Myofascial Release

Myofascial release.

Myofascial release is a gentle, hands-on therapy that uses pressure on specific muscles and connective tissues to release tension and improve flexibility. “Myo” means muscle. “Fascia” is connective tissue that sits below the skin and stabilizes, covers, attaches and separates muscles, nerves, blood vessels and organs from one another. Myofascia, specifically, refers to the fascia that surrounds and separates muscles.

Throughout the body, fascia can be found in bands or sheets and is strong and durable. It is tightly woven, kind of like a spider’s web, and that woven design is what gives fascia its strength. Perhaps one of fascia’s most interesting features is that it is actually one continuous structure from the head to the feet. That is why a fascial restriction in one area of the body can cause symptoms somewhere else.

Fascial/Myofascial Restrictions

When the body is in a healthy form, fascia is able to move and stretch freely. However, muscle and joint problems in the body can cause restrictions in the fascia. Myofascial restrictions can cause significant pain and pressure within your body.

Sometimes, fascial restrictions happen as part of your body’s natural healing process. As an example, we often hear or read about scar tissue being formed after a surgical procedure or after an injury. Scar tissue is actually the healing of the fascia. But sometimes when the fascia heals, it is thicker and more tense in that area than it was before the surgery or injury. This thicker and tenser fascia can pull and tug on other fascial tissue, which causes pain and a change in the tissue layout. (Remember the spider web we talked about before? Imagine a lump in it—the whole web gets pulled in different directions.) There are specific myofascial release techniques that can help break down scar tissue and rework tissue in the right direction and general pattern.

There are other causes of fascial restrictions as well. Inflammation, poor posture, repetitive motion, less severe injuries and trauma (both physical and emotional) can create fascial and/or myofascial restrictions and can cause pain and restricted motion in one or multiple areas of the body.

Diagnosing Fascial/Myofascial Restrictions

Diagnosing these types of restrictions is done through physical examination. We are looking for tender points in tense muscles by applying gentle pressure to specific muscles and muscle groups. Often, we will feel the muscle “twitch” when we have found a myofascial problem in a certain area, and sometimes applying that gentle pressure causes referred pain, or pain in another area.

Currently, we do not have a way to see fascia or myofascia using any type of medical imaging (x-ray, CT-scan, MRI, etc.), so the physical examination turns out to be very important for making an accurate diagnosis of myofascial restriction or myofascial pain syndrome (a chronic pain condition).

Myofascial Release Is Not Massage Therapy

Myofascial release is different from massage therapy. The main focus of myofascial release is to align the fibers of the fascia within the fascial network. Myofascial release is often recommended along with chiropractic adjustments to focus on soft tissue problems such as trigger points (muscle knots), which can lead to tension and pressure on nerves created by the pulling and tugging on the fascia where it is not meant to be pulled or tugged. Working on these soft tissue dysfunctions often reduces pain and increases pain-free ranges of motion. Myofascial release takes time, as gentle pressure is applied over the myofascial or fascial restrictions slowly, allowing the tissue to elongate and release.

Many of us have experienced muscle pain, and usually that pain gets better within a few days to weeks. If you are dealing with muscle pain that is not improving, or if you have difficulty moving because of muscle pain, myofascial release may be a treatment option for you.

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I've been coming to see Dr. Bob since 1984 for my back pain. After each visit, the vast improvement lasts about one whole month. Even after all these years, Dr. Bob continues to provide outstanding care for me, my children, and my grandchildren. I've referred several people to HealthWise Chiropractic, so they too can see the results I have. My favorite part of my visits is the friendliness and professionalism of the staff and doctors and, of course, the results I get that improve my daily living."
    Danny S.
  • "About ten years ago I was at the gym, I bent over and couldn't get up, the pain was horrible. I contacted Healthwise and Dr. Mike gave me an emergency appointment that evening. He did a complete physical and x-ray before he started any treatment. After my first treatment I was able to stand up and walk with minimal pain. With a few visits I was back to normal. I continued treatments as needed for the next several years.
    I see Dr. Bob regularly to stay fit and pain-free. He tests my strength and weakness to determine the best treatment. Our open discussion led him to help my acid reflux. I now exercise and walk as is essential for a septuagenarian.
    I told Dr. Bob that I was starting to get knee pain that I thought was arthritis; I didn't think chiropractic care could help. He told me about new equipment to help. I look forward to improvement.
    I was a skeptic of chiropractic care, now I would recommend HealthWise to anyone with chronic/simple pain. It worked for me. It can work for you!"
    Sherry B.
  • "I was very miserable with constant pain in my leg while knowing it had something to do with my back. My friend surprised me with an appointment with Dr. Bob. After being treated by Dr. Bob I knew right away it was exactly what I needed. I learned a lot through my conversations with the doctor. I am really thankful to Dr. Bob and his staff."
    Ed L.
  • "I had a very limited understanding of chiropractic care until I tried it for the first time 12 years ago. I came in with severe pain in my neck, which prohibited me from moving my head. I was greeted by a kind staff, had an exam and x-rays done on my first appointment followed by an adjustment. I felt so much better after my first adjustment and by following the treatment plan my headaches and migraines improved. My overall health has improved because of chiropractic care. Dr. Bob helps make sure that I am taking the right supplements to optimize my health and fitness performance. They have helped me with allergies, knee and shoulder pain, and earaches. I had no idea when I began my chiropractic journey just how much help the doctors and staff at HealthWise would be at improving my quality of life."
    Britt H.
  • "I have been a patient at HealthWise Chiropractic for over 20 years. In the past and currently I am seeing Dr. Bob, however, I have seen all docs at Healthwise. My general issues are usually seasonally related to sinus and allergies. Recently I have been receiving treatment for my hip and lower back. Dr. Bob zeros in on trigger points and quickly relieves my pain. He is a wealth of knowledge and offers help and suggestion on my health issues. The staff is friendly and helpful. I leave feeling better and I believe helps to keep my body aligned and energized. I have also come in after falls, injuries and surgeries. I truly believe my adjustments at the time added to a quicker recovery."
    Liz B.
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Bob for two and half months. . I see him for an adjustment every two weeks. I started seeing a chiropractor for the first time in January 2021 while working in Florida for my continued lower back pain and chronic bilateral hip bursitis. Because my pain was mostly relieved with continued adjustments, I decided to continue with treatment when returning to Wisconsin. I have been very happy with my continued pain relief/adjustments at HealthWise. I highly recommend anyone with chronic back and neck pain to try chiropractic adjustments here at HealthWise. It will make your life better."
    Marianne V.
  • "Really enjoyed the different things that they can do for you and your pain management. Would highly recommend."
    Rhiannon P.
  • "I enjoy coming, getting readjusted and any additional therapies. It has made my life healthier and less stressful. If I have questions, they are answered at that visit. The staff is very professional, personable and friendly. I always look forward to my next visit with them. I am glad to be part of Healthwise Chiropractic family:)"
    Marcella L.
  • "DR MIKE IS A GREAT CHIROPRACTOR. HE TAKES THE TIME TO GIVE YOU A COMPLETE ADJUSTMENT IS TIME. HE IS ALSO A GOOD CONVERSATIONALIST. THANKS"
    RICHARD R.
  • "Dr. Mike is fantastic! He is very personable….will take time to really to your needs… I enjoy my visits…the maintenance has helped tremendously…..and he is there when the emergency pops up! Excellent Chiropractor!"
    Ann W.


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