The Graston Therapy is generally designed to treat soft tissue-related conditions, such as lower back muscle strain.

See Pulled Back Muscle and Lower Back Strain

Graston Technique Indications

When an injury within the soft tissue occurs, the tissue repairs itself in a haphazard pattern, forming scar tissue. While the scar tissue itself is not painful, it does tend to limit range of motion, and the ongoing stiffness may contribute to chronic pain.

The Graston technique has the potential to treat acute and chronic conditions such as:

  • Lower back muscle strain or sprain
  • Achilles tendinosis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cervical sprain/strain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Rotator cuff tendinosis
  • Shin splints
  • Tennis/golfer's elbow

Graston Technique Contraindications

Not all candidates with pain from soft-tissue injury are candidates for the Graston Technique. In general, the Graston Technique should not be used with any condition contraindicated for soft-tissue mobilization.


In addition, patients with any of the following conditions are not good candidates for the treatment:

  • Open wounds around the area to be treated
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer (depending on the type and location)
  • Pregnancy - at a minimum, pregnant women should avoid having the therapy done over the spine, pelvis, abdomen, or along certain acupuncture points
  • Unhealed, complicated fractures. See When Back Pain Is a Spine Compression Fracture
  • Certain types of kidney disorders
  • Taking blood thinners

See When Back Pain May Be a Medical Emergency

For a full list of both absolute and relative contraindications to the use of this therapy, patients should consult a clinician trained in the Graston Technique.

See Getting an Accurate Back Pain Diagnosis

Dr. Thomas Hyde is a chiropractor who retired with more than 30 years of experience treating spine pain and soft tissue disorders in athletes and active patients.