metal bar therapy across female quad

Are you dealing with pain, stiffness, or movement limitations? Physical therapists have many ways to help, and one technique gaining popularity is Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), also known as the Graston Technique. Let’s explore how this innovative method can help you feel better and move more freely.





What is IASTM/Graston Technique?





steel graston tools on gray background




IASTM uses specialized stainless-steel instruments to target and treat soft tissues like muscles, fascia, and tendons. During the session, the therapist glides the instruments over the affected area, creating micro-trauma that kickstarts your body's natural healing process. Don’t let “micro-trauma” scare you because this is a good thing! A breakdown of scar tissue and adhesions can lead to significant improvements in tissue recovery. While you might feel some mild discomfort during treatment, it’s manageable and part of the process. It’s not painful, but you may experience mild soreness or bruising, which typically resolves within a few days. But don’t worry, soreness and bruising are completely normal—they are signs of your body’s healing response!





How Can IASTM Help You?





Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a versatile tool that addresses various musculoskeletal issues. Here’s how it can make a difference:






  • Chronic Pain Relief: Suffering from persistent pain in your neck, back, shoulders, or knees? IASTM can help reduce pain and inflammation by creating controlled micro-trauma to the tissues which triggers a healing response.




  • Post-Surgery Recovery: Surgery can leave behind scar tissue that limits mobility. IASTM helps break down these adhesions, improving your range of motion and enhancing the quality and flexibility of soft tissues.




  • Sports Injuries: Whether it's a sprain, strain, or other athletic injury, IASTM promotes healing and speeds up recovery. It breaks down adhesions, increases blood flow, releases tight muscles, and enhances tissue flexibility.




  • Muscle Tightness and Trigger Points: IASTM targets tight muscles and painful trigger points, helping you move with ease. By releasing tension and improving blood flow, it reduces discomfort and enhances mobility.









Common Injuries That Benefit From IASTM:






  • Tendinitis:

    • Achilles Tendinitis




    • Patellar Tendinitis (Jumper's Knee)




    • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis






  • Plantar Fasciitis:

    • Inflammation of the plantar fascia causing heel pain.






  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome:

    • Chronic pain disorder is when pressure on sensitive points (trigger points) in the muscles causes pain.






  • Scar Tissue and Adhesions:

    • Post-surgical scars or injury-related adhesions.






  • Shin Splints:

    • Medial tibial stress syndrome causes pain along the shinbone.






  • IT Band Syndrome:

    • Inflammation of the iliotibial band causes pain on the outer side of the knee.






  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

    • Compression of the median nerve causes pain and numbness in the hand and fingers.






  • Chronic Ankle Sprains:

    • Recurrent ankle sprains lead to chronic pain and instability.






  • Golfers' and Tennis Elbow:

    • Medial and lateral epicondylitis causes pain in the elbow.






  • Cervical Pain:

    • Neck pain due to muscle tension or soft tissue restrictions.






  • Lower Back Pain:

    • Often due to muscle tightness, fascial restrictions, or scar tissue.






  • Bursitis:

    • Inflammation of the bursa, such as in the shoulder, hip, or knee.







Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization helps by breaking down scar tissue, improving blood flow, reducing pain, and promoting healing in these conditions.





Watch this IASTM treatment in action! Therapist Mandi Dowdy, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT is using IASTM on Plantar Fasciitis patient, Faith. See how she glides the instrument over the lower leg and locates a trigger point. She then focuses on this point to break down tightness and knots. After the session, Faith walked away feeling more length in her calf and plantar fasciitis tendon.






https://youtube.com/shorts/vmoG39niVPI




Enhancing Your Therapy with Manual Techniques





Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization is just one versatile tool in a comprehensive physical therapy plan. Combining IASTM with other manual therapy techniques like massage, joint mobilizations, and stretching can lead to even better results. This holistic approach helps you manage pain, improve function, and prevent future injuries.
Curious if IASTM could help you? Talk to your physical therapist! They’ll evaluate your needs and determine if this technique is suitable for your specific condition.





