Obtaining pain relief through myofascial release
The purpose of myofascial release is to provide sustained gentle pressure to cause soft tissue such as fascia to stretch and elongate thus returning to its normal state without restrictions. This is different type of release and is different from massage. It is a targeted treatment for specific a myofascial condition.
Fascia is a tough connective tissue that is woven throughout our bodies. It binds muscles, ligaments, vessels and nerves. When I was in nursing school a professor explained that it is what the “marbling in steak” was. It was a rather gross example however it helped me to understand.
Injuries to the fascia occur because of trauma, poor posture, illnesses and repeated movement and stress. It can cause the fascia to develop scar tissue and impinge nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Unfortunately xrays and scans do not show this type of injury and the pain and restricted range of motion may go undiagnosed and untreated. This may result not only in restriction of movement but pain, numbness and tingling.
The movements utilized in myofascial release treatments are similar to kneading and pulling on taffy candy. It involves gentle stretching that gradually softens, lengthens, and releases restrictions from the fascia.
Some researchers believe the tightness within the fascia may be one of the primary causes of the hypersensitive pain that is one of the main symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Myofascial release and trigger point therapy is therefore sometimes helpful with Fibro patients.
An article in the Journal of Cranio Mandibular and Sleep Practice in April 2012 documents a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of botulinum toxin injections and Fascial Manipulation techniques for myofascial pain in jaw muscles. Thirty patients with TMJ were given either a single session of botulinum toxin injections or several sessions of Fascial Manipulation Maximum. Pain levels and jaw range of motion were assessed at baseline, at the end of treatment, and at three-months. Both treatments provided improvement for pain symptoms. Even though the two treatments seemed to be effective, Fascial Manipulation was seen as slightly superior in reducing pain, while the botulinum toxin injections was a little better in increasing jaw range of motion. Additional studies are warranted.
The future of Myofascial Release
Meilus Precision Therapy is a new treatment method developed in 2007 by by Lockheed martin, University of South Florida and an engineer turned therapist Al Meilus. It uses a manipulation wand to apply precise, gentle pressure to the connective tissue. At the same time it provides a level of re education for muscles patterns. It is said to help alleviate symptoms of:
- Lower back and neck pain
- Carpal Tunnel
Since it’s conception in Pinellas County Florida, not only has it been helpful in pain management it has also helped celebrities such as golfer Jack Nicklaus, Dwight Gooden from the New York Yankees, Frederick Modin from the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Charlie Batch from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Professional Sports Teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Jets, Chicago White Sox, and the Tampa Bay Lightning and Buccaneers improve athletic performance and range of movement through the use of this therapy.
St Petersburg, Florida Pain Management specialist, Dr Rickie Lockett claims to have benefitted from the Meilus Robot therapy himself and has started to utilize it within his own practice. That is a huge vote of confidence for this emerging treatment.
Take Home Message
Research has finally caught up with what many pain patients know. If it is utilized as a therapeutic modality by a qualified massage therapist,
physical therapist or occupational therapist, an individual can expect to benefit in many ways. This can include a decrease in pain, improved posture, and overall quality of life.
Here is where to find a qualified MFR therapist:
Here is where to find a local Meilus Muscle Therapist:
Liptan GL. Fascia: A missing link in our understanding of the pathology of Fibromyalgia. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2010;14(1):3-12.