Can Myofascial Release Therapy Help With Back Pain?

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Written By Staff Writer

An interesting fact about the human body is how it ages with time. The older you get, the more you feel the effect of every activity you carry out with your human body. Even a mere cough or sneeze will be felt in your back. Back pain is quite common, especially among the elderly and pregnant women. 

In the US, about 80% of the population are victims of back pain, with about 8% experiencing chronic pain disorder caused by back pain. For this reason, several treatments have been developed to relieve normal and chronic pain, such as medications, surgery, and physical therapy. But what about myofascial release technique therapy? Myofascial release is typically used to treat myofascial pain syndrome, but can this help with back pain?

massage for pain relief

What is myofascial pain syndrome?

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a chronic pain condition that results from tension and compression in the fascia, the soft connective tissue that covers and supports muscles. The fascia is a dense web of fibrous tissue that extends throughout the body. It connects muscles to bone, wraps around organs, and extends down to the cellular level. When the fascia becomes tight, it can compress and irritate nerves, leading to pain.

Myofascial release therapy is a type of massage that aims to release the tension in the fascia. This therapy uses gentle, sustained pressure on the affected area to stretch the fascia and release the tension. Can this help with back pain?

chiropractic manipulation of muscle

The short answer is YES! Back pain is associated with a broad section of the muscular system. To relieve it, you must release these muscles, which is what myofascial release techniques do. As the name implies, myofascial release works to release some trigger points across your muscular system to reduce tension throughout the body and relieve muscle pain, including back pain.

This post provides everything you need to know regarding the subject. So, read on to know more.

Can Myofascial Release Therapy help with Back Pain?

As mentioned above, Myofascial Release Therapy helps with back pain.

Back pain ranges from a temporal or constant dull to sharp pain. It is usually caused by a muscle or ligament strain. In females, it is generally caused by hormonal fluctuations, back sprain or strain, and spinal injury to vertebrae or spinal nerves. Generally, it may result from a herniated disc, muscle strains, muscle injury, vertebral fracture, the natural processes of aging, or osteoporosis. 

Irrespective of the cause, releasing the back muscles will help with the pain. 

Myofascial release therapy alleviates pain that originates from trigger points in the myofascial tissue. These tissues are tough membranes that connect and support muscles. Although they are quite elastic and flexible, they can sometimes become stiff and rigid, thus restricting joint and muscle movement.

This restriction in joint and muscle movement significantly contributes to widespread muscle pain that is usually difficult to locate. As such, myofascial release therapy focuses on releasing stiff and rigid tissues that are the origin of the pain. 

Loosening these tissues releases joints and muscles throughout the body, thus relieving any pain that results from the restricted muscles, including back pain.

How does Myofascial release therapy help with back pain?

soft tissue massage

This is quite simple. Myofascial release therapy focuses on the origin of the pain to relieve the pain. 

Restricted muscles greatly contribute to widespread muscle pain, including back pain. Myofascial release therapy relieves back pain by releasing the trigger points in myofascial tissues that restrict muscle and joint movements that in turn cause widespread muscle pain, including back pain. 

For lower back pain, myofascial release therapy loosens up restricted movements of the spine. This release reduces pain in the lower back region. 

Myofascial release therapy vs. massage therapy: which is better at relieving back pain?

The technique used for myofascial release therapy differs from that used for massage therapy. However, both methods relieve back pain in their way and to some extent.

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Massages are perfect for relieving back pain resulting from a stressful day in an adult’s normal daily life. The massage therapist strokes and kneads the soft tissues to release tension and stress at a very steady pace and utilizes lubricants to make the movements as smooth as possible and applies light manual pressure.

Massages are perfect for relieving back pain resulting from exercises or a stressful week. It relieves all the tension and stress in the body, leaving you feeling as new as possible.

On the other hand, myofascial release therapy focuses on tightened tissues. It works on myofascial tissues to release the tightness that causes muscle restrictions, thus relieving muscle pain. Myofascial release therapy is much deeper than a normal massage.

During myofascial release therapy, sustained pressure is applied to the tightened tissues known as fascia. This pressure stretches and lengthens the fascia, thus releasing muscles and indirectly relieving muscle pain, including back pain.

Massaging and myofascial release therapy uses two different techniques to relieve back pain. Massaging focuses on the muscles, while myofascial release therapy aims at releasing the muscles by stretching and loosening the connective tissues (fascia). Both techniques are quite effective at relieving back pain.

Massage therapy should be used to relieve sore muscles, while myofascial release therapy should be used to relieve persistent pain when recommended by your doctor.

What are the risks involved with myofascial therapy?

There are very few risks involved with myofascial therapy. First, the therapy may not be effective for everyone. Second, the therapist may not be properly trained and may not know how to properly treat the condition. Third, the therapy may cause further pain and discomfort. Fourth, some people may have adverse reactions to the treatment, such as bruising, swelling, or redness.

Despite the risks involved with myofascial therapy, this treatment may be worth considering if you are suffering from back pain. This therapy has been shown to be effective in some people, and it may help you find relief from your pain. Talk to your doctor about myofascial therapy.

Conclusion

Several studies have shown the effectiveness of myofascial release therapy in relieving back pain. Unlike massage, which only focuses on the muscles, myofascial release therapy focuses on the connective tissues (fascia) to indirectly alleviate back pain.

Myofascial release techniques loosens and stretches tightened myofascial tissues by applying sustained pressure. This, in turn, releases restricted muscles and joints, relieving muscle pain, including back pain.

Unlike massage, it is advisable to undergo myofascial release therapy after getting your doctor’s approval. 

FAQS

Who performs myofascial therapy?

Myofascial release therapy is typically performed by a massage therapist or physical therapist.

Can Myofascial release technique help with covid-19-caused back pain?

As of now, there is little or no research that shows that myofascial release technique can help with covid-19-caused back pain. This will probably be answerable in a couple of years.

How can you manage back pain at home?

To manage back pain at home, there are several things you should and should not do. Some include

  • Avoid staying in bed. It can be tempting to lie in bed all day because your back is hurting. Irrespective of how tempting it is, it is not good for your back muscles which are already cramped up.
  • Use warm packs on your back to relieve muscle spasms and an ice pack to reduce swelling.
  • Exercise as often as you possibly can. This will release your back muscles and help relieve the back pain.
  • Carry out your daily activities and keep your muscles active.

When should you go to your doctor for back pain?

Treating back pain at home works for some but not everyone. 

  • If your back pain does not subside after managing it at home for about two weeks, you should see your doctor.
  • Additionally, If your back pain is quite severe and progresses with time, you should rush to the hospital.
  • Any back pain that prevents you from going about your daily activities requires medical intervention.

Thanks for reading to the end! 

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