Instrument – Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilizations to the Upper Extremity


Course Description

During the past several years, soft tissue disorders, including myalgia, myofascial trigger points and myofascial pain syndrome have received much attention in the scientific and clinical literature. Guidelines developed by the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapists (IFOMT) confirm the importance of muscle dysfunction for orthopedic manual therapy clinical practice. The IFOMT has defined orthopedic manual therapy as “a specialized area of physiotherapy/physical therapy for the management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, based on clinical reasoning, using highly specific treatment approaches including manual techniques and therapeutic exercises.” 

Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a soft tissue mobilization technique that is gaining popularity among physical/ occupational therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors and other clinicians. One assumed advantage of using IASTM is the reduced stress that is placed on the clinician’s joints, most notably the thumb carpometacarpal joint. Prior research has shown that 68% of physiotherapists in Australia will experience thumb pain. Of these, 25% will retire or change professions.  Despite the recent surge in using IASTM for musculoskeletal disorders, there is relatively little research on the efficacy of this intervention. In addition, IASTM is generally not included in most athletic training, occupational therapy or physical therapy curriculums. However, recent research has shown that IASTM does appear to have some clinical value and is may be at least as effective as manual soft tissue mobilizations.

This course presents the best available evidence for the evaluation and treatment of patients with upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders with the use of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilizations (IASTM). Treatment principles of IASTM, including recommended treatment time, degree of applied force and proper sequencing of physical therapy interventions are discussed, based on scientific principles and expert opinion.

This Seminar-on-Demand is 1 contact hours in length (check your state’s approval status in the state specific course catalog for your profession).

Contact Hours: 1
Video Course Format: Video
Target Audience: ATC/LAT, MT/LMT, OT/COTA, PT/PTA
Instructional Level: Intermediate BOC Level of Difficulty: Advanced