Neuromuscular Massage and Myofascial Pain
"Myofascia" is a term describing muscle (myo) and the connective tissue (fascia) surrounding muscle. When the muscles and tissues become injured or stressed, they form a "knot" of painful tissue. This knot tightens the fascia, creating a trigger point and causing pain at the site or referred pain to other locations of the body.
Chronic myofascial pain is a multifaceted and complex medical problem faced by many people. Unfortunately, myofascial pain is refractory, meaning it is largely unresponsive to conventional medications. When a physician's attempts to use NSAIDs, anti depressants, muscle relaxants, or analgesics for treatment of pain have not provided more than temporary relief, the patient may become at risk for depression, anxiety, and a sedentary lifestyle. The remedy is to treat the source of the pain with neuromuscular massage, rather than medicating symptoms.
Treating the Source
Myofascial Release, also known as Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy, is an effective neuromuscular massage technique used to reduce or eliminate pain due to tight muscle and fascia, which may indirectly cause neurological pain due to secondary nerve impingement or irritation.
Pain Conditions Responsive to Neuromuscular Massage Include:
- Repetitive Motion Injuries
- Plantar Fascitis
- Pain from Poor Posture or Skeletal Abnormalities
- Pain from Chronic Injury or Surgery
- Frozen Shoulder/Rotator Cuff Injury
- TMJ (Jaw Pain)
- Muscle Pain from Tension, Stress, or Keyboard/Monitor Strain
- Connective Tissue Disorders
- Chronic Headache and Migraine
- Arthritis and Bursitis
- Spinal Issues (Herniated or Degenerative Discs)
While Myofascial Release doesn't cure an underlying disease, it addresses the source of pain caused by the above conditions and many others as well.
What to Expect
A massage therapist will gather information about the pain a patient is experiencing. The therapist will palpate muscles and tissue to feel for the knots and trigger points associated with myofascial pain. Once the source of trigger point or points have been found, the therapist will use a variety of methods to treat the patient, based on his or her individual needs. Generally speaking, the therapist applies pressure directly to the trigger point by hand or with an instrument until it softens and is releases. Massage stretches the muscle and fascia to a more natural, smooth state.
In some cases, soreness may follow treatment but tends to resolve quickly. While some patients find relief from pain with the first treatment, other patients may need several treatments, as swiftness of relief is relative to the underlying problem's severity. Patients suffering from continued repetitive motion injuries, skeletal abnormalities, or chronic disorders may wish to have treatment on a regular basis as part of their pain management program.
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