smart, gua sha, ConnecTX, and SASTM just to name a few. They all pale in comparison to the quality of manufacturing and versatility of HawkGrips.

HawkGrips sought feedback from many practitioners (including myself) who used other tools and heard several similar complaints, such as: “The instruments slip out of my hands,” “I need to use gloves, which is costly and time consuming,” “The tools start to pit after a few years of use and cleaning,” and “There is less feedback from the instrument than I would get with my hand.”

HawkGrips has addressed every complaint with their superior line of instruments. If you have a chronic injury and think the culprit may be scar tissue, find a healthcare provider in your area who utilizes HawkGrips. If you’re a healthcare provider who is interested in learning more about IASTM, do yourself a favor and take a look at HawkGrips. They offer certification courses across the country to ensure you can use these instruments properly. Your patients will thank you and your return on investment will absolutely be worthwhile.

I have been implementing IASTM treatment techniques for more than five years and can’t say enough positive things about HawkGrips as a product and company. They are truly second-to-none when it comes to quality, customer service and education.

Dr. Ron Donato is the owner of ProActive Chiropractic Center in Cinnaminson, NJ, as well as the head trainer, programmer and manager at Pivotal Training in Southampton Township, NJ.

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IASTM: A Performance Enhancement Tool

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.

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