Back Pain Treatment: Myofascial Release Therapy

Myofascial release therapy is a massage therapy modality that is specifically designed to treat certain pressure points in the muscles (known as trigger points) or sections of the fascia, which is the outer coverings of the back muscles. Though the fascia are layers of connective tissue that cover a majority of the muscles of our body, the fascia sections that are treated in myofascial release therapy usually include those of the lower back. Myofascial release therapy involves slow, steady pressure to certain areas of certain muscles, especially tender trigger points, to increase a person's range of motion and to decrease pain levels. The progress of the treatments are gauges by later testing of the same trigger points that were discovered during baseline tests, and by patient reports of changes in symptoms, or lack thereof.

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Myofascial release may be used to treat lower back pain, as well as other related orthopedic conditions, including pelvic pain, fibromyalgia, and sciatica. The procedure may be worth a try for you, as it is considered safe, and carries very little risk. The idea behind this particular massage modality is that due to trauma, emotional stress, or degenerative changes to your spine, certain pressures may build up in the muscles and muscle coverings (fascia) around your back. These changes in your back may crease produce tensile pressures in certain supportive structures, that may be involved in your back pain symptoms, either directly or indirectly. You may directly be aware of the pain in the pressure points (trigger points) themselves, or you may experience pain in the nearby nerves affected by these pressure points. To experience short-term pain relief, there are tons of treatments available that may help you to go pain free for awhile, without actually correcting the underlying problem. To get long term relief, though, you will want to be able to correct the underlying problem, and to free up the underlying muscles and connective tissues of the back, so that you can move normally again, free of limitations. Myofascial release therapy, along with other treatments such as deep-tissue massage and physical therapy, may help to promote healing, increased mobility, and to correct the underlying disease.

Myofascial release therapy involves the use of the hands and palms of the practitioner to apply gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue areas that are associated with the patient's symptoms. Once these pressure points are treated correctly, the patient may have a greater range of motion in their back, and an increased ability to go about their everyday life, without as much pain. Or the patient may have enough symptom relief that they are able to continue with their physical therapy exercises so that they may be able to correct the underlying structural problem in their back. The continuous, gentle pressure that is applied to certain tense myofascial areas may allow the viscoelastic fascia structures of the back to elongate, and stretch to their ideal size. Repeated treatments to these affected trigger points may lead to lasting benefits, and back pain relief.

These treatments do not require sophisticated equipment or diagnostic procedures, just a practitioner with the proper training.