Partner with The Therapy Network for Your Healing Journey









Discover more about Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) and other transformative physical therapy techniques at The Therapy Network, where we're dedicated to empowering and educating you to achieve your best health.





NO REFERRAL NEEDED! CLICK TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT





As a Direct Access provider, you can start your journey to recovery at The Therapy Network without a physician referral. Call us today at 757-496-3700 or visit our website to schedule your appointment. Take control of your health and experience the transformative power of effective physical therapy!











When considering the world of physical therapy (PT), many think it is a solution primarily for athletes or those recovering from surgeries or significant injuries. However, this perception barely scratches the surface. Preventative Physical Therapy is essential for people of all walks of life and can be an alternative to medications for specific conditions.





man bending over to rub hurt calf.




Preventative Physical Therapy can lower patient treatment costs by 72%. (TheGoodBody.Com)





What is Preventative Physical Therapy, and how can it improve or maintain a healthy lifestyle? This blog will introduce you to the therapy and provide eight benefits.





What is Preventative Physical Therapy?





PT, a branch of rehabilitative healthcare, employs trained professionals who use specialized equipment and tailored exercise regimes to address abnormal physical functions. These professionals can guide patients in maximizing mobility, managing pain, dealing with chronic conditions, avoiding surgeries, and heavy reliance on prescription drugs.





Preventative physical therapy distinguishes itself as a proactive approach. This strategy involves offering patients techniques and exercises to prevent injuries and discomfort. Preventative PT ensures these issues don't escalate into more significant complications by strengthening the body, enhancing mobility, and detecting potential problem areas.





Golfer with low back pain




Often, the Mckenzie Method of physical therapy is considered preventative physical therapy. The Therapy Network has McKenzie Method licensed providers and incorporates the method's four steps into a comprehensive therapy plan.





The Multifaceted Benefits of Preventative Physical Therapy





We now have your attention with the prospect of lowering your medical costs. But what are some of the direct benefits of Preventative Physical Therapy? Here are eight benefits that can help every patient:






  1. Pain Management: Through therapeutic exercises, pain can be significantly reduced or managed, decreasing the risk of its return.






  • Reduced Dependence on Drugs: Managing or diminishing pain can lessen the need for specific medications, such as opioids.






  • Avoidance of Surgery: In cases where PT addresses pain or injury effectively, surgeries may become unnecessary.






  • Improved Mobility: Age is just a number! PT exercises can rejuvenate movement capabilities for individuals across all age groups.






  • Injury Prevention: Knowledgeable physical therapists can craft prevention exercises tailored to high-risk activities, ensuring maximum safety.






  • Fall Prevention: Improve balance and prevent potential falls with specific PT exercises.






  • Managing Age-Related Issues: Treat conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis through PT techniques.






  • Cardiac and Pulmonary Health: PT can significantly improve the quality of life for those with heart and lung-related conditions.





Is investing time in Preventative Physical Therapy worth it? For many, the answer is a resounding yes, especially considering the long-term benefits and the potential to avoid painful, costly, and debilitating health issues.





Preventative Physical Therapy at The Therapy Network





COASTAL VIRGINIA'S LEADER IN SPECIALTY PHYSICAL THERAPY





The Therapy Network has been a beacon of physical therapy excellence in Hampton Roads, Virginia, for over three decades. Established in 1987, it has continuously revolutionized PT in the region with a patient-centric approach. Our dedicated clinics across Hampton Roads provide flexible hours, catering to the bustling schedules of our patrons. With services available from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., we strive to accommodate all.





For those seeking our expert services, TheTherapyNetwork.com provides all the necessary details. Remarkably, a physician's referral isn't mandatory to initiate your physical therapy plan with us, thanks to Direct Access. Direct Access in Virginia enables individuals to start a therapeutic journey overseen by our licensed professionals immediately.





