Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) for treating compression and pain
What is Myofascial Release (MFR therapy)? How can it relieve pain? Let’s discuss how MFR has improved our health and reduced pain and share articles about how MFR works. MFR helps so many different conditions that have compressed tissues, and entrapped blood vessels and nerves. The time to avoid MFR treatment would be if a person has cancer, because in releasing tight tissues, cancer cells could be released and able to migrate through the body.
Myofascial release is a way to stretch the fascial layers that holds our body together. The fascia is connective tissue that forms a web matrix that interconnects everything in the body. It has recently been described as the “Interstitium” or a new organ in the body.
Fascia can be too tight from injuries or surgical scar tissue, and hold the body in poor ergonomics which can lead to nerve compression. Fascia can be stretched or “released” and it will remodel itself by changing from a semi solid to liquid form which brings circulation to an area of compressed tissue which then expands the tissue and circulation, and it enables removal of metabolic waste products. Using their hands, the trained therapist will find the path of fascial restriction in the patient’s body and push against it gently in a shearing motion, and wait for the tissue to start to slide. The patient can feel the movement and become body aware. This path of fascial movement can reach the full length of the body and cross over between sides. This path changes as it unravels, and often there is a vasomotor response that can be seen on the skin temporarily as a reddish area where circulation has been restored which is shown on the photo below near the therapist’s hands. Treatment must be slow and gentle to prevent the body from guarding in a protective response. This is why aggressive methods to stretch fascia often fail and can cause injuries by tearing the fascia and forming scar tissue that just adds to the problem of fascial tightness.
Fascia also holds tissue memory, and in releasing it, sometimes there is a release of emotions tied to an injury that was a cause of the problem. Stress and injury can cause guarding behavior and tissue tightness that become permanent over time, and MFR and working on emotional health helps a person recover from the physical and emotional effects of stress and trauma on the body.
MFR is helpful to so many conditions that have an underlying physical cause. The physical therapist who developed this treatment method forty years ago is John Barnes. He has developed courses and MFR certifications for physical therapists. There is a lot of information about MFR at myofascialrelease.com as well as directory of therapists treating with MFR. A person may also contact Therapy on the Rocks in Sedona, AZ, and ask for recommendations of therapists who have been trained in the John Barnes Methods. MFR therapy is becoming better known and accepted healing therapy, although there are some doctors who are unaware of the benefits.
I wanted to create this discussion to help organize this information and I thought the Neuropathy group would be a good place to start because someone in pain might look here, but we could have this discussion in many discussion groups. Animals such as dogs, cats and horses have also benefited from this therapy. Hopefully as we collect information here, this discussion can be referenced and shared in the many other discussions on Mayo Clinic Connect.
Here is an incomplete list of conditions that can be helped with MFR treatment.
You may find this list and further information at https://www.myofascialrelease.com/about/problems-mfr-helps.aspx
Bladder Problems (Urgency, Frequency, Incontinence, Overactive Bladder, leakage
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Cervical and Lumbar spine injuries
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Degenerative Disc Disease
Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
Headaches or Migraines
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Pudental Nerve Entrapment
Scars (hypertrophic, hypersensitive, painful, burn scars, mastectomy scars)
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Neuropathy Support Group.
Hi Toni! Thanks so much for the tip. I am waiting for more information on this. I am so literal that it works against me. For example, the way to start a new discussion is in fact in a reply to the discussion that is already going on. Waiting to hear if my understanding is correct. It is my understanding that I do not need to include your Mayo name in this response because I am responding to you. Oh dear….. 🤔🤪
@sunnyflower keep it simple. Remember to always include the Mayo name when responding. That way it is clear as to whom you are talking to. No second guessing by other members. You’re welcome! Keep trying. You will get there without confusion.🙂
@jenniferhunter Hi all. Has anyone had sciatica or interstitial cystitis “cured” by myofascial release treatment? How long or how many sessions would be a reasonable expectation?
@bustrbrwn22 Here is a link that may help with understanding sciatica and myofascial release.
Sciatica can have different causes, some spine related or some related to overly tight hip flexors and pelvic alignment. I'm working on my hip flexors now because I am rehabbing from an ankle fracture and I spent the summer unable to bear weight on my foot and keeping my leg elevated. Some of what my therapist is doing is more aggressive releases on my muscles and using myofascial release on other leg muscles that are involved. We've worked to get back to normal leg/hip/knee/ankle alignment, and to re-gain range of motion, and to strengthen muscles that are needed to maintain this. At first, I couldn't stand up straight because my hip flexors in front were so tight, and when I tried to walk, it hurt a lot when that leg tried to trail behind when walking. Each PT session gives me small but steady progress. My entire leg is smaller than my normal leg, but ever so slowly, muscle is starting to return and I can tell the difference, but I still have a long way to go.
Has anyone found relief with MFR to treat interstitial cystitis?
Hi Jen, I saw your post where you asked whether MFR can help with interstitial cystitis. Linda asked me to relate to you her experience with interstitial cystitis. She had it in college and went to a urologist. He examined her and said her urethra was way too tight and was not allowing her bladder to empty fully because of it. He operated on her to stretch her urethra to open more widely. This was completely effective in Linda's case. And after 53 years she has had no problems with it or problems with urinating normally since then. Whether you and she both had/have the same issue I do not know. I see online that it says there is no cure. But for her case there was. Anyway, thought I would pass it along just in case it is helpful Best, Hank
@jesfactsmon thanks Hank. Hi to Linda! The urologist that diagnosed me did it back in the day when it was a distension under anesthesia. He told me my bladder had a very large capacity (I was so proud, sarcasm) and everything else looked good. Only thing he could do was try different meds so we did all with painful side effects. I thank god for that now or I might be on the one that causes macular degeneration!
Hi Jen, I too had a bladder neck distension. They overcorrected it in a total hyster/rectocele surgery. I've had trouble ever since. Ug, horrible surgery and recovery ; re-admitted for infection. BTE, what is the name of the medicine that can cause macular Degeneration? Hope this is a much better than tolerable day for you. Warmest hugs, Sunnyflower 🤗. PS: love your sarcasm LOL. 🤣
@sunnyflower I just gave up the side effects of every drug offered were so bad. The drug everyone is talking about is Elmiron. Class action lawsuit pending. It’s been used for many years to treat IC.
Thx Jen. What is "IC"? 🤗