Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is an ailment of the body’s soft connective tissue or fascia. Also known as the “second nervous system,” fascia communicates with virtually every blood vessel, muscle and organ. Much like cells in the primary nervous system, fascia cells also “talk” with body mechanisms. When a patient sustains recurrent injury, however, connective tissue may become inflamed and impede cell communication and a host of painful symptoms may result.
Where does it hurt?
Normal connective tissue is flexible and pliable, but may become scarred or rigid over time. Trigger points sometimes develop at scarred sites causing pain to manifest in other seemingly unrelated areas; pain associated with an injury sustained at one locale may adversely affect another, for example. In more severe cases, pain may appear in multiple sites simultaneously.
Myofascial release (MFR)
The body is made up of a lot of muscle. MFR works from a perspective that an efficient use of the musculoskeletal system dictates how healthy other areas remain. If muscle motion is restricted, further injury, dysfunction or pain may result. Direct and indirect are two treatment modes that want to expand restricted range of motion.
Range of motion
Muscles and joints move because they are made that way. They have places they start and stop and everywhere in between is the range of motion. Unfortunately, because of injury, some muscles stop before they are supposed to, so their limited range of motion is problematic. If a patient’s respiratory muscles cannot expand properly, for example, it may inhibit their ability to breathe properly.
Subsequent lack of oxygen in the bloodstream from this may adversely affect the circulatory system which may then facilitate further illness or injury and pain and so on. MFR works to increase range of motion and relieve pain.
Direct and indirect
Direct and indirect MFR techniques use pressure and stretching to relieve painful muscle tension. Practitioners may use instruments, hands, arms or even their elbows to elongate muscles and increase a patient’s muscle flexibility. While direct technique applies force to problematic areas, indirect MFR works along with tension until tension, generated by injury or ailment, is relieved. The hope in this is to restore normal range of motion and rehabilitate musculoskeletal form.