RUMFORD — The Therapy Services staff at Rumford Hospital is again expanding the services they offer that help enhance their patients’ recovery process. Joining the relatively new Wii and metronome therapies is a manual therapy treatment system called ASTYM. The ASTYM system is a form of advanced soft tissue mobilization, using acrylic tools of various sizes and working in a particular pattern. It enables therapists to more effectively initiate the remodeling and regeneration of dysfunctional tissue.
Essentially, the therapist is looking for texture changes which are often associated with soft tissue scarring and fibrosis and can restrict motion and cause functional limitations.
Rumford Hospital Therapy Services staff member Kim Swasey, RPT, who has attended an intensive three-day certification course, including practical applications and a written exam, said that ASTYM is not so much about the tools, as it is the process. Treating the entire kinetic chain – above and below the point of injury – and having the patient carry over a comprehensive home program is essential.
Swasey is the only provider of the ASTYM system in Maine. “This is an additional therapy we can use to complement the more traditional modalities and treatments,” she said. “Like the other new treatment resources at Therapy Services, ASTYM is not intended to stand alone as a treatment, but to be incorporated into an individualized treatment program, including stretching and strenghtening for the best outcomes.”
The treatment system has been researched and is used nationwide in physical and occupational therapy clinics.
Patients with soft tissue problems such as inflammation of tendons (tendinitis) benefit from the new therapy, as well as patients with fractures, muscle spasms, sprains or repetitive motion disorders like carpal tunnel.
Swasey has received referrals from her colleagues at Rumford Hospital Therapy Services who find that ASTYM is one more avenue they can offer patients with tissue dysfunction. She has used the system with diagnoses such as post-surgical rehab or knees and upper extremities, plantar fasciitis and muscle spasms. She performs three or four treatments on a patient, checking to make certain those treatments are producing positive results before continuing.
Swasey belongs to an ASTYM provider network, giving her access to member resources, outcomes data and other providers throughout the country.