Using IASTM for hip pain

By Lori Barberia, PT
Every day, millions of people take to bikes, hiking trails, golf courses and tennis courts to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. This type of repetitive stress can lead to muscle strain and tendonitis.
Without proper strength and flexibility, joints are susceptible to injury. So what happens when you have sudden-onset hip pain? Many times, rest and ice can alleviate symptoms, but without proper management, this can become a chronic issue. Hip pain that has become chronic in nature can lead to secondary pain in the leg and lower back. It can become debilitating and lead to an inactive lifestyle.
Patients of all ages seek physical therapy for hip pain caused by arthritis, bursitis and tendonitis. Many have failed to relieve pain through home remedies and cortisone injections. Time away from a normal active lifestyle causes muscle weakness and tightening, thereby worsening symptoms.
At Long Pond Physical Therapy, we have a program in place that is effective in reducing hip pain and improving hip strength. Most patients are able to resume their exercise routines within three months. Success begins with a comprehensive evaluation assessing strength, flexibility, joint mobility, posture and bone alignment. An individual based treatment plan is formulated from this evaluation. In addition to strength and flexibility exercises, we integrate Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) into our treatment sessions.
The Graston Technique is a type of IASTM that breaks up scar tissue and adhesions around muscles, tendons and ligaments. Often areas of scars and adhesions don’t expand and contract the way healthy tissue does. This limits normal muscle fiber movement and creates pain. The Graston Technique used to improve hip pain has been proven effective in several studies (e.g., Indiana University IU Scholar Works: The Effect of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization on Iliotibial Band Extensibility and Hip Abduction Strength-July, 2007). This study found that after only six sessions, patients who received the Graston Technique improved hip strength and flexibility, resulting in decreased pain.
If you have hip pain, please consider seeking a licensed physical therapist who can incorporate the Graston Technique into your rehabilitation program.
Lori Barberia is a licensed Physical Therapist in the state of Massachusetts, currently assisting patients at Long Pond Physical Therapy Pembroke. Learn more at
This article was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Health & Wealth.