Myofascial Release (MFR)

WHAT IS MYOFASCIAL RELEASE?

Myofascial release massage is a soft tissue treatment of skeletal muscle pain and immobility. Myofascial release involves applying gentle pressure into connective tissue and fascia. Fascia is a structure of connective tissues that surround muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. In healthy conditions, fascia tissue is relaxed and wavy in configuration. The fascial system can provide cushioning support so that movement is increased and without pain.

A myofascial release technique helps to detect restrictions and can facilitate the release of the fascia. Injury, surgery, poor posture, or inflammation of tissues can create myofascial restrictions that produce pressure and pain upon sensitive structures The pain usually originates from specific points within your myofascial tissues called “trigger points". Myofascial release focuses on reducing pain by easing the tension and tightness in the trigger points. It’s not always easy to understand what trigger point is responsible for the pain. Localizing pain to a specific trigger point is very difficult. For that reason, myofascial release is often used over a broad area of muscle and tissue rather than at single points.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Most of the myofascial release treatments take place during a massage therapy session. The therapist will begin massaging and stretching the areas that feel rigid with light manual pressure. The therapist then aids the tissue and supportive sheath in releasing pressure and tightness. The process is repeated multiple times on the same trigger point and other trigger points until the therapist feels the tension is fully released. These areas where the massage therapist is working may not be near where the pain originates or where you feel the pain most prominently. Myofascial release works the broader network of muscles that might be causing your pain. It tries to reduce tension throughout your body by releasing trigger points across a broad section of your muscular system.

WHO WILL BENEFIT?

Patients with myofascial pain syndrome frequently benefit from this type of therapy. People who experience chronic headaches may also find relief from myofascial release. Gently massaging on tightened muscles in and around the neck and head may reduce headaches. Some people with venous insufficiency, which occurs when blood pools in the deep veins of the leg, may also be candidates for myofascial release. During venous insufficiency, the blood pool stretches and eventually damages the veins in your legs. You may experience an aching and painful sensation in the affected leg. The myofascial release might be used in conjunction with other treatments to reduce the pooling and pain caused by venous insufficiency.

CONDITIONS TREATED.

Myofascial release (MFR) therapy focuses on releasing muscular shortness and tightness. There are several conditions and symptoms that myofascial release therapy addresses. Many patients seek myofascial treatment after losing flexibility or function following an injury or if experiencing ongoing back, shoulder, hip, or virtually pain in any area containing soft tissue. Myofascial the release can be used to treat a range of conditions, bringing pain relief and better myofascial function. Common conditions include:

  • Chronic neck pain and back pain (upper and lower)
  • Chronic shoulder and hip restrictions
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Plantar fasciitis (the most common type of heel pain)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • TMJ dysfunction
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Post-polio syndrome
  • Whiplash
  • A build-up of scar tissue
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Menstrual or cervical pain
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Acute sprains and strains
  • Poor posture and/or loss of flexibility
  • Other complex pain issues that have not responded to treatment

Myofascial release therapy has very few risks but is not recommended for individuals dealing with:

  • Burns or open wounds
  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Fragile or weak bones
  • Deep vein thrombosis or deep vein issues
  • Blood thinners

LIMITATIONS/RISK FACTORS

Myofascial release by massage therapy has very few risks. Whether you’re trying to relax or aiming to ease back pain, massage therapy may be beneficial for pain reduction. However, massage isn’t ideal for people:

  • With burns, injuries, or painful wounds
  • With fractures or broken bones
  • With fragile or weak bones
  • With deep vein thrombosis or deep vein issues
  • Taking blood-thinning medications

In very rare cases, massage therapy may cause:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Temporary paralysis or difficulty moving your muscles
  • Allergic reaction to oils, gels, or lotions
  • Nerve damage

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