What sets The Therapy Network apart is our commitment to excellence and specialization. Each of our clinics proudly hosts therapists trained in Preventative Physical Therapy. We are continuously pushing boundaries to offer top-tier care for our valued patients. Schedule an appointment today.



Did you know that with every passing second, an older adult in the U.S. becomes another statistic, facing a fall that may lead to severe injury or worse?





Fall prevention extends beyond mere statistics; it affects lives and the quality of life for countless individuals, especially our senior citizens.





The leading causes of hospital visits for those aged 65+ are falls, with an astounding 90% of injury-related ER visits attributed to them. The grave figures don't end there. A shocking 95% of hip fractures and many traumatic brain injuries stem from falls.





These stats underscore the paramount importance of fall prevention. But there's hope – with physical therapy's aid, prevention and recovery from fall-induced injuries become a reality.





Keep reading for further information on how The Therapy Network can help you prevent falls in your home.





Most Common Fall Hotspots Around the Home





Knowing where you're most likely to fall is half the battle in fall prevention. Unfortunately, the home, often considered the safest haven, tops the charts as the primary location for falls, especially for older adults.






  • Stairs: Number one risk zone in homes.




  • Bathrooms: Over 23,000 yearly injuries.




  • Gardens: Uneven surfaces can be treacherous.




  • Living Rooms: Often cluttered and overlooked.




  • Driveways and Sidewalks: Cracks and uneven pavements can trip.




  • Bedrooms: Night-time navigation without proper lighting can be hazardous.





As part of your fall prevention plan, download a booklet from the CDC and review the tips for preventing falls in your home.





Gait & Running Analysis




Home Safety: Fall Prevention Tips





Creating a fall-proof environment isn't a Herculean task. We asked the physical therapist at The Therapy Network for some tips for this blog. Here is some actionable advice from the TTN team:






  • De-clutter: Clear hallways, staircases, and rooms of any unnecessary items.




  • Repair Hazards: Address loose carpets, wobbly floorboards, or risky throw rugs.




  • Install Safety Measures: Add grab bars by toilets, handrails in stairways, and nonslip mats in wet zones.




  • Optimum Lighting: Ensure all areas, especially stairways and corridors, are well-lit.




  • Wear Sensible Clothing: Avoid excessively loose clothes that may cause tripping.




  • Shoe Strategy: Wear shoes indoors or opt for nonslip socks.




  • One-Level Living: If feasible, consider living on one level to avoid stairs.




  • Mindful Movement: Always move from sitting to standing with caution, taking a moment to stabilize. A physical therapist can show you the best method to move from sitting to standing.




  • Join Exercise Programs: Engage in exercises that enhance balance and muscle strength. Ask your TTN physical therapist for tips and ideas to improve mobility and flexibility.





How Can The Therapy Network Help?





The prospect of falls shouldn't paralyze you with fear. Instead, arm yourself with preventative measures and guidance from The Therapy Network.





We're never too far with offices in multiple coastal Virginia locations. In 2022, we took a significant leap forward, introducing our specialized Fall Prevention Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Here's the best part: Prevention begins before the accident. At The Therapy Network, we advocate for proactive measures. During your fall prevention visit, anticipate an extensive evaluation:






  • BioSway Testing




  • Berg Testing




  • Tenetti Testing




  • Balance Testing




  • Mobility Testing




  • Vestibular Testing




  • Home Environment Assessment





Begin your fall prevention journey today by scheduling an appointment. Did you know you do not need a physician's referral to schedule a fall prevention appointment at TTN?





Awareness combined with proactive measures can drastically reduce the risks of falls. The Therapy Network is dedicated to empowering everyone with the knowledge and tools needed to make every step safe.





Visit www.TheTherapyNetwork.com for more insights and assistance.



