When you stress your muscles and myofascial structure during athletic activities, you may have symptoms of myofascial pain. These signs can include long-term discomfort and sensations of excessive pressure on any particular section of the body. You might also start to feel a stiffness and may start to favor a shoulder or leg without noticing. Various forms of non-invasive therapy can help your muscles heal and alleviate the stiffness so you can continue to perform as before. One of such treatments is myofascial release therapy.
Consider getting these tools for Myofascial Release Therapy self-care.
Who Can Provide Myofascial Release Therapy?
If you’re looking for myofascial release therapy, you might want to look for a therapist who has the necessary training and certification to perform therapy on you. Some such professionals include:
- Specialists that have a detailed knowledge of sports medicine or sports injury
- Massage therapists
- Physical or occupational therapists
- Osteopathic physicians
How a Myofascial Release Therapy Session Progresses
Injuries and stress in one section of the myofascial structure of the body often communicate to other sections through the network of collagen and elastin. For this reason, when you sign up for myofascial release therapy, your healer will likely conduct a detailed examination of your muscles. He may also ask you a series of questions that are intended to identify the trigger points or the special areas that are injured. Here’s everything you need to know about subsequent sessions:
- Myofascial release sessions are conducted in an outpatient center or healthcare facility.
- Each session may last for 30 to 50 minutes at a time.
- Your therapist may use gentle sustained pressure for a few minutes at a time. Or, he may use low load stretches to release the pressure on specific muscles.
- If you feel a slight burning sensation, that could indicate the stimulation of a healing chemical reaction.
- In case of swelling and inflammation, cold compresses are used. And, constricted muscles are treated with heat packs.
- You may be asked to come in daily or at intervals of a few days for a few initial sessions.
- Depending on the severity of the symptoms, therapy might continue for a few weeks or months.
- Your therapist will show you how you can perform slow, stretching exercises to regain your range of motion and keep your muscles flexible. Careful aerobic exercises also help boost blood circulation to the injured areas.
- If needed, your therapist may combine treatment with other therapies to help you better. These therapies can include acupressure, acupuncture, infrared light treatments, and pain injections. He might also recommend oral medication like analgesics, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
Indications that the Myofascial Release Session is Successful
In case you’re wondering if the therapy is working on you and healing your muscles, look for these signs:
- Better range of motion
- Easing of the pain and swelling
- Movement is freer and lighter
Tools for Myofascial Release Self-care
While it is always preferable to work with an expert professional to get myofascial release therapy, you can also use certain tools that can help you exert pressure on the trigger points for relief. Check with your therapist for the correct methods of using these tools. You can also watch online videos for demonstrations.
Cylindrical Foam Roller: Place the foam roller on the floor and lay on it with the injured trigger point facing the roller. You’ll need to move very slowly at the rate of an inch or so per minute. Pause in between for several seconds on especially tight areas for the pressure to help release the stress. Within 5 to 30 seconds, you’ll start to feel the pressure easing and discomfort lessening. While you can identify the trigger points yourself, you could also ask your trainer for directions.
- Curved Cane, also called the Theracane: These canes are essentially self-massaging tools that you can use to reach the trigger points that are causing you discomfort.
- Roller Stick: Some of these sticks may come with spikes, spines, or bumps. You only need to move them over the affected muscles for stress relief.
- Acupressure Ball: You can use these balls to massage areas such as the biceps or thighs.
- Floss Band: You can wrap the floss bands around your calf, knee, elbow, or any other affected area for about 2 minutes. After wrapping, put the muscles through the entire range of motion. When you remove the band, the rush of blood to the area can bring in fresh oxygen and nutrients. The boost in lymph flow helps carry away lactic acid and other toxins the muscles have released.
- Lacrosse Ball: These balls work similarly to acupressure balls and help release myofascial stress.
- Vacuum Cups: Using cups to create suction on the trigger points is a completely distinct therapeutic modality with a wide range of applications. It is called cupping therapy and you can learn how to perform the therapy on your own or work with a certified cupping therapist.
- H-shaped Channeled Foam Roller: These rollers work very much like cylindrical foam rollers but they are H in shape and are especially useful for back pain.
Getting myofascial release therapy from a certified therapist is always an advisable method of helping release the pain and stiffness that can occur because of athletic activities and training. However, you can get certain tools to help the healing process along. Use them under the directions of your therapist to supplement the treatment she provides.
“Myofascial Release for Athletes: Pain, Prevention, Performance.” MFR Brisbane. n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.
Wilson, Rob. “Foam Rollers Don’t Work: Understanding Myofascial Release.” Breaking Muscle. n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.
Morgan. “Myofascial Decompression (Cupping Therapy)- The Whats, Whys, and Hows.” Evolution Sports. 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.
Ganfield, Lisa. OTR/L. CHT. “Myofascial Release Therapy.” Spine Health. 8 June 2009. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
Kuhland, Jeff. “What Is A Foam Roller, How Do I Use It, And Why Does It Hurt?” Breaking Muscle. n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.
Kendell, Naomi. “Myofascial Release – Treatments and Massage Techniques You Can Do Yourself.” Streaming Fit. n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.
Vieux, Michele. “The Wonderful World of Voodoo Floss.” Invictus Blog. n.d. Web. 12 mar. 2017.