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Combining IASTM and Negative Pressure to Increase Range of Motion

Combining IASTM and negative pressure to improve range of motion in the latissimus dorsi at the Physiquipe Clinic, Manchester.

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The Problem

The client was complaining of tension around their shoulder, which was causing tightness in the latissimus dorsi, the neck musculature and down into the dominant arm. The client plays racquetball which loads the soft tissues differently to tennis, due to the change in racket and balls that are being used.

This has caused the range of movement to be restricted. The left arm overhead shows a wrist flexion, which is a compensation method to get the arm into that position on the back. There is also fascial tension, which was described by the client – when trying to reach that position they described a ‘pulling and tightness’ in the side of the body. With fascial tension, a movement could be restricted further up or down that fascial line, so it is always best to treat the line where there may be restriction.

The Treatment

The treatment used a combination of Negative Pressure (LymphatTouch) and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (HawkGrips), with the aim to reduce fascial tension and increase range of motion.

The pull of the tissue from the negative pressure creates a vertical and horizontal stretching in the tissue to help stimulate lymph flow. The PhysioTouch was applied across the back to get the fascial movement across the super and deep back arm lines and the back functional line.

IASTM was then applied to assess and treat areas of main tension in the muscle tissue. The stainless steel tools highlight adhesions and contractures (tissue reddening) in a short period of time and indicate areas of tissue that need the most attention.

This was followed by manual soft tissue work of massage, trigger point therapy, and myofascial release for 45 minutes.

The Results

After the treatment, the client performed the test again. The left wrist flexion is significantly reduced, due to the movement now available at the shoulder joint.

At Physiquipe we use a combination of treatments that will benefit the client’s needs. If you are interested in the services we offer at Physiquipe, please contact

Article written by Jodie Comer (Sports Therapist)

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