What Is Myofascial Release?

Myofascial Release

Myofascial Release

From time to time a patient will come to see us with back pain that just won’t go away. Their doctor says there is nothing wrong structurally and it is just “aches and pains”. They have tried massages, pain medication, and exercises the doctor gave them but to no avail.

Some of these patients have even tried Physical Therapy with relief for a little while but it always seems to return. If this is you, Myofascial Release Massage may be just for you to get rid of your constant aches and pains.

What is a myofascial release massage?

Myofascial release massage is designed to reduce the fascial tension using long-lasting, light sustained pressure along the skin. “Fascia” is a specialized system of the body that encapsulates all tissues of the body from organs, muscles, blood vessels, and bone. Fascia is very densely woven and acts almost like a spider’s web. This “spider’s web” covers all tissues inside and out but is all one connected piece that covers from head to toe.

This fascia is a medium between our organs and muscles to our skin making sure it stays in its natural state and position. It also has the ability to stretch and move without restriction.

This fascia through trauma, postural deficiencies, stress, and or accidents, can get bound up or tighten to the point of squeezing our structures and tissues creating pain, decreasing our mobility, and not allowing us to live the life we want to live, which is pain-free!

What does a myofascial release massage do?

Myofascial release massage helps to reduce this tension that is wound up and has a stranglehold on our tissues. Knowing that fascia can be stretched, we have to use a gentle approach as to not have other tissues involved because if we go too deep, we continue to put more stress through the fascia, which may feel better through the muscles and give some small relief, but is not the intention of myofascial release.

Fascia also needs a long duration hold to elicit a stretch due to the way the fascia is composed and how strong it is. I mean, it holds our organs in place so our liver doesn’t end up on the left side but also has to be able to allow the tissues some room to breathe and function properly.

How is a myofascial release performed?

This treatment of Myofascial release massage is completed with skin-to-skin contact, without oils, lotions, or machinery to induce the release of the tension. The warmth created from skin-to-skin contact helps alleviate this fascia’s tightened hold on the tissues and structures and also allows for the true feel of where the fascia is at its worst.

Myofascial release massage can last longer as there is more one-on-one needed due to this long duration, low load hold.

Myofascial release isn’t for everyone but I have seen it help for a lot of people inside and outside of Preferred Physical Therapy.

These are some known diagnoses that have been helped through myofascial release massage; back pain, chronic pain, bursitis, bladder control, birthing injuries, fibromyalgia, migraines, headaches, myofascial pain syndrome, osteoarthritis, plantar fasciitis, whiplash, TMJ pain, lateral epicondylitis, and more.

So if you have yet to try myofascial release massage, and you still have pain, maybe you should give it a shot, you could get your pain-free life back.

Colton Harper, PTA, BS
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