This is a manual hands on therapy that is conducted without oils, creams or machines. The main focus is to release muscular restrictions and restore movement by using gentle and sustained pressure on the restricted myofascial tissue. It is also known as Myofascial Therapy or Myofascial Trigger Point therapy.
Myofascial pain has two sources; Tight Fascia and Trigger Points. In theory the pain felt from Myofasical restriction differs from normal pain, as the pain is housed in Trigger Points.
The therapist will locate areas that feel stiff instead of elastic and movable under light manual pressure. These areas found may not be the main site of pain that the patient feels but will restrict the muscle/joint movement contributing to the pain felt. This therapy can be used by itself as a treatment but usually coupled with other forms of therapy to increase their effectiveness.
Myofascial Release can be used to treat symptoms such as:
- Tightness of the tissues that restricts motion or pulls the body out of alignment, causing individuals to favor and overuse one hip or shoulder, for example
- De-activation of Myofascial Triggers Points
- Loss of flexibility or function following injury
- A sense of excessive pressure on muscles or joints that produces pain
- Pain in any part or parts of the body, including migraine/headache or back pain
- Arm pain associated with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a specialised system within our body which goes from the inside of the skull to the soles of our feet as single structural entity without interruption. It enwraps, supports and divides every muscle, nerve, artery, vein, bone and internal organ.
It can be said that there is no musculo-skeletal dysfunction that does not involve fascia. Since it is continuous throughout the body any alteration to its integrity can and will have a knock on affect to the structures within its locality.
If you imagine a wet dead sea sponge with all the tiny holes; these are where our arteries, muscles etc go through. When it is moist – it is healthy fascia and can move with restriction, but when it is dry it becomes stiff and movement is impaired. When the body sustains physical trauma, emotional trauma, surgery, scarring, or inflammation the fascia becomes tight and restricted developing into a source of tension to the rest of the body.
What is a Myofascial Trigger Point?
These are knots or taut bands in muscles that can contribute to pain, decrease in muscular range of motion function, which are tender with an increase in pressure.
Travell and Simons’ would describe MTrPs as “…hyper irritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band. The spot is tender when pressed, and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, motor dysfunction, and autonomic phenomena..”(Quoted from – Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual Vol. 1).