Category Archives: Astym, the basics

Astym

Scar Tissue Associated With Breast Augmentation: Astym Treatment Helps Cosmetics

Meet today’s guest blogger:

Gus Gutierrez, PT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Gus is an owner of and serves as clinical director of BRPT-Lake, a multi-clinic private practice located in and around Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that specializes in the treatment of orthopedic patients and sports-related injuries. He received his Orthopedic Certified Specialization distinction in 1994 and then again in 2004. He is certified as a Level 2 Manual Therapist and is Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. He has over 23 years of clinical experience and working with athletes on all levels. Gus has been certified in Astym since 2001. He is also certified in Kinesiology Taping and as an Active Release Technique practitioner for the upper extremity, lower extremity and spine.

In orthopedic settings across the world, Astym treatment has become the prime modality of choice in scar tissue reduction.  Dysfunctional scarring can result in restricted movement, stiffness, and an undesirable appearance.  Astym treatment can help eliminate scar tissue and thereby restore movement, eliminate pain, and deliver a more desirable appearance. Continue reading Scar Tissue Associated With Breast Augmentation: Astym Treatment Helps Cosmetics

IT Band Syndrome: The Solution to a Difficult Problem

Meet today’s Guest Blogger:

 Suzie Freeman, MPT, OCS physical therapist

Suzie Freeman, MPT, OCS
Suzie works as a Senior Physical Therapist at California Rehabilitation and Sports Physical Therapy in Huntington Beach, California. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and then moved on to the University of Southern California for her Masters in Physical Therapy.  Suzie is the Center Coordinator for Clinical Education, as well as a Clinical Instructor, taking physical therapy students from local universities on a year-round basis. 

 

So, it’s the New Year, and you have taken up running, or recently increased your mileage.  Things are going great.  Your pants are looser, and you feel on top of the world.  Then, the side of your thigh or the outside of your knee starts hurting.  You have developed IT Band pain. You check the internet, and it is filled with stories of how stubborn IT Band pain is to treat, and how long it takes to recover; that is, if people recover at all.  Things seem pretty dismal.  You pop a few ibuprofens, try some ice, buy some new running shoes… but the IT Band pain just won’t go away.  You see your doctor, try some physical therapy; perhaps orthotics.  Still not better.  You wonder, “Is this the best the medical community can do for me?”

There is a lot of new research being done on this and other chronic problems with soft tissue and tendons.  Your doctor may have called your problem “tendonitis”, which is inflammation of a tendon (the structures that attach muscles to bones).  There are a lot of treatments for inflammation (i.e. ice, anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone shots, or rest).  These treatments may help, but only temporarily.  New research has shown that with many chronic tendonitis and chronic soft tissue cases, the problem does not even involve inflammation at all, and that’s why ant-inflammatory treatments don’t provide long-term relief.  As the machines that visualize the structures of the human body have gotten better, scientists can now see that the painful tendon is actually degenerating.  In a degenerative tendon, healthy tendon cells are replaced by fibrotic (scar) tissue.  Even the blood supply in a degenerative tendon looks different – there are actually areas where the tiny blood vessels are not even attached to the main blood lines.  That means that the blood products necessary for healing are not being delivered to the degenerated areas.  By the time a tendon is degenerative –due to injury or overuse – the body has tried to heal, but has done so in a very inferior way.

The question then becomes:  How do we get the body back on the right track to proper healing?

There is a new treatment available called “Astym”, which is often interpreted as “a stimulation of healing”.  It was developed by physicians, physical therapists, and university researchers who demonstrated that Astym is an effective treatment for resolving chronic tendonitis.  Certified Astym clinicians have been performing this technique around the United States for over 9 years and have been getting outstanding and consistent results.  It has been found that Astym treatment has a success rate of 92% with ITB Syndrome. (Source: Astym Analyst Outcome Report, courtesy of Performance Dynamics).

You can check the Astym website to see if there is a certified clinician in your area.  In the meantime, you can try this stretch to see if you can relieve your symptoms on your own.  Like most stretches, the position should be pain free and held for 30 seconds, and repeated several times throughout the day.

IT Band Stretch

 Effective IT Band Stretch

So, don’t let these chronic problems keep you from your sport or running.  Astym could be just what you need to get you back to doing what you love and into those tight pants again.

Tendonitis/Tendinosis: How Do You Get Better?

You need to first determine the underlying cause of your tendon pain.  Is your tendonitis (also called tendinitis) caused by inflammation?  If so, then it is the kind of tendinopathy that the healthcare system is best at resolving in short order.  The traditional treatments for inflammatory tendonitis are rest (which can include bracing), ice, and anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen.  Once these treatments are applied, inflammatory tendonitis should resolve within 6 weeks.

