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Elks Foundation grant helps BCH add physical therapy techniques

by DANIELLE LARSSON Contributing Writer
| October 14, 2021 1:00 AM

Boundary Community Hospital Rehabilitation Services is the only local rehabilitation center in Boundary County. As such, we serve many patients with diverse physical needs and there is a need to have staff therapists trained in an assortment of rehab techniques and methods to best address our patient population. As our patient population grows, so does our need to offer the widest variety of services possible to help our growing assortment of patient deficits.

Our Rehabilitation Department proudly offers physical, occupational and speech therapy, and despite continually participating in education to update skills and offer latest techniques available, we did not have instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization in our physical therapy treatment repertoire yet. Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization is a process in which the clinician uses a set of handheld instruments to break down scar tissue and restrictions in soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia). Due to its cutting-edge instrument technology, the Graston Technique is one of the most effective methods of IASTM, improving recovery times, decreasing treatment times and pain, and improving patients' overall quality of life.

After identifying the need to provide this treatment option to our patients, one of BCH's physical therapists, Jeff Petersen, PT, DPT, applied for a grant from the Idaho State Elks Association to fund the training and tools needed. Idaho State Elks Association strives “… to provide charity and volunteerism that benefits Idahoans." They have a specific project, Idaho Elks Rehab, whose goal is to advance physical rehabilitation in Idaho, supporting "the work of not-for-profit physical rehabilitation providers."

The purpose of this grant was to seek funding to pay for advanced training with instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, specifically with and through the Graston Technique and the Graston instruments. From the Graston website: "GT is a unique, evidence-based form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively and efficiently address soft tissue lesions and fascial restrictions resulting in improved patient outcomes. GT uses specially designed stainless steel instruments with unique treatment edges and angles to deliver an effective means of manual therapy. The use of GT instruments, when combined with appropriate therapeutic exercise, leads to the restoration of pain-free movement and function.”

The Graston Technique can improve soft tissue restriction, such as tendonitis/tendinosis, tight muscles restricting joint mobility, and scar restrictions. Some common diagnoses that may benefit from GT are Plantar Fasciitis, Tennis Elbow, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Patellofemoral Disorders (knee pain), and Iliotibial Band Syndrome, to name a few.

Through the generosity of the Idaho Elks Rehab grant, we purchased two sets of Graston instruments, the beginner and advanced Graston Technique trainings, as well as the certification exam required to become certified as a Graston Technique specialist for two of our physical therapists at Boundary Community Hospital.

If you feel like you may benefit from this treatment, or for more information, check out the Graston website at https://grastontechnique.com/patients/, contact the Rehabilitation Department at 208-267-3141, ext 4276, with questions, or meet with your primary care physician to discuss getting a referral for physical therapy.

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(Photo courtesy BOUNDARY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL)

Bonner Community Hospital physical therapist Jeff Petersen uses the Graston Technique and the Graston instruments to treat a patient with assisted soft tissue mobilization.

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After identifying the need to provide the Graston Technique option to patients, Bonner Community Hospital physical therapist Jeff Petersen, PT, DPT, applied for a grant from the Idaho State Elks Association to fund the training and tools needed. Above, Petersen holds one of the two sets of Graston instruments kits purchased through an Idaho Elks Rehab grant.