Myofascial Release is an alternative therapy treatment claimed to be tremendously useful for the treatment of chronic pain and frozen skeletal muscle cramps by relaxing tight contracted myofascial muscles, improving blood circulation, boosting oxygen and nutrients, and increasing the release of pain signals from the nervous system. It is reputed to help alleviate the pain caused by conditions such as whiplash, tennis elbow, bursitis, tennis shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger points, osteoarthritis, and multiple sclerosis. It is also said to be effective in helping to rebuild and rehabilitate damaged tendons, ligaments, muscles, or bones. There are lots of different techniques for the treatment of myofascial release, all which can be used on their own or in combination with one another.
The technique is often used for treatment of soreness throughout the body, particularly in the lower back, neck, shoulders, and hip regions. A massage therapist may initially apply slow controlled superficial to deep superficial myofascial release methods to the affected muscles or tissues so as to relax and release the tensed muscles and fascia. After the initial use of techniques, the massage therapist will advance to applying longer and deeper levels of controlled pressure until a desired amount of muscle relaxation and spasm are reached. Long sustained pressure is put on the muscles to alleviate any mechanical shortening of the fascia or the tensed muscles. Massage therapists using this method of myofascial release on patients with injured tissues and muscles report improved blood circulation, increased nourishment and oxygen absorption in the area, and enhanced mobility in the treated tissues.
Controlled muscle elongation and stretching is another technique used to attain long term and consistent pain relief and enhance motor function. It is usually used for patients with injuries to the low back, hips, shoulders, knees, or elbows. Control techniques are utilized on a routine and ongoing basis to maintain pain relief and prevent further injury while reducing stiffness and inflammation. Most professional therapists offering myofascial release treatments are proficient in applying myofascial release methods to patients suffering from many different chronic conditions including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, and more. They have trained in the safe and efficient application of the treatment method for more than a decade and are highly trained in applying its specific techniques.
Among the most common areas where a therapist working with a myofascial release apparatus will use the technique is at the neck, shoulder, knee, hips, and ankle areas. It is a very effective tool when used in conjunction with other therapeutic modalities such as ultrasound, heat, ice, physical therapy, laser treatment, or ultrasound together with ice and heat. A foam roller is a technical piece of equipment that is used during a massage therapy session to employ myofascial release methods and supply deep tissue stretching. This special foam roller has a soft, insulation cover which allows it to provide a comfortable, even pressure along the contours of the body while decreasing the possibility of injury.
When myofascial release techniques are used for pain control, they not only reduce the level of discomfort in a specific area, but they also stimulate the growth of new, healthy, elastic myofascial tissues. In fact, when a patient is undergoing a myofascial release therapy session, the therapist uses a low to medium level stretch at the onset of the treatment and has been doing so during the session to maintain the integrity of the injured muscles and tissues. Often, depending on the depth of the pain, additional treatments are applied to the client after the first treatment was administered. This is important to keep the client comfortable and allows the therapist to determine which regions of the body require additional work and where more time should be allowed before moving on.
The method of myofascial release works best when combined with other alternative methods of pain management, such as trigger point therapy and deep tissue massage. Trigger point therapy works by increasing the strength of the muscle you are working by applying continuous pressure over the length of the muscle. Trigger points are caused by muscle inflammation, irritation, or scar tissue that occurs in and around muscles that are overstressed. Trigger points may be treated with regular trigger point massages and/or trigger point injections, but a lot of chiropractors believe that by providing an additional method of pain management, trigger points can be effectively and completely removed with myofascial release techniques.
During a myofascial release treatment, your physical therapist will apply gentle, even pressure to the targeted muscles and tissues. The physical therapist will first apply gentle pressure to the area in question before moving into a midline pressure. The objective of this gentle pressure is to produce the essential trigger point decrease without causing any damage to any of the surrounding muscles or tissues. If you feel pain when the physical therapist is applying pressure to a particular spot, they are using too much pressure in that area, so just stop the session and try again later.
If you don’t feel pain, it doesn’t mean that your illness is treatable. Occasionally myofascia will heal on its own after a few treatments, but you may want to seek other forms of treatment if the condition worsens. Myofascial release techniques are sometimes suggested by physical therapists or chiropractors after their patient has had three or more prior massage therapy treatments. A trigger point may be the reason behind poor posture, but there are quite a few different causes of poor posture, including muscle fatigue, weak muscles, joint stiffness, and weak tissues and ligaments. Trigger point release techniques can help all these conditions, or may be used in conjunction with other treatment methods.