Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider’s web or a sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater. ( John F Barnes PT)
Myofascial Release is a treatment that releases tension in the fascia. myofascial restriction can limit the mobility of the tissue, which can lead to chronic pain. When using the technique of myofascial release, the therapist locates the tension in the fascia and releases it by gently stretching the fascia, which will not only release the tension in the injured area but will also release tension throughout the whole body. The benefits may be numerous, with the possibility of an increased range of motion, better posture, and relief from pain and discomfort.
What and where are trigger points?
The fascial tissue is located throughout your body, so adhesions and activated trigger points anywhere within this tissue can affect a wide number of physiological systems and structures.
You probably know what a knot feels like: an area that feels uncomfortable, stiff, dense, and maybe even tender. Indeed, “knots” are essentially synonymous with trigger points, although they may not always be overtly obvious or noticeable.
Trigger points can happen anywhere in the body and are especially common in the shoulders, back, and hips. As mentioned, the connective tissue within these areas exhibit increased tension and stiffness, often as a result of stress, illness, or injury. Muscle fibers may tense up in spasms and there may be a decrease in oxygenated blood or lymphatic flow to the area, as well, all of which can contribute to localized stiffness and discomfort.
Interestingly, trigger point pain can often be referred from other parts of the body. A buildup of scar tissue or a joint misalignment, for instance, may lead to pain or spasm in a nearby muscle. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to consult with a physical therapist if you’re struggling with pressure point pain, since there may be more to the symptoms than meets the eye.
How should I prepare for TP therapy?
To maximize the effectiveness of our care, our physical therapist team encourages you to wear comfortable clothing and sturdy supportive shoes—essentially, anything you’d be comfortable working out in. Of course, while much of our physical therapy services do involve active participation from you as the patient, manual therapy sessions (which includes trigger point therapy) allow you to take more of a passive, restorative role.
Know that when you first arrive for your initial consultation, one of our physical therapists will take you through a thorough patient history questionnaire and physical examination. You’ll be encouraged to ask questions along the way to help us gain insight into your unique condition and help us provide you with an accurate diagnosis and plan of care, which may include manual therapy as well as additional evidence-based physical therapy services such as therapeutic exercises, joint mobilizations, and modalities.
We always encourage our patients to stay well-hydrated both before, during, and after treatment. Water is essential to helping your body heal, and the effects of both active and passive therapeutic services (including pressure point massage) are amplified when you drink plenty of fluids. Aim for one third to one half your body weight in fluid ounces per day, or more if you exercise a lot or have a physically demanding job.
Are you struggling with acute or chronic pain? Contact our physical therapy team today to learn more about myofascial release and other drug-free and non-invasive techniques. Our physical therapy team has found the myofascial release to be effective for numerous conditions. Request your consult today at Healing Hands Physical Therapy!