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ASTYM System - Has Anyone Had This Type of Treatment?

By June 29, 2009 - 8:12pm
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I just had my first ASTYM treatment and it was pretty intense and painful, has anyone else had this type of treatment? If so, did it work for you?

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EmpowHER Guest

I'm doing ASTYM for the second time, the first being four years ago, for IT band syndrome and iliopsoas tendonitis. Yes, it works, but yes, it hurts like a beast. I have one area near my knee that I can't tolerate, but am hoping that will get better. Do you take antiinflammatories? You should make a point of taking these, or other pain meds, about an hour, hour and a half before having therapy. (Retired orthopedic floor RN here).

July 30, 2017 - 9:12am
EmpowHER Guest

Had my first Astym therapy treatment yesterday. It was extreme and painful. I seem to have alot of scar tissue as I just had a massive full thickness rotator cuff repair a month ago. Today I am experiencing pain, bruising, and alot of swelling in my neck and shoulder. Will keep icing! From other comments I feel confident that it will help with my mobility of my arm!

April 21, 2017 - 12:32pm
EmpowHER Guest

I've had 8 ASTYM treatments for plantar fasciitis. The treatments I call "12 minutes of torture" on lower leg and foot has given some relief, but not life changing. I think it's lowered the constant pain of 7-8/10 to intermittent pain of 5-6/10. Cortisone injections helped Left foot but not right. Dealing with this is hard, but I'll do 2-4 more ASTYM treatments to see if it lowers the pain any further.

November 17, 2016 - 8:16pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I have had about 10. Extremely painful!!! It has helped my tendinitis in my Achilles but my planters fasciitis absolutely no help! It. Seems close to torture' glad I'm not the only one that feels that way

May 26, 2017 - 6:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have only had two treatment,but you hit the nail on the head it is indeed intense.Hopefully I'll see improvement with a few more treatments.

September 2, 2016 - 2:02pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Sorry, been a long while. How did your treatments go? I need my back treated again, but can not find an ASTYM Physical Therapist.

May 12, 2017 - 6:04pm
EmpowHER Guest

I work with an excellent PT who provides Astym therapy. It is very similar to the GRASTON technique, which has been around longer (Astym uses plastic tools, while Graston uses metal tools). I think it can be helpful for chronic tendinitis, however I believe the Astym company is just a scam--they focus on marketing and require a certification that costs $5000+ with only a weekend course of education. As a patient, I don't think it hurts to try the technique, however as a healthcare provider, I would be skeptical when certifying yourself.

March 10, 2016 - 7:35pm
EmpowHER Guest

As part of my physical therapy regimen after a tibial plateau fracture, I had ASTYM on my knee, lower leg, and foot. The pain was intense and caused bruises all over my calf. I had to beg the therapist to be more gentle and avoid the bruised areas (which she didn't).

Did it help? I don't see any evidence of that. I've been exercising and stretching to the best of my ability in the 4 months since my accident and have regained 100% of flexibility and most of my strength. Perhaps there was scarring that the ASTYM broke up; I don't know. I have a long scar where a metal plate was inserted and the ASTYM did not improve a section where the scar adhered to tissue below.

October 22, 2015 - 12:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

Yes, I tried the aquatic stretching version of this thinking everything is less stressful in the water ~Wrong! Not only was it extremely painful, I was very sore the nexk day with shoulder and upper back pain. This, I'm assuming was from stress during the hour of pain. Afterwards, I felt my whole body was experiencing shock and my nervous system was affected. I decided to check into this miracle cure further. I was told if you don't feel relief and calm afterwards, it isn't for you. It definitely isn't for me, but that's just my system. The full body workout was just too much. Perhaps one area would not be so traumatic. I have been advised to find a good yoga therapist, which I plan to do. Good luck.

April 18, 2015 - 6:22am
EmpowHER Guest

Much of the pain from Astym depends upon how much fibrous scarring you have around your bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments; scar tissue which developed during the initial inflammation phase of your original healing. When your limb is immobilized during healing (like after a bone break or surgery), the body lays-down that scar tissue somewhat randomly in order to protect itself, resulting in less than optimal healing. Whereas, if your limb is mobile during healing (like with a deep bruise or a stress fracture), the scar tissue is laid down more directionally and purposefully with regard to function, resulting in much more optimal healing. So the point of Astym is to break-up that random scar tissue and re-stimulate the inflammation process. Essentially, Astym re-injures the soft tissue (hence, the pain) so you can start healing again; this time WITH motion and function in the limb.

The first treatment is by far the most painful, and the pain usually reduces with each visit. It's VERY important to drink LOTS of water and keep doing ALL of your stretching and strengthening exercises so your circulation can move the broken-up fibrous tissue out of the area. Standard treatment varies from 2 to 3 times a week over a 6 to 9 week period. Toward the end, joint mobilizations, stretching, and strengthening will become more painful than the Astym as you try to get back those last few millimeters of range in your joints. Many healthy, uninjured athletes (runners, MMA fighters, football players, etc) like to receive Astym as a regular part of training or after a high-intensity competition/event.

In full disclosure, some therapists believe that joint mobilization, exercises, and water, alone (without Astym), will yield similar healing results, over about the same of time, without the intense pain.

Personally, I had two big, ugly knuckles for 8 months after breaking a finger - scar tissue clung to the ligaments and cartilage. I couldn't fully flex or extend that finger, and I also couldn't spread my fingers as wide as I used to, due to the build-up of all that scar tissue. Along with being painful, the knobby knuckles also created a lot of weakness because they changed the normal line of pull for the tendons. I had Astym applied twice a week for 9 weeks and experienced a complete, full recovery, both functionally and aesthetically. I won't lie, though, the very first treatment was some of the most intense pain I've ever felt! But as long as you know what Astym is doing and why (and also knowing it will be over in just a few minutes!), it makes the pain much more tolerable.

I recommend it.

March 31, 2015 - 3:06am
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