I injured my right shoulder as a teenager, and while it generally felt fine, I noticed that I was always aware of my AC joint when it was isolated by an exercise or movement. In the clinical portion of chiropractic school, at age 41, I began having serious issues with it. Two factors were at play. One, my spine was adjusting to proper alignment, which was unwinding the compensation mechanisms my body had introduced to deal with my shoulder injury. Two, I had begun using my shoulder to give chiropractic adjustments, which was placing greater stress on it than ever before. While chiropractic adjustment was improving it, it wasn’t until I had the Graston Technique to break up adhesions in the muscle that I felt that my shoulder fully healed.
Graston Technique uses a metal tool to break up fascial adhesions and scar tissue, freeing the muscles to work properly. It can sometimes be uncomfortable, however, pain is not required for it to be effective. It works by creating local inflammation in the muscle, allowing the muscle to change from its stabilizing function back to movement. Much like massage, Graston works synergistically with the chiropractic adjustment.
There are many ways to break up adhesions, including Graston, Gua Sha, rolling, and even deep tissue massage. While each may offer a slight variation in its approach, the overall goal is the same: to break up adhesion and bring movement back to the muscle.