Myofascial Release


Myofascial tissue is the part of the human body that provides protection and support to the muscular and skeletal system. This tissue is composed of collagen and elastic-like fibers, forming a kind of sinewy spider web that floats upon fluid throughout the entire body, compartmentalizing various muscular groups. Myofascial tissue is extremely strong and incredibly flexible, which allows for the muscular system to stretch while still receiving good support.

Ideally, myofascial tissue is relaxed and flexible, like strands of hair that have just been freshly brushed. Just as hair can become tangled in knots, the myofascial tissue can likewise become painfully ridged, immobile and knotted This occurs as the result of inflammation, which may stem from a number of causes, such as trauma to a particular area.  Some of the most common areas to experience myofascial pain are the hands, neck, back, jaw or elbow joints.

Myofascial pain is the result of damage to the myofascial tissue. It most often results from trauma, like complications from surgery, whiplash sustained in a car accident, or some sort of fall, such as a slip on the ice or a tumble down the stairs. Sometimes, myofascial pain can result from years of bad posture, such as may result from being constantly hunched over a desk or computer or regularly working in a bent over or stooped position.  It is not only physical issues that can result in myofascial pain. Anxiety often manifests itself in physical mannerisms, such as clenching the teeth or holding other muscle groups in a constant state of tightness.

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Weston FL, Myofascial Release

Myofascial pain eventually results in the formation of what are known as trigger points throughout the body. A trigger point is a particular spot where the myofascial tissue has been inflamed to the point where any form of simple stimulation, such as a light bump can cause the trigger point to activate, resulting in pain in the area, as well as a sensation of tightness and even possible temporary immobilization.  For example, an individual who experiences moderate to considerable trauma to the elbow often experiences extreme discomfort in the “funny bone” area. The resulting damage to the myofascial tissue in the elbow region can cause this area to be far more susceptible to injury in the future, possibly activating the trigger point with even the mildest stimulation.

Myofascial release therapy is a form of physical therapy specifically geared towards stretching out the tightened, kinked myofascial tissue. The massage therapist utilizes their fingertips, elbows, knuckles or other tools to detect and deactivate trigger points by gradually stretching the myofascial tissue and untangling the knots within the tissue.  Due to the fact that it can be difficult to detect which trigger point is activating discomfort or tension, myofascial release therapy is usually applied over a broad group of muscle. It often confuses patients with myofascial tissue pain that their massage therapist may be working on a pressure point in their lower back to relieve the pain they are experiencing in their neck and shoulders. This is because the actual location of pressure points typically has very little to do with where a patient is experiencing myofascial pain.

One area that myofascial release therapy has been shown to produce exciting results is in regards to patients who suffer from chronic headaches or migraines. The manipulation of certain pressure points during massage therapy has shown to drastically reduce the frequency of headaches in patients, as well as lessening their duration and intensity.

While chiropractors may also offer myofascial release therapy, the majority of this practice takes place during massage therapy. The massage therapist is specifically trained to use their fingers to detect areas where the myofascial tissue has experienced tightening or knotting. Once these areas have been detected, the massage therapist uses light amounts of pressure which gradually increase in order to allow the myofascial tissue to become relaxed and supple again.  Oftentimes, a massage therapist may have to work on the same pressure point several times before maximum results are experienced.
The risks associated with myofascial release therapy are very small. Generally speaking, individuals who experience issues with deep vein thrombosis or who are taking blood thinners should consult their doctor before engaging in any sort of massage therapy. In very rare cases, patients have experienced temporary paralysis or internal bleeding, but these cases are very few and far between.

Myofascial release therapy does not require any significant kind of recovery period. In fact, the vast majority of patients report a feeling of improved flexibility and decrease in levels of pain after undergoing the treatment. In some cases, temporary tenderness may occur in the areas treated. 

Myofascial Release Therapy, 360 Massage Therapy
Myofascial Therapy
Myofascial Release Therapy, 360 Massage Therapy