We all want the best for our teens—especially as they embark on another exciting school year in Hampton Roads, Virginia. However, sometimes the tools meant to support their learning, like backpacks, can lead to unexpected pain.





This blog will look at overloaded school backpacks and the pain that might affect your teen-aged child. We will also explore ways to address this issue, including how to shop for a new school backpack.





The Strain of the Backpack





By design, the back will compensate for any load applied to it. Picture this: A teen, excited for their day in a Virginia Beach school, slings on their backpack, not realizing that the weight is slowly harming their back. Picture your teen's backpack - X-Box Controllers, water bottles, computers, extra batteries, and more. This isn't a one-time event. This chronic routine may cause them to experience back pain throughout their school years, including college.





backpain pain student




What are the effects of an overloaded backpack? From a physical therapy view, here is a list of impacts:






  • Exert undue pressure on the lower back, potentially leading to disc compression.




  • Distort the natural curves in the middle and lower backs, causing muscle strain and irritation to spine joints and the rib cage.




  • Cause lumbar asymmetry or curvature in the lower back.




  • Lead to rounded shoulders, which in turn affects posture.




  • Pull on the neck muscles, giving rise to headache, shoulder pain, lower back pain, and neck and arm pain.




  • Make someone lean forward, hampering balance and raising the risk of falls.





Preventative Tips: Backpacks and Pain





Backpacks and back pain don’t have to be lifelong partners! Back-to-School is the perfect time to review some tips with your kids. (These tips are also helpful for adults that regularly use a backpack during their commute to work or for hobbies and adventures.)





Some precautionary steps include:






  • Use both shoulder straps for balance.




  • Opt for lightweight, padded backpacks.




  • If available, pick backpacks with wheels.




  • Make use of lockers to reduce carrying weight.




  • Regularly empty backpacks of unnecessary items.




  • Limit backpack weight to 15% of a child's body weight.





Shopping for the Perfect School Backpack





Shopping for a new school backpack is exciting—no matter the student's age. But choosing a backpack isn’t just about colors or trendy designs; it’s about ensuring it supports your teen's health. You have read about the link between school backpacks and pain. Now, here are some tips from the Therapy Network staff to keep in mind when shopping for a new backpack:






  • Opt for backpacks with wide, padded straps.




  • Seek multiple sections for even weight distribution.




  • Consider waist belts to help distribute weight.




  • Reflective material is a plus for children commuting during low light.




  • Aim for a lightweight design.





Physical Therapy: The Solution to Backpack-Induced Pain





If your teen in Hampton Roads feels the aftermath of a heavy backpack, physical therapy is the way forward. It alleviates pain and strengthens muscles, ensuring future resilience against injuries. School backpack-induced pain should not be ignored.






“A great way to prevent back injury is to strengthen the stabilizing muscles of your torso, including your lower back and abdominal muscles.”—KidsHealth.org






Enter The Therapy Network…





When the talk comes to expert physical therapy, look no further than The Therapy Network. With six accessible offices throughout Coastal Virginia, including Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, and Chesapeake, we are always within reach. What makes us even more special? No need for a physician's referral to start your teen's healing journey with us! We prioritize convenience with immediate appointment availability.





In conclusion, while backpacks are a school staple, ensuring the correct use is vital. As we've learned, overloaded backpacks can be the villain behind back and shoulder pain. But with the right backpack and the expert care from The Therapy Network, we can ensure our teens and children are pain-free and ready to conquer the world!





If your teen is experiencing back or shoulder pain, don’t wait. Visit one of our six locations in Coastal Virginia today. The health of our future, our children, rests in the balance. School backpack-induced pain may not resolve on its own.





And remember, at The Therapy Network, a healthier future is just an appointment away!



If you seek an effective way to recover from an injury or prevent future ones, look no further than Aquatic Therapy. The Therapy Network in coastal Virginia offers Aquatic Therapy sessions that can be your ticket to improved well-being and an active lifestyle.





What is Aquatic Therapy?





