Myofascial release therapy is a very effective modality that can help you with different kinds of muscular pain. The treatment focuses on relieving the stress in the fascia. This fascia is a three-dimensional network of fibers that cushion movement and keep your internal organs protected. Any knots and stress caused by injuries or bad posture can get communicated to the different sections of your body. As a result, you feel pain, discomfort, and difficulty in movement.
Choosing the Right Myofascial Release Therapist
If you’re considering getting myofascial release therapy, you’ll need to contact the health professionals that have formally trained in giving you the treatment. Specialists trained in sports medicine or sports injuries, massage therapists, occupational or physical therapists, chiropractors, and osteopathic physicians may acquire the necessary certification needed to perform the treatment on you. These providers also need to get continuing education credits to maintain their certification. They are trained in locating the precise trigger points or locations where the fascia is strained. By working on these points, the therapists can help release stress and alleviate pain.
How the Treatment Progresses
Doctors conduct myofascial release therapy just as they would conduct physical therapy for rehabilitation after a surgical procedure. Here’s everything you need to know about the treatment.
- During the first session, the therapist may ask you questions about the specific medical issue for which you need treatment. She may also examine you and use gentle palpitating motions to locate the specific fascia that is causing you pain, loss of symmetry, and restricted movement.
- Each session of myofascial release therapy takes anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes to complete.
- Depending on your medical problem, the therapist may recommend that you come in for subsequent sessions every day or at regular intervals.
- Typically, myofascial release therapy is given in a medical care facility or outpatient clinic. Your therapist will choose a quiet, private room where you are not disturbed. You will be asked to wear loose comfortable clothes such as shorts and t-shirts.
- The treatment is a hands-on modality that is given without the use of creams and oils or any special equipment. Having identified the trigger points, the therapist applies and maintains the precise amount of pressure that can help release the tension in the fascia. He uses his fingers, knuckles, heels and palms of the hand to manipulate the muscles, working on a single section at a time. If needed, he may also use low load stretching exercises to help you.
- You will likely feel a completely relaxed sensation and the pain starts to ease right after the session is completed. There is no downtime involved and you can go back to your regular activities right afterward.
- The length of the treatment depends on the seriousness of your issue. Your therapist evaluates the effectiveness of the treatment according to the better range of motion you have and the lowered levels of pain you feel.
Therapies Given in Conjunction to Myofascial Release Therapy
Myofascial release therapy is a non-invasive method to help you with the pain and stiffness you feel in the muscles. Your specialist might recommend that you get the treatment to help with the other modalities you might be taking. Here are some of the typical treatments that myofascial release therapy can complement.
- Your doctor will suggest that you apply ice to reduce the swelling in the affected areas or apply heat packs to help loosen constricted muscles.
- You might be asked to take common pain medication such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
- After the myofascial release session, your therapist might show you how to do simple stretching exercises to keep your muscles flexible and help increase the range of motion. Aerobic exercises can help promote blood circulation in the muscles for better healing.
- Sports therapists may recommend that athletes get myofascial release therapy before competitions and events to help them align the skeletal and muscular structure of their bodies. The treatment can help their muscles relax so they can perform to the best of their abilities.
- Other types of procedures such as physical and occupational therapy, manipulation, and acupuncture are often combined with myofascial release therapy.
Possible Side Effects of Myofascial Release Therapy
Most patients do not experience any kind of side effects after getting the therapy. On rare occasions, some patients may feel lightheaded or nauseous afterward. Any soreness settles within a day. Your therapist will also recommend that you drink lots of water to flush away the toxins released by the treatment. Some patients may feel that the discomfort has worsened for a day or two before the healing accelerates.
Contraindication of Myofascial Release Therapy
Myofascial release therapy is completely safe and can be taken by any person. However, patients may want to inform the doctors beforehand if they are pregnant or have recently had a severe injury or surgery. If you are taking anticoagulation medicines, do let the therapist know. Further, while there is no possibility of bruising because the therapist uses gentle movements, if you have a tendency to bruise easily, inform your practitioner before the session begins. Patients that have open wounds, burns, and injuries or fragile bones may also want to avoid getting myofascial release therapy.
Research Conducted into the Effectiveness of the Therapy
Several studies on patients have indicated that myofascial release therapy is effective in helping them with many different muscular problems.
- A study was conducted on a group of 63 plantar heel pain patients of which 17 were men and 49 were women. Half of the patients were given 12 myofascial release sessions over 4 weeks. The patients that received the treatment showed a reduction in pain of 72.4% as compared to the patients that did not receive treatment.
- A group of 30 children, aged between six and twelve years with cerebral palsy were divided into two divisions. Both groups with treated with neural developmental therapy. However, one group was also given myofascial release therapy for the hands. The division that received both treatments showed better hand function. The kids were able to lift smaller objects better than those that only received neural development therapy.
Myofascial release therapy is a safe, non-invasive modality that can help patients with various types of muscular pain. You can get the treatment for back pain, headaches that arise from stress in the neck and shoulders, and swelling in the legs that arises from blood pooling in the veins. However, these are only some of the conditions that the therapy can help you with. Talk to your doctor about the benefits of the treatment and ask if it is right for you.
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