What is fascia?
Fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, blood vessels, nerves, and organs in the body. Myofascial tissue is the fascia covering the muscles. It is in the form of thin sheets or bands and is strong. The role of myofascial tissue is to support muscles and promote frictionless gliding during movement and force transmission. Superficial, deep fascia, and visceral fascia are the types of fascia.
Muscle trauma results from musculoskeletal conditions, direct trauma, overuse, chronic low load stress, and sustained postures. It leads to alteration in muscle fibers length and imbalance between force generated by agonist and antagonist. It further causes neurological changes and restrictions in the myofascial system. These restrictions make movement rough and painful.
Myofascial release (MFR) encompasses various techniques focussing on releasing soft tissue restrictions impairing movement. It can be through direct and indirect techniques involving gentle sustained pressure and stretching. These techniques target fascia and are more intense than regular massage techniques.
Types Of Myofascial Release Techniques-
- Manual Myofascial Release-It is a hands-on method to facilitate the release of tight myofascial tissue. It can be direct or indirect. In the Direct technique, manually sustained pressure is applied through the hand, knuckles, or elbows to the fascia to release tight bands or knots. The aim is to stretch the fascia and mobilize the adhesive tissue. In the indirect technique, the stretch on the fascia is indirect, gentle, and sustained, like the cross-hand longitudinal stretching of the back muscles.
- Trigger point therapy- MFR at the trigger points that are focal areas of tenderness and taut bands in the muscle or myofascial tissue. Trigger points can be active or latent.
- Foam or massage roller-Place the affected muscle on the roller and then roll back and forth. Generally, it is used for upper back muscles, lower back, hamstrings, quads, glute, and calves. It is a kind of self-myofascial release technique.
Benefits of Myofascial Release(MFR)-
- Reduces pain
- Promotes tissue relaxation
- Improves range of motion
- Improve stretchability
- Improves circulation
- Help in a trigger point release
- Relieve tension in the myofascial tissue.
- Reduces overall stress and promotes relaxation.
Contraindications of MFR-
- Open wounds
- Osteoporotic bones
- Patients on blood thinning medications
- Fracture sites
- Acute inflammatory conditions
Fibromyalgia Versus Myofascial Pain Syndrome(MPS)
Myofascial pain is regular in the neck, back, and legs. It affects regional areas, and affected muscles feel stiff and tight. There are taut bands, which hurt with manual pressure and give referred pain. Fibromyalgia, on the other hand, is more generalized and widespread pain. It is chronic with multiple tender points.