Simply, it involves personalized, hands-on therapy techniques and specific body movements designed for water use. How do Aquatic Therapy exercises promote recovery and wellness?





Imagine exercising in an environment where gravity's effects are reduced, and joint strain is minimized. Water provides natural buoyancy, making recovery and wellness, with Aquatic Therapy an ideal choice for rehabilitation after an illness or injury.





Your Therapy Network therapist will use specially designed exercise equipment and aids like floats and balls to assist you during your sessions. Through targeted exercises and movements, you will experience the benefits of this low-impact yet highly efficient form of Therapy.





aquatic therapy group




7 Benefits of Pool Exercise





Let’s take a closer look at the remarkable benefits of Aquatic Therapy and how it promotes recovery and wellness. Here are seven of the top benefits: 






  • Lowers Fall Risk:  If you are concerned about balance and coordination issues, Aquatic Therapy is a game-changer. In a safe and supportive aquatic environment, you will regain confidence and reduce the risk of falls by improving these skills.






  • Helps with Balance and Coordination:  Whether recovering from an injury, dealing with a chronic condition, or simply looking to enhance performance, aquatic therapy can help improve your balance and coordination—the resistance provided by water challenges your muscles, enhancing your overall stability.






  • Reduced Stress on Joints and Bones:  Water's buoyancy provides a unique advantage by alleviating stress on your joints and bones. The buoyancy makes Aquatic Exercise an excellent choice for individuals with arthritis, back pain, or orthopedic injuries. By reducing the strain on these areas, you can engage in rehabilitation exercises comfortably and with less pain.






  • Builds Muscle Strength and Endurance:  Water is hundreds of times more resistive than air, making it ideal for building strength and endurance. Your Therapy Network therapist will guide you toward improved muscle tone through exercises.






  • Increases Aerobic Capacity: Water-based exercises elevate your heart rate and enhance your cardiovascular fitness. Aquatic Therapy offers an enjoyable and effective way to improve your aerobic capacity without placing excessive stress on your joints.






  • Improves Joint Flexibility: Aquatic Therapy can help you regain and improve flexibility if you struggle with limited joint mobility. The water's resistance enables you to move your joints through a greater range of motion, restoring joint function and reducing stiffness.






  • Reduces Swelling:  Aquatic Therapy can effectively reduce swelling in injured or inflamed areas. The pressure exerted by the water helps to improve circulation, promoting healing.





As a bonus, can Aquatic Therapy help you lose weight? "Aquatics therapy is considered superior to traditional forms of physical exercise for individuals who are overweight and obese. When coupled with a new diet, aquatics therapy can help people lose weight safely and effectively.”—ClassicRehabilitation.com 





Aquatic Therapy has significant benefits, but how else does it promote recovery and wellness? What conditions can benefit from Aquatic Therapy?





Conditions that Benefit from Aquatic Exercise





Now that you are familiar with the benefits of Aquatic Therapy, you may wonder which conditions can benefit from this physical therapy approach. Aquatic Physical Therapy has been successfully used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including:






  • Arthritis




  • Back Pain




  • Balance Disorder




  • Chronic Pain




  • Relief from Diabetes Symptoms




  • Fibromyalgia




  • Joint Pain




  • Multiple Sclerosis




  • Orthopedic or Sports Injuries




  • Post-Operative Conditions




  • Stroke




  • Tendinitis





With the list of benefits and conditions improved with Aquatic Therapeutic Exercise, we hope that we have answered the question, “Does aquatic therapy promote recovery and wellness?”





Aquatic Therapy at The Therapy Network





The Therapy Network is here to support you on your journey to recovery and optimal health. Our team of skilled physical therapists specializes in customizing your PT journey and will guide you every step of the way.





Read more on our website.





Experience the power of water in healing and transforming your body. Did you know you do not need a physician's referral or prescription to schedule an appointment at The Therapy Network? Contact us to schedule an appointment in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.