How to Reduce Pain through Myofascial Release

Inflammation is a painful, damaging condition with a number of different causes. Inflammation indicates that the body is in the process of repairing injury or attacking an invader. As the resources of the body are consolidated in a particular location, they build up, block fluid pathways, and prevent regular detoxification and drainage. As going through gridlock, resources and carriers are unable to move efficiently.

One of the more debilitating, though common, places where inflammation can build up is in a person’s myofascial tissues or fasciae.

 

Myofascial Tissue and Myofascial Pain

Myofascial tissue is made up of collagen and elastin fibres, providing a fibrous connective matrix which supports the rest of the body. It’s sort of like a mesh bag or spider web that covers the musculature and organs. It helps muscles and organs move and glide against each other, while keeping the rest of the body in line. Healthy myofascial tissue is soft, pliable, and elastic.

Myofascial tissue is especially prone to painful buildup of tension leading to all sorts of body pain.  It’s been estimated that 44 million people in the US suffer from myofascial pain. Myofascial pain and inflammation are found in more than half of patients specifically seeking treatment for head or neck pain, and in about nine in ten patients with chronic, long-term, or recurring pain.

Myofascial pain is often the result of trauma, especially in cases with whiplash, but it’s also associated with poor postural and sleeping habits, repetitive stress injury,  hormonal changes (like during menstruation, pregnancy, adolescence, and menopause), and stress.

 

Myofascial Lines of Tension

When myofascial tissues are damaged or inflamed, they become rigid, like knots, adhering to the underlying tissues and restricting movement in the muscles, bones and organs they support and protect. In losing their elasticity, these myofascial tissues can impede regular breathing, cause headaches, muscle tension, and prevent regular detoxification of the body’s other systems. It is crucial to find the source of myofascial pain as it can worsen and become chronic.

Myofascial pain is the result of lines of tension that originate from restrictions of mobility within the muscles, bones, and organs. Inflammation can restrict the mobility of any given structure of the body, causing adherences or scar tissue within the surrounding myofascial tissue. The whole myofascial layer distorts, like a net or spider web, and pain and other symptoms can present almost anywhere else in the body via these myofascial lines of tension caused by a single node somewhere in the web.

 

Reducing Inflammation and Pain through Myofascial Release

The first step into treating inflammation and pain is to understand how the body protects itself in one area and adapts and compensates by overusing another area of the body. This explains why symptoms are often experienced remotely from the place of dysfunction and why it is important to treat the root cause of pain instead of its symptoms.

When muscles, bones, or organs are restricted and misaligned from injury, poor posture or stress, the body tries to compensate to keep its balance. Therefore, lines of tension reach other structures at a distance causing new restrictions and causing secondary or cascading inflammation and pain outwards from the initial site of restricted mobility.

The longer we wait, the harder it becomes to treat the initial injury as the body keeps compensating by creating new lines of tension in order to maintain its equilibrium. Restrictive patterns become anchored, rooted in the body, leading to chronic pain and further sites of inflammation.

To treat the root cause of symptoms, it’s important to realign the body and bring back mobility and function to the restricted areas by gently manipulating the muscles, bones, connective tissue and internal organs. When mobility is restored, lines of tension are no longer needed for the body to keep its balance and symptoms often disappear without even touching the suffering area.   

However, it is important to integrate the corrections made during treatments with the rest of the body to lift old body memories and retrain the body to function optimally. Myofascial release techniques between the initial dysfunction and the remote suffering area will ensure that the body stops creating lines of tensions to adapt to the dysfunctional area that no longer exists.

Addressing the root cause of symptoms and their related myofascial lines of tension has a dramatic impact on the body’s alignment and balance, improving range of motion, flexibility, and aerobic potential. It also improves metabolic, hormonal and eliminative functions, assists in detox, promotes relaxation, reduces inflammation and treats chronic pain.

Come to our clinic next June 19 at 6:30 p.m. to learn more about Myofascial Release from our Osteopath, Julie Duggan.

If you have experienced referred pain, stress, trouble sleeping or breathing, a decrease in flexibility, or if you have other concerns, CONTACT US TODAY! Advanced Health is here to help. Let’s work together to get you on the path to lifelong wellness.

 

Further Reading:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4508225/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6134706/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4285362/

https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/treatments/myofascial-pain-what-best-treatment

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12054-myofascial-pain-syndrome

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/myofascial-pain-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20375444

Author
Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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