If tendonitis recurs after these treatments stop, or if the condition does not resolve with these tendonitis treatments, then you may have a degenerative tendon disorder, more correctly referred to as tendinosis.  In order to resolve a degenerative tendinopathy (also called tendinosis or tendonosis), you must stimulate the affected tendon to heal or regenerate.  Since medical science only recently discovered that chronic tendonitis and tendinosis are mainly degenerative in nature, there are only a few treatments that work on stimulating regeneration.  Astym treatment was scientifically developed to stimulate regeneration of soft tissues, and has emerged as the treatment of choice in physical and occupational clinics nationwide to consistently resolve chronic tendonitis and other tendinopathies.

On a different front, physicians recently began injecting platelet rich plasma (PRP) into patients with tendinopathy in an effort to regenerate tendons.  Although many had hoped that this approach would prove to be effective in controlled studies, a recent well designed study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and it showed that PRP injections were no more effective than placebo injections.  To view a copy of this journal article, click here: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/long/303/2/144

Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis: A Patient Talks About a Treatment That Works.

Few things are more frustrating than having chronic plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis (also spelled Achilles tendinitis).  Here is the story of one patient who suffered from Achilles tendon pain and plantar fasciitis, and tried multiple treatments before she finally got better with Astym at KORT physical therapy.

Lori Childs talks about Astym therapy at KORT

As an Achilles tendonitis treatment, Astym improves 94.7% of Achilles tendinitis (tendonitis), or Achilles tendinopathy cases.  Astym also resolves plantar fasciitis well, with 91.9% of plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciopathy cases improving after Astym treatment.   Chronic tendonitis can affect many areas of the body.  To view the resolution rates (outcomes) of Astym on particular types of chronic tendonitis/tendinosis, click here:  http://astym.com/upload/pdf/Astym%20Outcome%20Reports.pdf

Research on Astym: Summary of Astym Treatment’s Evidence Base

At its core, Astym treatment was developed from solid basic science research to stimulate regeneration at a cellular level.  Following that, there were a number of case studies published and then a randomized controlled clinical trial on patellar tendinopathy.  A large randomized controlled clinical trial on lateral epicondylosis was awarded a platform presentation at the American Society for Surgery of the Hand’s national meeting, and is now being submitted for publication(for more information on this study, click here: http://blog.astym.com/blog/astym/0/0/effective-treatment-for-tennis-elbow-presented-at-hand-surgeons-meeting).

Several other studies have also been completed and are being prepared for publication or submitted for publication. To see a full listing of research on Astym treatment, please visit the research page by clicking here: http://astym.com/professionals/research.asp

One of the main reasons for the effectiveness of Astym treatment is its sound evidence base.  Astym treatment was scientifically developed to target the true underlying cause of many soft tissue problems:  degeneration and inappropriate scarring/fibrosis that interferes movement and causes pain.  One of the factors that guided the scientific research and development of Astym treatment was medical science’s recent discovery that tendinopathy is degenerative (worn or broken down) in nature and only rarely has a component of inflammation (the body’s immune system actively responding to an injury or threat).  Generally, most treatments of tendinopathy focus on reducing inflammation, and those treatments have not been very successful.  In light of the recent evidence indicating that degeneration is the underlying cause of tendinopathy, Astym treatment was developed with a focus on stimulating the regeneration of healthy tissue, rather than on reducing inflammation, and that is one reason why Astym is so effective at resolving tendinopathies.

In addition to ongoing clinical and scientific research, the Astym program also emphasizes the collection of practical, clinically useful information.  Astym treatment has put major effort into developing a reliable national outcomes collection system and database, where clinicians from all across the country independently enter data to create a national bank of dependable outcomes data.  These outcomes (treatment results) show the percentage of people with each condition that resolve (get better).  Not only does this provide a good real-world evidence base for Astym treatment, it also allows patients and health care providers to know how many treatments it should take to resolve a certain condition, and what percentage of those cases should resolve.  For instance, for a patient with plantar fasciitis, you can predict that in 10 therapy visits, 91.8% of patients will be improved or much improved.  To see a full listing of diagnoses and outcomes, click here:  http://www.astym.com/upload/pdf/Astym%20Outcome%20Reports.pdf

Achilles Tendinosis in Elite Runners

Meet today’s guest blogger:

Stephanie Penny, PT, DPT

Stephanie practices at Lakeshore Sports Physical Therapy in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Central Michigan University in 2008. She has a special interest in sports medicine and vestibular rehabilitation, has completed coursework in manual therapy, and is a certified Astym® provider. Stephanie is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Elite runners alternate between intensive physical training and recovery to improve performance.  However, many runners fail to maintain a balance between intensity of training and appropriate recovery, resulting in a breakdown of tissue reparative mechanisms which eventually leads to overuse injuries.  Historically, these injuries have been referred to as “tendinitis” or “tendonitis”, words that point to inflammation as the cause of the problem.  Continue reading Achilles Tendinosis in Elite Runners

Rib pain: The buck can stop here.

