5 Easy Ways For People With Fibromyalgia Get Myofascial Release

Fibromyalgia causes persistent muscle pain which feels like someone is squeezing your muscle fibers. 

A painkiller prescription can help suppress the pain for the time being but does not treat the underlying source of the pain.

For long lasting relief from muscle pain, it is important to restore the structural integrity of the myofascial system.

The myofascial system is composed of muscles and fascia. The fascia is the connective tissue which supports and readies the muscles in response to signals from the many nerves running throughout it.

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It is particularly helpful in an emergency situation where sudden body movement is required to avoid injury or life-threatening situation.

Once there is no more threat, the fascia releases the tightness in the muscles, and the muscles get back to its original state.

But sometimes problem does happen in the body, and the fascia does not release the muscles. It causes muscles to be repeatedly contracted.

Repetitive motion or stress related to the muscle tension are another reason for the muscle to contract. You should not ignore other fibromyalgia symptoms which might not be very obvious but could make your muscle pain symptoms to get worse.

Muscle Pain in Fibromyalgia Condition

A problem in the central nervous system causes the fibromyalgia. It makes the body stuck in continuous fight and flight mode.

Fibromyalgia does not impact the muscles directly, but it affects the connective tissue called fascia that surrounds it. It is this problem with the fascia which causes the pain in the fibromyalgia patients.

Several muscle biopsies of fibromyalgia patients have shown the abnormalities in these fascia.

What is Fascia

Fascia is outer fibrous coating surrounding the muscles.  It surrounds and supports every muscle in the body, along with forming the tendons that insert into bone.

Our muscles are not one individual solid piece but made of up thousands of muscle cells held together by a strong layer of connective fibrous tissues.

These connective fibrous tissues are highly sensitive to pain and have more nerve endings than the muscles themselves.

Fascia has two main parts.

  • Cells called fibroblasts
  • Thick gel called extracellular matrix

The fibroblasts cells produce the new cellar matrix gel which becomes solidified with the ongoing tightness but with gentle sustained pressure, the gel return to a softer, more flexible state.

Also Read: How these 7 Foods Could Be Triggering Your Fibromyalgia

Difference between Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS)

The Fibromyalgia and MPS produce same symptoms, but the underlying cause of both conditions are different. Research have found that MPS is very often the common condition which results in referral to the pain clinic.

There are two primary sources for the MPS:

  • The tight fascia causes the muscles to be compressed
  • Damaged myofascial tissue acts as a trigger point for the generation of chronic pain

Both of those conditions restrict the blood flow to the affected area which causes the muscle pain.

Fibromyalgia patients often have MPS condition, but it is not necessary for MPS patients to have fibromyalgia condition.

MPS are mostly found around the more stress-prone areas of the body such as the neck, arms, shoulder, face, leg, and the lower back. The pain is very targeted and located to a very particular area of the body.

On the contrary, the fibromyalgia pain is not localized and often has widespread chronic pain. Fibromyalgia patients do have tender points and are often diagnosed from 18 predetermined trigger tender spots.

old-couple-exercising

In particular cases, it is easy to treat MPS with individual exercise and applying pressure on the affected areas which are called myofascial release therapy.

On the other hand, treating fibromyalgia is more challenging as the cause of pain is not associated with the external conditions affecting the fascia but due to the internal problems with the fascia which makes it behave abnormally and become hypersensitive.

How to Release Tension in the Fascia with Fibromyalgia Condition

As we know the fascia is a very thick gel like substance which gets hardened under the particular condition and can be softened by soft gentle and sustained pressure.

The slow, sustained pressure stimulates the fibroids which further releases the chemical to loosen the tight and dense areas.

The use of Myofascial Release (MFR) technique is effective in providing the right amount of sustained pressure to help fibroids release the healing chemicals and reduce the tension and inflammation inside the muscles.

The standard massage therapy does not stimulate the fibroblasts or address the fascial tightness. It is why fibromyalgia patients do not get much benefit with the standard massage therapy.

Difference between Myofascial Release and Deep Tissue Massage

Although there are similarities between myofascial release and deep tissue massage, there is a difference in the procedure.

This similarity often causes confusion not only among the public but also some practitioners inappropriately refer deep tissue massage as myofascial release therapy.

Deep tissue massage involves the use of the technique to affect the sub-layer of muscle and fascia. This type of massage involves applying deep pressure to realign muscles and fascia.

For deep tissue massage to be effective, the muscles must be relaxed which often is the problem many fibromyalgia patients. Performing deep tissue massage on stretched out muscles does not provide much relief.

