Here at Sports Therapy Fitness we have a range of proven treatment techniques that can help with your aches and tension. In our treatment clinic in Marton, our highly trained therapist Steve can put together a detailed plan and get you feeling like yourself.
The scientific name for the treatment is Myofascial Release, which sounds mind boggling but if you break it down it makes complete sense. If at all we lose you don’t despair, just give us a call on 07491 891576 and we can talk you through it and get you in to try.
Myofascial Release (Muscle – Fascia – Release)
is used for the release of fascia which has become stuck, hardened and dehydrated. Restricted fascia and soft tissues lead to often undiagnosed pain, exhaustion and immune system dysfunctions. Hardening of the fascia occurs in response to physical or emotional trauma.
MFR is necessary for recovery from all types of physical injuries and conditions such as sporting injuries, back and neck pain, whiplash, stress-related muscular tension and repetitive strain injuries. MFR is unparalleled in its ability to provide fundamental release from the pain and fatigue arising from physical adhesions often seen in:
- Chronic pain
- Neck and back pain
- Whiplash and other trauma
- Sports injuries
- ‘Pulled muscles’ and muscle tears
- Scar tissue and other adhesions
- ‘Tendonitis’ and bursitis
- Undiagnosed or generalised pain
- Stress-related muscular tension
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a tough membrane of varying thickness which envelops and separates everything in the body from whole muscle groups and bones down to each individual cell, providing protection and communication, like a three-dimensional net. It reaches right through the body, surrounding individual muscle fibres, tendons, ligaments, nerves, organs, lymph vessels, blood vessels and capillaries.
In the normal, hydrated, healthy state, fascia has the ability to stretch and move without restriction.
Because fascia is entirely continuous throughout the body, a restriction in one part will affect every other part.
Fascia and Muscular Pain
Each muscle fibre has a fascial binding, and so muscle and fascia are functionally linked. Injuries or imbalances in the muscular system will cause the fascia to tighten and dehydrate, and it is often restrictions in fascia which give rise to ‘muscle’ pain.
Fascia and other structures
Nerves and blood vessels can be affected as if fascia is stuck, it squeezes the structures it surrounds, inhibiting movement and circulation. If fascia is not moving freely the whole area will experience pressure, malnourishment and ultimately painful restriction in movement and at rest.
The Wider Impact of Fascial Restrictions
Myofascial restrictions play a large part in pain syndromes. Fascia which is restricted can be extremely painful itself and cause surrounding fascia to harden protectively. Structures around restricted fascia cannot move without friction, which further compounds the problem.
Continuous overload of an area can then lead to compensatory restriction in other areas leading to total fascial restriction in which movement is almost impossible without extreme pain. This will not show up in any orthodox medical tests.
What happens when Fascia gets ‘stuck’?
Fascia is composed mainly of collagen (40%) and lubricating ground substance. Both muscle with its fascial sheaths and ground substance are 70% water – fascia acts like a sponge. With physical and emotional trauma it dehydrates – water is pushed out – rendering it hard and gel-like, thus reducing the lubricant qualities of the ground substance between the collagen fibres.
This leads to the collagen fibres shortening, thickening, and sticking together. This puts pressure on the nearby structures. When this happens more collagen fibres are produced, to help take the strain, which consequently leads to increased levels of hard fascia in that area.
Fascia which is shortened and hard compresses capillaries and nerves, causing pain, imbalance and discomfort, and resulting in decreased cardiovascular flow which the causes further problems with healing due to the reduced blood flow.
Myofascial Release brings about an increase of hydration of the ground substance, the collagen fibres and the whole of the fascial system. It increases the distance between the collagen fibres, and restores elasticity, allowing for further hydration and a decrease in compression around other structures.
The pain resulting from myofascial restriction is often described as deep, sharp, dull, burning, diffuse, heavy, or ‘like toothache’. Often it is difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the centre of pain and very often, if the cause is not treated and wider areas of fascia become affected, the pain can become generalized. Pain in the myofascial system is often referred pain, that is, the origin is in a seemingly unrelated, unaffected area, so for example a MFR technique performed in one area, will cause a release in a different area due to the inter-connectivity of fascia throughout the body.
Myofascial Release Techniques
Myofascial Release is the term referring to a collection of techniques for separating layers of fascia, releasing restrictions, restoring elasticity and hydration. Techniques include ‘cross-hand’ stretches, focused stretches, skin rolling, ‘windmill’ or J-stretches, pulls, shaking or trigger point release. Trigger point therapy is always accompanied by local fascial release, because if the fascia in the area of a trigger point has not been released, the trigger point is likely to return. Other muscle release techniques may well be used during the same session and tendons, ligaments, muscle tissue and fascia will all be treated where necessary, either concurrently or separately.
Myofascial release involves the application of pressure to different areas of the body, typically involving a cross-hand position to apply gentle pressure and a slight stretch to the tissues. As the fascia start to accept the pressure and relax (or release), slightly deeper pressure can be applied. The initial release can take as long as 2 minutes, and the position can be held for up to 5 minutes.
Steven Dodds 18/07/17