Meet today’s guest blogger:

Gus Gutierrez, PT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Gus is an owner of and serves as clinical director of BRPT-Lake, a multi-clinic private practice that specializes in the treatment of orthopedic patients and sports-related injuries. He received his Orthopedic Certified Specialization distinction in 1994 and then again in 2004. He is certified as a Level 2 Manual Therapist and is Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. He has over 23 years of clinical experience and working with athletes on all levels. Gus has been certified in Astym since 2001.  He is also certified in Kinesiology Taping and as an Active Release Technique practitioner for the upper extremity, lower extremity and spine.

Often times patients who develop rib pain with no known etiology (cause) are processed through the medical system undergoing countless medical diagnostic tests and consultations.  Physical therapy needs to be part of the assessment team to determine whether treatment for soft tissue and joint restrictions can be helpful.  Often time these patients respond very quickly to manual therapy techniques including joint manipulation, mobilizations and Astym for the intercostal soft tissues.

A patient with a 3 month history of mid costal (rib) pain was referred to me by an Orthopedist that believed Astym could be helpful and asked us to assess her.  Clinically she presented with all the signs and symptoms of costochondritis as he indicated.  After 6 treatments including Astym, rib mobilizations and thoracic manipulation she was 100% better.  She is instructed in postural exercises for home and given foam roller exercises.  This is an example of how physical therapy can be an important part of the consultation algorithm and Astym can be an effective adjunct to your manual joint mobilization techniques.

 

Tendonitis: Why Won’t It Go Away?

Because it’s probably tendinosis.  Often, chronic tendonitis (also spelled tendinitis), which lasts more than 6 weeks is really tendinosis (also spelled tendonosis).  The difference is that acute, short-term tendinitis is thought to be caused by inflammation, which is an active immune response of the body to a perceived threat.  The acute, inflammatory tendonitis can be treated and usually resolved within several weeks by icing the area 3 to 4 times daily for 20-30 minutes, resting, and taking over-the-counter or prescription strength anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen.

Chronic tendonitis is usually defined by the tendon pain lasting more than 6 weeks, and the condition is more accurately referred to as tendinosis.  Tendinosis is mainly caused by degeneration of the tendon.  In order to effectively treat and resolve tendinosis, you must stimulate regeneration of the affected tendon.  There are very few approaches that do this.  Astym treatment has been used successfully for years and is the most established treatment to stimulate regeneration of a tendon and other soft tissues.  To view the resolution rates (outcomes) of Astym on particular types of tendonitis/tendinosis, click here:  http://www.astym.com/Content/documents/ASTYM%20Outcome%20Report.pdf

What is Astym treatment?: Astym Definition, Part III

Scientific studies have shown an increase in fibroblast recruitment and fibroblast activation with Astym treatment, which reveal the body’s underlying physiological response to Astym.  These studies highlight the regenerative mechanism of Astym treatment and help us understand how Astym treatment results in the regeneration of soft tissues. There also appears to be a neurological component to the Astym treatment process as evidenced by immediate changes in pain perception (often pain is immediately reduced) and strength measures (strength often immediately increases) following treatment.

At its core, Astym treatment was developed from basic science research to stimulate a regenerative response at a cellular level.  Following that, there were a number of case studies published and then a randomized clinical trial on patellar tendinopathy.  A large randomized clinical trial on lateral epicondylosis was then awarded a platform presentation at the American Society for Surgery of the Hand’s national meeting.

In addition to ongoing clinical and scientific research, the Astym program also emphasizes the collection of practical information.  Astym treatment has put major effort into developing a reliable national outcomes collection system and database, where clinicians from all across the country independently enter data to create a national bank of dependable outcomes data.  These outcomes (treatment results) show the percentage of people with each condition that resolve (get better).  Not only does this provide a good real-world evidence base for Astym treatment, it also allows patients and health care providers to know how many treatments it should take to resolve a certain condition, and what percentage of those cases should resolve.  For instance, for a patient with plantar fasciitis, you can predict that in 10 therapy visits, 91.8% of patients will be improved or much improved.  To see a full listing of diagnoses and outcomes, click here:  http://www.astym.com/Content/documents/ASTYM%20Outcome%20Report.pdf

What is Astym treatment?: Astym Definition, Part II

Astym treatment is effective in resolving many soft tissue problems, including chronic tendinopathies, tendon pain, tendon injury, stiffness, restricted movement, limited function and other conditions associated with adhesions or scar tissue that can occur after trauma or surgical intervention. It is also quite effective on sprains, strains, and other acute and sub-acute soft tissue injuries.  Continue reading What is Astym treatment?: Astym Definition, Part II