The Myofascial release massage consists of applying a three-dimensional application of sustained pressure and movement of the body to stimulate the fibroids and reduce the fascia restrictions.

couple-getting-massage

The technique is first to identify the various fascial layers and locate the areas of fascial tension. Then apply the general pressure to release the fascia.

Another key difference is the way the pressure is applied to the muscles. Deep tissue massage involves kneading and stroking to relax the muscles whereas Myofascial release includes the use of sustained pressure to stretch and lengthen the connective tissue for a little longer period.

Deep tissue massage requires the use of a lubricant such as oil to reduce the friction between the practitioner’s hand and patient's skin whereas myofascial release does not need any lubricant as practitioner need to find and hold the muscle and then straighten and soften it.

How to Release the Stretched-out Fascia

There are several ways to release the stretched-out fascia and the standard, and most widely methods are:

  • Myofascial release therapy
  • Self-myofascial stretching
  • Trigger point injection or dry needling
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Improve skeletal or muscular alignment
  • Micro current therapy
  • Gentle exercise

Myofascial Trigger Points Release

Injury, mechanical stress or repetitive micro trauma causes the fascia to become sticky. The sticky fascia irritates the nearby muscles and causes them to contract.

The irritated and contracted fascia develops into hot spots and is also known as trigger points. The treatment of these trigger points reduced local muscle pain.

An effective way to release these trigger points is through exercise or use of acupuncture. By gently stretching out the tissues and physically forcing these sticky fasciae allows the muscle to relax.

Some practitioners also use needle laced with numbing medicines that break up these trigger knots and the numbing medicines reduce the pain or any soreness afterward the treatment.

There has been some clinical research conducted which showed patients injected with Botox (Botulinum Toxin type A), which inhibits muscles contraction, have significant pain reduction.

Myofascial Pain Treatment At Home

For a critical condition of fascia restriction, you might have to seek professional help, but for minor issues, there are certain ways you can treat yourself without going to see a practitioner.

#1. Use of Ball for Myofascial Release

This is the myofascial release technique which you can easily do at home and you just need to use a ball. This is similar to foam roller, trigger point massager, but slightly different technique. 

Another way for the myofascial treatment is to place a small softball under any tight and painful area and then allow yourself to slowly sink onto the ball for a few minutes to apply the right amount of sustained pressure to stimulate myofascial release.

#2. Self-Massage for the Myofascial Release for Neck

Neck pain is often one of the most troublesome issue in the fibromyalgia patients. Tightness in the upper back and shoulders can be associated with improper structural form of the body from the bottom up. 

Watch this video which to get myofascial release for neck and restore normal range of motion to the head and neck. ​

#3. Myofascial Release for the Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is very common to happen anyone involved in sports or any kind of physical activities. The simple body motions to release the myofascial release of shoulder can be very effective for people with chronic shoulder pain. 

Doing this simple exercise for three minutes a day will give you relief from the pain and promote the muscle relaxation.

#4. Yin-Yoga

Yin Yoga is a specialized form of yoga which focuses on relieving the deep connective tissues of the body and fascia.

Yin Yoga is mainly done on the hard-straight floor, and there are limited postures you have to do. When conducting Yin-Yoga, you have to sit with a relaxed posture, soften the muscle and move closer to the bone which helps you target the deeper muscles of the body.

Then you hold and maintain the same posture for anywhere from three or five minutes to 20 minutes.

#5. Micro-current Therapy

Micro-current therapy involves applying a very low level of electricity to the body. The level of applied power is way below than used in TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit such as Quell wearable pain relief.

The low level of electric stimulation causes the muscle and fascia to vibrate slowly and thereby softening and loosening the affected area.

Some research has shown that micro current therapy helps reduce the inflammation in the tissue.

Conclusion

Fibromyalgia patients are very much likely to have issues related to muscle pain. There are several exercises and treatments you can regularly do at home without using any expensive instruments or medicines to keep your muscle fibers to be relaxed.

A prolonged stressed out muscle can cause the hot spots or trigger point which can be very painful.

Use of painkillers can reduce the pain for a moment but does not cure the underlying cause of it.

Several insurances cover the myofascial release massage, and you might need to get a prescription from your doctor for the insurance coverage.

Have you tried myofascial pain release and found any help in relieving pain?

we would love to hear your experience in the comment below.

You can also join the discussion at the Fibromyalgia Pain Cure Facebook page which is dedicated to a discussion of natural treatments for fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.

Image Credits: Freepik and Pixabay

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Anjali
 

Chief Editor here at Fibromyalgia Pain Cure, I'm a proud mother of one and diagnosed with fibromyalgia condition. My mission is to help others to get relief from fibromyalgia symptoms and live a healthy pain free life.

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