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

@dwilkin

Yes. Modifying diet (no sugar, dairy, gluten or processed foods), getting proper sleep, moderate & consistent exercise (assuming no weight issues which are an obvious contributor)….has stopped the progression for me. I have been relentless in finding the root cause, which is critical to a reversal. I’ll also add that I have SFN, which is different the PN in that the small nerves can regenerate. Don’t give up!

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I agree that diet and exercise can possibly halt the progression, but where have you learned that SFN can be reversed? Often it is diagnosed as idiopathic. I guess I don’t understand the significance of the root cause, once the damage is done but I would love to know that it is possible.

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@dwilkin

Yes. Modifying diet (no sugar, dairy, gluten or processed foods), getting proper sleep, moderate & consistent exercise (assuming no weight issues which are an obvious contributor)….has stopped the progression for me. I have been relentless in finding the root cause, which is critical to a reversal. I’ll also add that I have SFN, which is different the PN in that the small nerves can regenerate. Don’t give up!

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I'm searching for more info on how to regenerate the SFN… Have already modified my diet a lot, but am going forward with more on that, too.. No sugar, but still have small amount of milk now and then.. will look into ridding myself of gluten. and already avoid processed foods.. I sent a message to my doctor today about how taking magnesium glycinate might benefit my erothromyalgia and diabetes 2… Hopefully now we can reverese the SFN too… I am inspired, and NEVER give up… Just ask my husband… grin…

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@jenniferhunter

There is a video on You Tube called "Strolling Under the Skin" that shows living fascia and explains how it moves and is interconnected. The video shows living tissues from surgery at the beginning of a tendon and blood vessels sliding back and forth (which is why I didn't post the link here). The second half shows close up the living fascia which is like a clear spider web moving and explains how it works. For those who are interested, you can always watch the second half of the video.

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Fantastic! I will check it out.

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This amazing description of MFR helped me move forward in scheduling a consult with PT again!!!!

After 3 years of trial and error with epidurals, nerve blocks and radio frequency ablations on my head, neck and back, my body went through physical and emotional stress to no avail. Along with chronic migraine causing the majority of it in the earlier stages, emphasis was always placed on my necks 2 bulging disc and 1 moderately herniated disc then later lumbar mild herniated disc. My GP was always dumbfounded why I felt so much pain and spinal doctors kept saying no to surgery. I never benefited from PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, blah, blah, blah. Pain management provided less and less relief while creating more pain. I started to think I was a hypochondriac because every part of me began hurting at different times for no real reason. A rheumatologist dismissed fibromyalgia, EMG and nerve conduction studies were normal, SED rates were normal, I had my strength but boy did I pay the price after using it. I had begun having nerve pains and arm numbness a while back but everything was blamed on my neck and ablation side effects. I had slowly been losing myself and my life. Left my job after 27 years to go on disability for migraines at age 46 and that was after I had cataract surgeries and corneal transplants at age 43.

I'm sorry to be going on and on… long story short…my New Year's resolution this year was to tell my new neurologist that something WAS WRONG neurologically beyond my chronic migraine and if he couldnt figure it out, I was going to the MAYO CLINIC. He immediately ordered skin biopsy and I tested positive for small fiber neuropathy with a B12 deficiency. My work up lasted over 4 months and was thorough. Amen to having a diagnosis that finally pieced my puzzle together. Such a relief to know I wasn't going crazy, but, my body was!

My neuropathy is wide spread from occipitals, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, upper back, lower back, left hip, legs, and right toe. These areas vary day to day in their pain intensity with flare ups that trade off. I've had or have numbness, pins and needles, sun burn sensation, vibrations, cold flush, hot spots, sweats, palpitations, shortness of breath, internal burning, feeling of lumps under my foot. Also diagnosed with Chilblains last month after a nasty outbreak and my feet and toes love to turn bright red, purple/almost blackish. Im telling you, I couldnt make this stuff up! Haha!

The moral of my story is to KEEP PERSEVEERING, keep being your OWN ADVOCATE. I am now 49 and am experimenting with weekly IV lidocaine infusions in hopes of reducing/eliminating my hydrocodone intake. I take Hydro, Lyrica CR, Duloxatine, Magnesium, Tumeric. I receive B12 injections every 2 weeks, Emgality migraine self injection monthly and Botox injections every 3 months. Now, after all this, Im going to try myofacial release to hopefully help undo some of the pent up crap my body and brain has endured. Hoping the SFN that lives within can handle it.

Be well everyone and thanks so much for listening…guess I really needed to get that out and if nothing more, I hope I have at least helped someone else out there.

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@rwinney

This amazing description of MFR helped me move forward in scheduling a consult with PT again!!!!

After 3 years of trial and error with epidurals, nerve blocks and radio frequency ablations on my head, neck and back, my body went through physical and emotional stress to no avail. Along with chronic migraine causing the majority of it in the earlier stages, emphasis was always placed on my necks 2 bulging disc and 1 moderately herniated disc then later lumbar mild herniated disc. My GP was always dumbfounded why I felt so much pain and spinal doctors kept saying no to surgery. I never benefited from PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, blah, blah, blah. Pain management provided less and less relief while creating more pain. I started to think I was a hypochondriac because every part of me began hurting at different times for no real reason. A rheumatologist dismissed fibromyalgia, EMG and nerve conduction studies were normal, SED rates were normal, I had my strength but boy did I pay the price after using it. I had begun having nerve pains and arm numbness a while back but everything was blamed on my neck and ablation side effects. I had slowly been losing myself and my life. Left my job after 27 years to go on disability for migraines at age 46 and that was after I had cataract surgeries and corneal transplants at age 43.

