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

@ken82

@standingbear I am a Vet.. a long time ago.. I go to a VA in Des Moines, IA for my hearing aids. Are you being treated at a VA, and where? What kind of specialists have you seen? Were any surgical solutions offered? What was the diagnosis of your injury? We on Mayo Clinic Connect are not Medically trained; most can only tell you of our similar diagnosis or treatments. I had a spinal injury 25 years ago and had a fusion of the 3 lowest (S1, L5, L4) vertebrae…I lost an inch or so in height.. and I have had no problems since that 8 hour surgery.. I was never on a pain killer drug of any kind for more than a month or so around the surgery time.. I would try to go get another opinion of what will help you on a more permanent basis? How old are you.. I am 83, an ex-Marine.. and no you cannot go off those types of Pain killers cold Turkey… Ken

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I am about the same as you, just 10 years younger. As a air squadron member we were subjected to things a "grunt" would not. Ideveloped mesothelioma lung cancer in 2014. This is my 3rd run in since 2014. This time it found my spine. I am nesrly 2 months from operation, I have no one to share my house, this rrcovery seem to take forever. Pain pills did not jelp, I could not walk because of the way my back was sliced. Right now I am slowly gettng better, I am nearly done with this process, this time. Take things slow and easy Good luck my friend. Semper Fi

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@wonderfulwonderfull2

I am about the same as you, just 10 years younger. As a air squadron member we were subjected to things a "grunt" would not. Ideveloped mesothelioma lung cancer in 2014. This is my 3rd run in since 2014. This time it found my spine. I am nesrly 2 months from operation, I have no one to share my house, this rrcovery seem to take forever. Pain pills did not jelp, I could not walk because of the way my back was sliced. Right now I am slowly gettng better, I am nearly done with this process, this time. Take things slow and easy Good luck my friend. Semper Fi

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Hi @wonderfulwonderfull2, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You may also wish to join the discussions in the Lung Cancer group here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/lung-cancer/

It is hard to be patient with recovery from spinal surgery. I'm glad to hear that it feels like you're finally turning the corner and slowly getting better. How is your pain level these days?

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@standingbear

Hello, I am a Disabled Veteran and during my active duty time, I sustained a lower back injury. The injury got worse as time went by and eventually it led to my retirement. Over the years it worsened. I was 6'3 when it happened and now I am 6'0 as disks in my back have disintegrated. I have tried lots of things to bring relief, but most of them did nothing and a few brought slight relief. The many doctors I went to ruled out surgery and told me never to let any doctor do exploratory surgery. After everything, the only option was pain meds. They had me on Percocet and now I am on Methadone as they felt the Tyonoel inside the Percocet would cause me liver damage over a long period. I do have to say the Methadone has helped far more than the Percocet ever did. Now I want to get off the Methadone. I was told you cannot come off it cold turkey but you must do so gradually. I would like to ask if anyone knows how much should you decrease your amount daily and for how long? I take 190 mg a day. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and may our Heavenly FATHER bless everyone who reads this!

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@standingbear I'd like to add my welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.

@standingbear You are right. Methadone is dangerous to go off of cold turkey and without medical supervision. Have you spoken to your provider about coming off of methadone? Providers can offer treatments to help relief withdraw symptoms.

May I ask if you feel that your symptoms have improved enough to no longer need any pain medications or will you utilizing other treatments?

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@erikas

@standingbear I'd like to add my welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.

@standingbear You are right. Methadone is dangerous to go off of cold turkey and without medical supervision. Have you spoken to your provider about coming off of methadone? Providers can offer treatments to help relief withdraw symptoms.

May I ask if you feel that your symptoms have improved enough to no longer need any pain medications or will you utilizing other treatments?

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Hello @standingbear and Erika, I am Sunnyflower. I want to extend a very warm welcome to Connect and a VERY big thank you to you and your family for your service in the military.

I had to discontinue methadone and it took me one and one-half years bc it had to be done so slowly. Toward the end, I had to use liquid for my taper as the tabs didn't come in the lower doses I needed. And, they put me on another opiate to help avoid withdrawal. There was a period quite some years ago where medicine wanted to use methadone as the drug of choice for long-term chronic pain patients. It did work quite well. Then, not too, too long afterwards, they realized that methadone has a very long half-life (the half-life of a drug is an estimate of the period of time that it takes for the concentration or amount in the body of that drug to be reduced by exactly one half (50%), up to 60 hours depending on they type of methadone. So with that long half-life, the next doses would continue to build on the residual amount of the drug still in the patient's system and it was very dangerous.

I also worked in a detox/Residential treatment unit in a hospital for 10 years and learned a lot there. Erika is right, you MUST have a medically supervised and likely very long slow taper off Methadone. I would make sure the doctor whose care you will be under, has a great deal of expertise in addiction and physiological dependence and the average family doctor does not. You should feel free to ask for a referral to such doctor without the fear of offending your family or primary care provider (PCP), if they themselves do not have this experience. A good doctor will never feel offended if a patients asks for a referral or 2nd opinion.

I wish you all the best in every way. Warmest regards, Sunnyflower

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This sounds great! Thank you whomever posted it. I’m checking it out!

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@jenniferhunter

Problems that MFR helps
https://myofascialrelease.com/about/problems-mfr-helps.aspx
Benefits of Massage-Myofascial Release Therapy on Pain, Anxiety, Quality of Sleep, Depression, and Quality of Life in Patients with Fibromyalgia
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018656/
Therapeutic Insight: The Myofascial Release Perspective—Depression John Barnes
https://www.massagemag.com/therapeutic-insight-the-myofascial-release-perspectivedepression-8584/
Use Fascia as a Lever John Barnes
https://myofascialrelease.com/downloads/articles/FasciaAsALever.pdf
Therapeutic Insight: The Myofascial Release Perspective—Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Shock
https://www.massagemag.com/therapeutic-insight-the-myofascial-release-perspectivesympathetic-and-parasympathetic-shock-7709/
Therapeutic Insight: The John F. Barnes' Myofascial Release Perspective—Rufus, the Cat
https://www.massagemag.com/therapeutic-insight-the-john-f-barnes-myofascial-release-perspectiverufus-the-cat-12559/
There's the Rub
https://myofascialrelease.com/downloads/articles/TheresTheRub.pdf
Therapeutic Insight: The Myofascial Release Perspective—Myofascial/Osseous Release
https://www.massagemag.com/therapeutic-insight-the-myofascial-release-perspective-myofascialosseous-release-7597/

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Is there someone in the Saint Louis Mo, area providing MFR?

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@kenc

Is there someone in the Saint Louis Mo, area providing MFR?

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@kenc There is a provider search for MFR (myofascial release) therapists at http://mfrtherapists.com/

I did look at Illinois listings, and there is a therapist in Glen Carbon, IL which is about 20 miles from St. Louis. Another suggestion would be to call Therapy on the Rocks in Sedona, AZ because that is the practice of John Barnes. He is teaching and certifying therapists, and there may be people who are not listed on the provider search which is a paid listing. https://www.myofascialrelease.com/treatment/centers/sedona/

Have you tried MFR before or looking for a new experience?

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Thank you. Looking for a process or medication to ease pain and depression.

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Kratom saved my life. It gives you energy, helps depression, and the pain plus it is not very expensive. And 100 percent natural. It’s ground up leaves from the tree. Also starts working in 30 minutes.

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