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

Back pain
Bladder Problems (Urgency, Frequency, Incontinence, Overactive Bladder, leakage
Birth Injuries
Bulging Disc
Bursitis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Cerebral Palsy
Cervical and Lumbar spine injuries
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Pain
Degenerative Disc Disease
Endometriosis
Emotional Trauma
Fibromyalgia
Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
Herniated Disc
Headaches or Migraines
Infertility
Interstitial Cystitis
Menstrual Problems
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Neck Pain
Osteoarthritis
Pelvic Pain
Plantar Fascitis
Pudental Nerve Entrapment
Scars (hypertrophic, hypersensitive, painful, burn scars, mastectomy scars)
Sciatica
Scoliosis
Shin Splints
Tennis Elbow
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
TMJ syndrome
Trigeminal Neuralgia
Vulvodynia
Whiplash

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Neuropathy Support Group.

@gba

I WAS a golf shrink also. I have numbness and no feeling in both feet. Lost balance, can't swing a golf club, will fall down. Do you think MFR might work? Any other suggestions? Thank You.

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@gba Hello Berk. I think the only way to know if MFR can help you is to try it. Chris @artscaping can share her experience of how MFR has helped her with neuropathy. Have you checked out other discussions on neuropathy? John, @johnbishop may have some ideas for you too.

Jennifer

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@jenniferhunter

@gba Hello Berk. I think the only way to know if MFR can help you is to try it. Chris @artscaping can share her experience of how MFR has helped her with neuropathy. Have you checked out other discussions on neuropathy? John, @johnbishop may have some ideas for you too.

Jennifer

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Hi Berk @gba, The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy had a webinar recently on alternative therapies that enhance balance, it's now available on their YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFdUk_U-9AM. It might provide some different things to try. I also have balance problems that I think are a combination of things including the numbness from my neuropathy. I did get a few exercises from a PT session setup by my primary care doctor which included the ones shown here that hopefully will help if I keep doing them regularly - https://www.athletico.com/2019/10/16/5-exercises-to-improve-your-balance/.

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@jenniferhunter

Myofascial Release and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

TOS causes tingling in the pinky finger from the ulnar nerve. It is a compression in the chest between the collar bone and ribs, or from tight scalene muscles in the neck, and there is a compression point under pectoralis minor in the chest. My Physical Therapist does myofascial release work to stretch the front of my chest and neck, and exercise to strengthen the back and muscles around the shoulder blades. TOS is a positional problem. When you read or type, your head is likely forward and shoulders moved forward which puts pressure on the compression points. Sleeping does this too because of raised arm positions. One test for this is the doctor raises your arm in a bent arm position and checks for your pulse to stop, and also when turning your head. A lot of doctors miss this and don't understand TOS because it's glossed over in med school (per my neurologist). Specialists in TOS are usually at university teaching med centers that treat it (check on website for conditions treated). Mayo is a good place for evaluation of TOS. I am a pine surgery patient who also has TOS.

Here is some information for you about TOS and MFR.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thoracic-outlet-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20353988
https://mskneurology.com/how-truly-treat-thoracic-outlet-syndrome/

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Hello, the access to training and rehab site is being blocked, how can I view this link? Thank you in advance.

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@snowmass

Hello, the access to training and rehab site is being blocked, how can I view this link? Thank you in advance.

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@snowmass The old website was trainingandrehabilitation.com (no longer functional) and they changed their name and website to be https://mskneurology.com/ All the same content is there and new material added. Under the Articles menu, you'll have lots of topics and can chose from a side menu. https://mskneurology.com/articles/

You can also find the author on facebook under his name that you'll see on the articles and he posts about various cases he is treating.

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@johnbishop

Hi Berk @gba, The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy had a webinar recently on alternative therapies that enhance balance, it's now available on their YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFdUk_U-9AM. It might provide some different things to try. I also have balance problems that I think are a combination of things including the numbness from my neuropathy. I did get a few exercises from a PT session setup by my primary care doctor which included the ones shown here that hopefully will help if I keep doing them regularly - https://www.athletico.com/2019/10/16/5-exercises-to-improve-your-balance/.

Jump to this post

Thanks John, I will continue with exercises, however, with no feeling and not knowing where the feet, feeling like bricks, are going, its tough.

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