Myofascial release is a hands on technique that works on the connective tissue of the body called fascia. Fascia connects all the bones, muscles and organs to each other and helps everything move in relation to each other.
Almost everyone benefits from some form of soft tissue mobilization when there is an injury. Soft tissue mobilization can include myofascial release, friction massage, deep tissue work, skin rolling, skin dragging,scar tissue massage.
The goal of any of the various methods of myofascial release is to increase fluid movement, blood flow, and soft tissue flexibility to improve movement.
Myofascia is basically a web-like collagen structure that starts under the skin and goes through the muscle fibers, bones and organs. It’s like a glue that’s flexible but also stabilizes and keeps things bound together. Myofascia is the level of fascia that surrounds and holds the muscles together.
Muscles are made up of straw-like muscle fibers that are layered on top of each other. The fascia surrounds each fiber to keep them separated. It is firm enough to keep the fibers in place, but also flexible enough to allow the muscle to contract and lengthen.
Myofascial tightness or restrictions can develop in any area of the body. Fascia restrictions can cause pain or tightness locally, but it can also affect different parts of your body. For example, a fascia restriction in your hip can affect the flexibility of your shoulder.
Fascia restrictions can affect orthopedic and pelvic floor issues. In more sever cases, fascia restrictions can lead to Myofascial Pain Syndrome.
Slumped shoulders or a forward head and neck position can cause the front muscles to tighten and develop restrictions.
Localized compression on a tissue (like your buttocks) for too long will restrict the blood flow. Fascia and muscle tissue need good blood flow to stay healthy. Lack of blood flow can cause restrictions to develop.
Injuries or surgeries can create changes in the tissue. As your body works to heal the injury or incision, scar tissue develops and cause restrictions in the fascia.
Chronic inflammation can affect the surrounding tissue. Inflammatory conditions such as endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, chronic yeast infections, gastrointestinal issues or colitis can cause changes and restrictions in the fascia.
Any chronic nerve irritation can potentially change the way the muscle behaves and lead to restrictions. Conditions could include a chronic nerve condition or herniated disc.
It’s important to work to release and balance all levels of fascia, including the organ related fascia. This is especially important if you’ve been dealing with chronic issues. It’s also important to address all other alignment issues, musculature trigger points and imbalances in muscle strength and length at the same time as myofascial release.
Myofascial release can involve hands-on techniques or tools. The type of technique used varies depending on the symptoms and tolerance to each technique.
If you’re experiencing myofascial restrictions or would like to learn about our myofascial release techniques, click here to schedule a complimentary phone consultation with one of our physical therapists.