Myofascial Release

Healthcare professionals recognize myofascial pain syndrome is an important health problem which affects 85% of population at some point in their lifetime (Jafri, 2014). Myofascial pain syndrome is collection of the sensory, motor, and autonomic symptoms that include local and referred pain, decreased range of motion, and weakness. Although, the mechanisms of the onset and maintenance of myofascial trigger points are unknown.

What causes the onset of myofascial trigger point and fascial restriction?

Myofascial pain syndrome is caused by myofascial trigger points which are identified by palpation as discrete foci of hypercontracted areas within a muscle (Jafri, 2014). An active myofascial trigger points causes pain, referred pain, impaired range of motion, muscle weakness, and loss of coordination. There is no clear evidence of the cause for myofascial trigger points at this time. However, it is thought to be caused by overuse, trauma, and psychological stress. 

Therapies for myofascial trigger point 

There are several therapies currently used to treat myofascial trigger points including massage, stretching, dry needling/injections, electrical stimulation, cold laser treatment, and ultrasound. Massage activated the mechanotransduction signaling pathways FAK (focal adhesion kinase) and ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase), decreased inflammatory cytokines, and increased mitochondrial biogenesis. 

Muscle stretching may increase blood circulation and benefit a long-term result. 

Electrical stimulation is another option to reduce myofascial trigger point tension by increasing the size and frequency of the muscle twitches. In fact, some studies showed that muscle stimulation to be more effective in treating trigger points than lidocaine treatment. 

Ultrasound is often used to treat myofascial pain and trigger points. However, the benefits are unclear. High powered Ultrasound prior to any exercises increases mobility due to thermal effect of ultrasound. 

Compressive myofascial release proved to be effective in terms of improving range of motion and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization. The benefits of these techniques are to release scar tissue, fascial adhesions, or tightness within the musculotendinous unit. Conventional myofascial release technique is also proven to help decrease pain and increase muscle flexibility, range of motion (ROM) and jaw mobility and TMJ dysfunction. 

Apex Physical Therapy, LLC practices based on evidence in research. Our staff is confident and experienced for myofascial release technique and its related manual therapy. We will provide effective and meaningful myofascial release treatment based on evaluation for each patient to work towards their best outcomes.

Jafri M. S. (2014). Mechanisms of myofascial pain. International Scholarly Research Notices, 523924. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/523924

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