I'm sorry to be going on and on… long story short…my New Year's resolution this year was to tell my new neurologist that something WAS WRONG neurologically beyond my chronic migraine and if he couldnt figure it out, I was going to the MAYO CLINIC. He immediately ordered skin biopsy and I tested positive for small fiber neuropathy with a B12 deficiency. My work up lasted over 4 months and was thorough. Amen to having a diagnosis that finally pieced my puzzle together. Such a relief to know I wasn't going crazy, but, my body was!

My neuropathy is wide spread from occipitals, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, upper back, lower back, left hip, legs, and right toe. These areas vary day to day in their pain intensity with flare ups that trade off. I've had or have numbness, pins and needles, sun burn sensation, vibrations, cold flush, hot spots, sweats, palpitations, shortness of breath, internal burning, feeling of lumps under my foot. Also diagnosed with Chilblains last month after a nasty outbreak and my feet and toes love to turn bright red, purple/almost blackish. Im telling you, I couldnt make this stuff up! Haha!

The moral of my story is to KEEP PERSEVEERING, keep being your OWN ADVOCATE. I am now 49 and am experimenting with weekly IV lidocaine infusions in hopes of reducing/eliminating my hydrocodone intake. I take Hydro, Lyrica CR, Duloxatine, Magnesium, Tumeric. I receive B12 injections every 2 weeks, Emgality migraine self injection monthly and Botox injections every 3 months. Now, after all this, Im going to try myofacial release to hopefully help undo some of the pent up crap my body and brain has endured. Hoping the SFN that lives within can handle it.

Be well everyone and thanks so much for listening…guess I really needed to get that out and if nothing more, I hope I have at least helped someone else out there.

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@rwinney Welcome to connect You do have to be your own advocate you know your body better then anyone so glad you spoke up Dr,s don't know everything ,new bugs are coming alive everyday so yes talk to your Dr. that's the only way he knows maybe how to help (I'm on my soap box to others here also. )All drugs have side effects and interaction with others so research them here,s a good website Drugs.com. Take care Hope you post again

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Does anyone have a recommendation for an MFR therapist in Rochester, MN?

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Unfortunately not. But if anyone in Tucson, AZ needs a recommendation, I have found a wonderful therapist who is doing great work. I just finished my 2nd session, but I posted here that after the 1st session I was already feeling the relief. The day of and day after the procedure my body is still in a state of shock of sorts from all the manipulations. But along with doing home MFR that has been recommended, and helping, I also do the yoga pose where your legs are up the wall, you can literally feel tingles, spasms, and internal heart beats within your body, indicating good blood flow. I have for the first time in several years where I actually can say that I feel good, not just ok, or hanging in there etc. The MFR treatment has caused my small nerve neuropathy in my feet to GO AWAY. For hours on end. I would wake up in morning with feet burning and needles poking, but have had several days of waking up pain free in that respect. I am still taking gabapentum, but feel immediate relief after my session, that I will hopefully be able to lower the dose if this therapy continues to produce positive results and my Dr is on board. I am cautiously optimistic as usual.
Hope this helps those who are considering MFR. I have even seen it posted on Groupon with discounts !!!
Go for it. It’s worth it. Be patient as we all know, as each one reacts differently. Good luck.

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Wow That sounds wonderful for you. Has anyone in the Houston area tried it. I would love to find a good one north of Houston

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@peggyn, Good evening. I am happy that you want to try MFR. Here is a link to the page with certified therapists and you can search by city. http://mfrtherapists.com/
I did go to the link and found several. Some may be closer to you than others. All are in the Houston area.

Align Myofascial Release
Expert level. Tanya Torres
Nassau Bay, Houston 77058
(936) 244-0095

Riverbed Myofascial Release
Novice level Janice Paige Allenheim
Serving Houston, Katy, Pearland

Houston Myofascial Release
Advanced level Tommy Brooke
2400 Augusta Dr. Ste 356
Houston, 77057
(832) 489-1950

Hopefully one of these practitioners will be a good choice for you. I would love to know which one you chose. If you can share your experience with us that would also be just super. Have a restful sleep. Chris

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Thank you so much.. I actually live north of Houston In The Woodlands Tx. All of these are very far away and I am not able to drive on the Freeway anymore. Are there any in that area or how can I find out??

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@peggyn

Thank you so much.. I actually live north of Houston In The Woodlands Tx. All of these are very far away and I am not able to drive on the Freeway anymore. Are there any in that area or how can I find out??

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@peggyn The myofacialrelease.com website lists the MFR therapists who have trained with John Barnes who pay for the listing on the website. You can also call Therapy on the Rocks in Sedona, AZ which is the clinic of John Barnes and ask for names of therapists who have trained there. This is from my physical therapist who has expert level MFR training, but isn't listed there. Here is the link http://therapyontherocks.net/

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Do you know if this has helped anyone with pain and burning in the feet?

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