Myofascial Therapy isn’t a term that gets passed around much. Some Doctors haven’t even heard of this particular treatment. However the effects can really be amazing.
“What is Myofascial?”
Myofascial is a medical term used to describe muscles and connective tissues attached to them. ‘Myo-‘ is commonly used in the medical world to indicate ‘muscle’.
‘Fascia’ is a long, sticky webbing of connective tissue that goes throughout our bodies. It covers (and goes throughout) muscles and organs; the thicker fascia covers our bones.
Now, Myofascial therapy is a therapy that deals with the muscles and this webbing when they start to restrict movement in the body.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a chronic disorder, caused mostly by repetitive movements during daily life.
Note: Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by daily computer work is considered a Myofascial Pain Syndrome.
Stress and injuries are also common causes of this disorder. Trigger Points are very common and are sometimes the main source of pain.
“What happens during a Myofascial Release Session?”
There are a lot of professions that are trained:
- Massage Therapists
- Physical Therapists
- Sports Medicine Therapists
There are even some doctors that specialize specifically in Myofascial Release Therapy.
Now, every single one of those professions has a different way of dealing with Myofascial Release.
Note: Not everyone is trained in Myofascial Release. Please ask your therapist or doctor if they have had training.
Massage is less evasive, but can be painful depending on the therapist, their level of training, your pain tolerance, and what’s causing the pain. Usually, the therapist will do slow movements, mobilizing the skin, muscles, tendons and joints in an attempt to regain range of motion. Lots of stretching and some exercises may be done to help lower pain and increase motion, especially in joints.
Personal Note: A Client who had frozen shoulder was being treated by a Chiropractor and myself. Their muscles and joint were mostly healed, except that they couldn’t lift their arm up very far in any direction without restriction or pain. The Chiropractor observed that Trigger Points and clumped fascia were hindering the range of motion. Myofascial Release was administered during the next few massage and Chiropractic sessions. After each treatment, the client was able to move their arm and shoulder around a bit more. Within a month, 75% of the range of motion had been returned and pain was minimal.
Chiropractors will do similiar stretches and exercises as a trained LMT, but they may use a different type of cooling or heating gel. Some also use TENS units, foam rollers or CATs (Chiropractic Adjusting Tool) to help loosen Trigger Points or trapped fascia.
Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine are usually used after an injury has healed enough to have more vigorous work done on it. Many exercises and stretches here are used to force the body to open up the blocked joints and muscles, freeing them of pain and restricted movements.
Some alternative therapies include injections, pain medicine, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and yoga. Every body is different and some people don’t respond to manual manipulation of muscles and joints. And sometimes an injury makes it impossible to move. That’s when these alternative therapies come in.
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