Comp Clues


ASTM: An Innovative Approach to Chronic Injuries ( A new Approach to Old Problems)

By Belinda Hays, PT, Owner - Progressive Physical Therapy, PC
| Date: 06/01/2007

The ASTYMTM System is a relatively new therapy approach of treating soft tissue injuries that are causing pain, restricting movement, and limiting function. Treatment can be effective for nagging overuse injuries as well as for new injuries and post-operative scarring. The ASTYM System was developed and researched under the direction of Thomas Sevier, MD, of Performance Dynamics Inc. within the past 10 years.

Using the ASTYM System, trained and certified rehabilitation professionals use non-invasive hand-held instruments on the skin to locate and treat dysfunctional areas within the soft tissue that are causing pain and limitations to movement and use. The treatment process assists in “jump-starting” the body’s natural healing process during which abnormal, scarred soft tissue is broken down and reabsorbed into the body.

Adhesions and fibrosis or scarring can result within the soft tissue following an injury or trauma, chronic irritation, tendonitis, or surgery. It is these adhesions and fibrotic scars that interfere with movement and function and cause pain. During treatment, the patient and therapist feel the abnormal “bumpy” or “rough” tissue as the instruments glide over the skin. Over the course of treatment, as the abnormal tissue is eliminated, the gliding of the instruments is noticed to become “smoother.”

This controlled “microtrauma” of the ASTYM treatment stimulates normal healing and repair of the affected soft tissue. Optimal healing can be achieved as the therapist develops and prescribes an individualized exercise program tailored to the patient’s problem. The stretching, strengthening, and functional progression of the exercise program help to rebuild healthier and stronger tissue more suited for the activities, work, or sports the patient performs.

“This treatment technique is based on the normal healing principles of the body, and it is supported by research and outcomes data,” says Belinda Hays, PT of Progressive Physical Therapy in south-central Indiana. “This approach provides an effective alternative treatment to persistent, chronic problems. But it can also be successfully used with newer injuries and post-surgical adhesions as well.”

Some of the clinical diagnoses and conditions that have responded well to this treatment approach are:

  • Post-injury scar tissue
  • Post-surgical scar tissue
  • Trigger finger
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow)
  • Plantar fasciitis and heel pain
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Chronic ankle sprains
  • Shoulder pain
  • IT band syndrome
  • Anterior knee pain
  • Hip pain and trochanteric bursitis
  • SI and low back pain
  • Muscle strains

To locate a certified ASTYM provider in your area, contact Performance Dynamics Inc. at 1-800-333-0244 or look on the web at Progressive Physical Therapy provides the ASTYM System at four locations in south-central Indiana in Columbus, Seymour, Greensburg, and Scottsburg.