The word myofascial means muscle tissue (myo) and fascia is the connective tissue beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. Together, muscle and fascia make up what is called the myofascial system.
Below is a breakdown of the word ‘Myofascial’ Pain Syndrome.
Myofascial pain syndrome can be the result of muscle injury or repetitive strain.
When stressed or injured, muscles often form trigger points, like contracted knots, that cause pain and tightness.
Trigger point therapy mostly consists of rubbing and pressing on trigger points — which often feel like an amazing relief.
Myofascial trigger points are an extremely common cause of pain. Trigger points are painful when pressed on, due to a shortening of the muscle fibers, called referred pain.
Referred pain means that a trigger point in one muscle can create pain in another area.
For instance, many headaches which refer from the back of the head to behind the eye or into the lower forehead can arise from trigger points of the muscles at the back of the neck.
Self-care: Treating Trigger Points and Myofascial Pain Yourself.
- Try to apply some form of heat to the area that you will be compressing.
- A warm shower, bath, hot tub soak or another type of moist heat wrap will provide heat to areas that have hard, tight muscles or dysfunctional tissue.
- A warm-up can also be five to ten minutes of light exercise or local movement.
- Locate muscles and trigger points you intend to treat, so you can determine exactly where to apply compression.
- Press on the area of hard, tight tissue, gently but firmly, breathe, and continue pressing for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Try to relax any tightness in the area that you are compressing.
- It is important to keep the muscle in a position of good neutral posture or on a slight stretch.
- Breathe from the diaphragm, not from the chest, and hold for a cycle of three relaxed breaths.
- Slowly remove the pressure and relocate your finger to another spot.
- you may hold for a shorter or longer time depending on your ability to relax the area.
- In order to facilitate stretching, the muscle must be as relaxed as possible.
- gently stretch the muscle until an easy stretch is felt;
- hold for 10 to 20 seconds or a bit longer and then relax
- this technique can gradually stretch out the contracted muscle and surrounding myofascial tissue.
The goal of self-massage for trigger points is to achieve a release, or a partial release. Wait for the trigger point to calm down. If this was successful, you will notice a reduction in symptoms within several hours, or often the next morning.
This self-care protocol can help you improve your function and experience less pain.
If you have had recent surgery or have a muscle or joint problem, including hypermobility, consult your healthcare professional before doing any of the above.
Self-management techniques are extremely important.
Sedentary individuals are more prone to develop active trigger point than are individuals who exercise vigorously on a daily basis.
There are also other things that you can do which can help prevent the myofascial pain:
- Exercise regularly. Aerobic fitness of the muscles is a very important factor in helping myofascial pain.
- Improve your posture.
- Reduce your body weight.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.