Getting a MassageIf you find yourself frequently suffering from pain and stiffness in your muscles, you may find it beneficial to visit a chiropractor or other manual therapy specialist who incorporates myofascial release technique (MRT) into their practice. The concept of MRT has its origins in the late 19th century, when osteopathic medicine was being developed. The basic idea is that a specific type of manipulation of the soft tissues can remove adhesions and other restrictions to the free movement of the fascial tissue that covers our muscles, eliminating pain and stiffness and restoring flexibility.

Fascial tissue is a web-like covering of connective tissue that supports and protects the body’s muscles and organs. In its healthy state, it is supple and resilient and moves easily over our muscles. However, the fascia can become tight and inflexible over time due to overuse, injury or illness. Scar tissue can also build up in the muscles, making them short, inelastic and fibrous, increasing the restriction in movement. In time, nerve roots may become stuck in these adhesions, increasing pain and causing numbness and loss of function.

A practitioner of myofascial release technique will use differing amounts of sustained pressure to slowly stretch and lengthen shortened muscle fibers and release adhesions in the soft tissue. It is similar to massage, but is generally slower, deeper and more sustained in its manipulation of the muscles and fascia. Your therapist will locate tight, knotted areas and apply slow, sustained pressure to them. As the adhesions and scar tissue are broken up, elasticity is returned to the soft tissue and trapped nerve roots are released, eliminating pain and restoring full range-of-motion. This also allows you to respond better to chiropractic treatment and perform any rehabilitation exercises that your chiropractor may suggest.

Among the conditions that myofascial release technique may improve are the following:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Injury from auto accidents
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Head trauma
  • Birth trauma
  • Chronic pain & dysfunction
  • Recurring sports injuries
  • Tennis elbow

Because of the nature of fascial adhesions, MRT performed on a problem area in one part of the body may help to relieve pain in other parts of the body as well. For instance, releasing adhesions in your back may help to relieve pain in your legs. Many chiropractors incorporate MRT into their practice. It may be a useful addition to your regular chiropractic treatment.