Myofascial Release Therapy
Myofascial release (MFR) therapy is a specialized type of hands-on massage that involves applying sustained and gentle pressure to myofascial connective tissue restrictions to improve motion and reduce pain. This form of physical therapy is typically used to treat myofascial pain syndrome, a chronic pain disorder that is caused by tightness and sensitivity of the myofascial tissues that support and surround muscles. In many cases, this pain originates from specific points within the tissue called trigger points.
How Does Myofascial Release Therapy Work ?
"Myo" means muscle and “fascia” means band. The fascia is connective tissue that comprises a web of collagen and elastin fibers that surround and protect other tissue, including ligament, bone, muscle, tendons, and organs. The fascia, like a muscle, can relax and contract and it plays a large role in joint stability and movement. If the fascia hardens or scars, it can cause the network to lose its cushioning effect and pull other structures out of alignment.
Fascial restrictions and tightness will not show up on an X-ray, MRI, or CAT scan, potentially leaving patients with unresolved pain due to an undiagnosed fascial condition. While traditional medicine focuses on treating the symptoms, chiropractic medicine focuses on whole-body wellness. MFR is a whole-body approach that treats the cause of the pain and reduced mobility.
MFR therapy focuses on reducing pain by easing tension and tightness in trigger points that cause pain. Myofascial release is used over a broad area of tissue and muscle as determining which trigger point is causing pain can be difficult as pain may be referred to another area of the body.
MFR therapy occurs during massage therapy sessions in a chiropractic setting. Your massage therapist will apply gentle massage to the myofascia and check for tight or stiff areas. Myofascia normally feels elastic and pliable. Areas that feel rigid will be massaged and stretched with gentle manual pressure to help the tissue and release tightness and pressure. This process will be repeated several times on trigger points until the tension releases.
The areas that are tight and responsible for your pain may not be anywhere near where you feel the pain as the myofascial release works a broad network of muscles. These stiff myofascial areas can restrict joint and muscle movements in other areas of the body and contribute to widespread muscle pain.
Myofascial Release Therapy Sessions
MFR therapy sessions are similar to physical therapy for post-operative rehab. The first appointment will be used to locate restricted areas of the fascia and measure loss of motion or loss of symmetry. Additional sessions are usually 30-60 minutes and may be conducted every few days. Depending on the intensity and extent of the injury or disability, MFR therapy can occur over weeks or months. Each session usually includes the gentle application of pressure or a sustained low load stretch to the affected part of the body.
Myofascial release therapy can be used before or along with other treatment options. People who turn to MFR therapy may also benefit from heat and ice therapy, self-stretching exercises, acupuncture, physical therapy, and manipulation.
Schedule an Appointment
Myofascial pain may be regional and persistent and come with a decreased range of motion in affected muscles. If you have sciatica, jaw pain, headaches, sinusitis, or lower back pain, myofascial trigger points may be the cause. Myofascial release therapy is a safe and non-invasive treatment option that can relieve your symptoms and complement other forms of treatment. Contact Chiropractic Fit today to schedule an appointment and learn more about the benefits of MFR therapy.
What MFR Treats
Myofascial pain may have two sources: pain that comes from connective tissue or skeletal muscle that is bound or restricted by tight fascia or damaged myofascial tissue. Both issues can restrict blood flow and affect the contraction process of the muscles.
Chronic myofascial pain is very different from muscle soreness due to overexertion. Myofascial pain syndrome is an ongoing condition in which pain is caused by sensitive areas or trigger points in muscles and connective tissues in other areas of the body. People with myofascial pain syndrome often benefit from this form of targeted therapy that can address the trigger points and relieve the chronic headaches that often accompany the syndrome.
In some cases, people with venous insufficiency also benefit from MFR therapy. This disorder occurs when blood pools in the deep veins in the legs. This condition causes the veins to become stretched and eventually damaged which may lead to an aching and painful sensation. Myofascial release can be used with other treatments to reduce blood pooling and pain.
MFR can be beneficial for many other patients, including those with chronic headaches, neck pain, and back pain, all of which may be caused by myofascial tension. It’s also commonly used in sports medicine to treat athletes suffering from stresses, strains, and other injuries.