To understand why it works, you need to understand a little about the thin tissue that covers all the organs of the body. This is called fascia. Fascia covers every muscle and every fiber within each muscle. When you stretch a muscle, you are really stretching the fascia. When you injure a muscle, the fascia around it becomes tight. Uneven stress is transmitted through the fascia to other parts of the body, causing pain and many other symptoms in areas you might not expect. Myofascial release helps by relaxing the uneven tightness.
“Lee was suffering from whiplash and for two years got no relief from a variety of neurologists, chiropractors, physical therapists etc. Only when he saw Tien did he solve the problem. Tien has magic in his hands. He can watch you walk in and know what’s wrong. We’re active people – skiing, biking, horseback riding. Whatever sports injury we have, we go to Tien. We will drive 4 hours one way to see Tien rather than 10 minutes to anyone else. We have referred many people to Tien and he has helped everyone.” – Lee and Julie Miller
We use myofascial release to stretch the fascia. We find each area of tightness and apply a light stretch. We wait for the tissue to relax and then increase the stretch. The process is repeated until the area is fully relaxed. Then, the next area is stretched. We find sore spots just by touch. Often, patients are unable to pinpoint some sore spots or have adapted to them – until the physical therapist finds them. The size and sensitivity of these sore spots, called myofascial trigger points, will decrease with treatment.
Most patients are surprised by how gentle myofascial release is. Some patients fall asleep during treatment. Others go home and take a nap. Most patients find myofascial release to be a very relaxing form of treatment.
Myofascial release is not massage. Myofascial release is used to equalize muscle tension throughout the body. Unequal muscle tension can compress nerves and muscles, causing pain. Progress is measured by a decrease in pain and an improvement in overall posture.
At Manual Therapy Associates, we use myofascial release to treat a wide variety of pain-causing conditions, from fibromyalgia to arthritis. If you suffer from pain, talk to us about the many ways physical therapy can help.
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