Myofascial Therapy for the Treatment of Acute and Chronic Pain
Myofascial therapy relieves soft tissue restrictions that cause pain. Some causes of chronic myofascial pain or low back pain are easier to diagnose than others: trauma (suchas a car accident or fall), cumulative posture misalignment or mechanical deficits, a compressed nerve from a herniated disc, or inflammatory conditions.
When pain is caused by myofascial tightness within the fascial system (the web of connective tissue that spreads throughout the body and surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve blood vessel, and organ to the cellular level) the diagnosis is more difficult, as fascia restrictions do not show up on MRI scans or X-rays. Yet, those restrictions can play a significant role in creating pain and malfunction in the structure of the spine, extremities and organs.
What is Myofascial Therapy?
Myofascial Therapy (also known as myofascial release therapy or myofascial trigger point therapy) is a type of safe, low load stretch that releases tightness and pain throughout the body caused by myofascial pain syndrome, which describes chronic muscle pain that is worse in certain areas known as trigger points.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
In addition to the many joints and bones that comprise the thoracic spine, there is a network of interwoven and layered muscles. These muscles are used to stabilize and move the spine, aid in respiration, and move the shoulder and arm.
Fascia is a layer of connective tissue that contributes to the supportive structure of the spine and musculoskeletal system. The fascia invests, or surrounds, the muscles and allows for the smooth gliding of one muscle upon another. Investing fascia helps to prevent muscles from adhering to each other.
With injury, chronic postural stress, or overuse, myofascial trigger points or myofascial adhesions may develop – all commonly referred to as myofascial pain syndrome.
Chiropractors treat myofascial pain syndromes such as myofascial trigger points or adhesions with manual myofascial therapy. This therapy normally includes the use of direct pressure upon the trigger point, or the use of active anchor-and-stretch myofascial release techniques.
Myofascial release refers to the manual massage technique for stretching the fascia and releasing bonds between fascia, integument, and muscles with the goal of eliminating pain, increasing range of motion and equilibrioception. Myofascial release usually involves applying shear compression or tension in various directions, or by skin rolling.