a woman being examined before Myofascial Release procedure

What Is a Myofascial Release?

Myofascial tissue is a type of strong and thin connective tissue that is present throughout the body. Its purpose is to provide support and protection to all bones and muscles. All myofascial tissue fibers are made up of elastin fibers and collagen, arranged in what looks like a spider’s web. 

They are suspended in a liquid called ground substance, and they can expand or contract, depending on the movements you make. However, when there is trauma or inflammation, this tissue can become much more rigid and tight, causing a restriction in motion. Find out more here about the problems related to myofascial tissue and how to treat them.

What Is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?

Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic condition caused by tightness in your myofascial tissues. An effective way to treat this disorder is through a myofascial release which focuses on reducing the pain and easing the tightness in the tissue. To pinpoint the precise point where the tightness originated is very difficult, which is why the release is performed over a wide area of muscle and tissue.

How Is the Release Performed?

It is common for a myofascial release to be done during a massage therapy session. Chiropractors are also trained to perform it.

To achieve the release, your therapist will massage the area, feeling for tight or stiff spots. Your therapist will start stretching the areas that have been identified with light manual pressure. Slowly, all affected points will begin feeling the release of the tightness. The process will be repeated as many times as needed until the therapist feels that the tension has fully been released.

If you are having this done, do not be confused if you feel that the therapist may not immediately start working in the area where you complained about having pain. The specialists know that it is important to massage the broader network of muscles that may be causing your pain. Trigger points may be found across a large swath of your muscle system.

Who May Benefit From a Myofascial Release?

Besides patients who suffer from myofascial pain syndrome, those who experience chronic headaches may also benefit from this therapy since a gentle massage in and around the neck area where the tightened muscles may be found, can result in a reduction in headaches.

People with venous insufficiency, which causes blood to pool in deep veins within the leg may also benefit from a myofascial release. This therapeutic option may be combined with other treatments to address the pooling and pain caused by this condition.

Are There Any Risks to a Myofascial Release?

There are very few risks associated with myofascial release, and it carries many benefits regarding pain reduction. However, if you have any of the following, you may not be a good candidate for myofascial release:

  • Brittle or weak bones
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Deep vein thrombosis or other deep vein issues
  • You are taking blood-thinning medications
  • You have injuries, painful wounds, or burns

Also, do not get a myofascial release if you may be allergic to the lotions, gels, or oils that your therapist may apply to your skin.

Due to its relative lack of risk, many people that suffer from chronic or even short-term back pain may be interested in trying out this therapy.

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