All posts by Thomas L. Sevier, MD, FACSM

Tendonitis: Why Won’t It Go Away?

Because it could be tendinosis.  Often, chronic tendonitis (also spelled tendinitis), lasting more than 6 weeks is really tendinosis (also spelled tendonosis).  The difference is that acute, short-term tendinitis is thought to be caused by mostly by inflammation, which is an active immune response of the body to a perceived threat.  The acute, inflammatory tendonitis usually resolves within several weeks by icing the area 3 to 4 times daily for 20-30 minutes, resting, and taking over-the-counter or prescription strength anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen.  It is important to consult your physician for advice on your particular situation.

Chronic tendonitis is often defined by the tendon pain lasting more than 6 weeks, and the condition is referred to as tendinosis.  Tendinosis is thought to be mainly caused by degeneration of the tendon.  In order to effectively treat and resolve tendinosis, you must stimulate regeneration of the affected tendon.  There are very few approaches that do this.  Astym treatment is regenerative soft tissue therapy which successfully resolves many difficult conditions.  To see how Astym therapy works on different diagnosis of tendinitis/tendinosis, take a look at this Outcomes Data from thousands of Astym therapy patients.  If you would like to find a certified Astym therapy provider to see if Astym therapy would be right for you, use this Find a Provider directory.

Astym therapy vs. IASTM: What’s the difference?

Astym therapy resulted from a groundbreaking research endeavor undertaken by a multidisciplinary research team including well-known scientists, therapists, and physicians, with support from major universities and hospitals.  In this Astym Research Project, the team had the unique advantage of being able to combine knowledge of physiology, cellular biology, and emerging scientific discoveries into the development of a whole new approach in the treatment of soft tissue dysfunction.  Astym therapy continues to forge new ground in the treatment of injuries and also expand the boundaries of physical therapy into new patient populations.  The Astym Research Project developed entirely unique new theories on how to engage soft tissue healing, and changed the actual paradigm on how to treat soft tissue dysfunction.

Astym therapy, evidenced to engage the regenerative mechanisms of the body and promote the healing of soft tissues, has repeatedly been shown safe and effective in controlled clinical trials, clinical study, and large population outcomes studies.

Astym treatment is different in goals and application from the Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) techniques.  IASTM uses tooled friction massage to mechanically break apart tissue, whereas Astym therapy’s aim is to engage the regenerative mechanisms of the body to repair damaged tissue and resorb scar tissue.  IASTM’s role in the treatment of soft tissue dysfunction is unclear, as IASTM has been shown to (a) not improve treatment results for ankle injury, (b) be comparable to no treatment being provided in elbow tendinopathy, and (c) result in a significant increase in pain and a significant decrease in the perception of function, where the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) decreased following IASTM.  There have been case studies suggesting IASTM may have a role in treatment, however, those studies have largely been multimodal, so conclusions from those are difficult or impossible to draw.  The research that has isolated IASTM for study suggests that clinical use may not be beneficial.

For a fully referenced summary of research on Astym therapy and IASTM, please read this Research Overview.


Astym therapy again proven effective for tennis elbow

More support for Astym therapy has just been published.  A study on chronic tennis was conducted and published by Emily Slaven, PT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT, who is a University of Indianapolis Assistant Professor and a clinician at Franciscan St. Francis Health (Mooresville, IN).  Continue reading Astym therapy again proven effective for tennis elbow

Astym Therapy: once again recommended as best treatment for plantar fasciitis

The latest edition of Fixing Your Feet is promoted by Runner’s World as having “expert advice on preventing and treating injuries from common plantar fasciitis to extreme jungle rot – and everything in between!”  The manual recommends Astym therapy for all tendon injuries and specifically emphasizes that patients should seek out Astym treatment for plantar fasciitis Continue reading Astym Therapy: once again recommended as best treatment for plantar fasciitis

Post-Mastectomy pain and scar tissue: Astym therapy may be the answer

The right surgery was done, the necessary radiation was performed, and now your prognosis is good.  However, lingering impairments in movement from breast cancer treatment are common, but often go untreated.  Scar tissue that may result from surgery and radiation can cause pain and restrict movement.  Astym treatment can help resolve these problems, moving you toward a normal, pain-free life.

Astym treatment is provided by Astym-certified physical or occupational therapists, helps restores your movement, reduce your pain,  and may reduce your risk for lymphedema.  

Astym therapy addresses these conditions:

  • Scar tissue/fibrosis around the incision site and radiated tissues
  • Restricted movement and pain resulting from  surgery and radiation
  • Tightness of the chest wall, shoulder, neck and arm pit areas
  • Hypersensitivity of soft tissues commonly experienced by breast cancer survivors
  • Muscle imbalances and general deconditioning

Claire Davies, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA, a renowned physical therapist who specializes in women’s health, has led research on Astym therapy in breast cancer survivors, and has published research findings showing the success of Astym therapy in post-mastectomy patients.  Dr. Davies also speaks publicly on Astym therapy’s value in the treatment of breast cancer survivors.

If you would like to locate an Astym-certified provider near you to schedule an evaluation/consultation, please visit the Find a Provider section of the Astym therapy website.

Behind the Treatment: Astym Therapy Medical Director

Thomas L. Sevier, MD, FACSM is a double board certified physician, consultant, author and medical researcher. As a team physician and event physician, he has provided medical coverage for many high-profile sporting events. Dr. Sevier established the first ACGME accredited Sports Medicine Fellowship in the United States, and has served as a faculty member at two universities. He has helped pioneer important advances in rehab and sports medicine, and writes extensively for peer-reviewed journals, scientific publications and books. Dr. Sevier regularly speaks on medical and rehabilitation matters, and serves as an expert resource for medical and popular media outlets. Dr. Sevier is one of the few physicians who has been granted fellowship status in both the American College of Sports Medicine and in the American College of Physicians. 

What is IASTM? Is it different than Astym?

Astym treatment is very different from IASTM.   Astym is a highly effective and safe soft tissue therapy.  Astym was scientifically developed, has a sound research base, and has standardized, highly-effective protocols – all of which make it different and a much better treatment than IASTM. Continue reading What is IASTM? Is it different than Astym?