Myofascial pain is due to what it is commonly called ‘trigger points’ which can be described as small, hyperirritable areas within a muscle. (Prentice, 2014)
This can then be expressed as referred pain, which means that the pain can occur away from the actual site of irritation.
When it comes to myofascial release, as described in the definition, you are trying to release tension in the fascia.
1. A type of soft tissue therapy used in osteopathy to release physically restricted musculoskeletal groups. It is believed that chronic tension and trauma cause the fascia, which envelop muscle, to become fixed in a particular position, known as a myofascial restriction. Manipulation of the myofascial group is believed to resolve the restriction.
Cite: Segen’s Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
[fash′ē·ə] pl. fasciae
1. The fibrous connective membrane of the body that may be separated from other specifically organized structures, such as the tendons, the aponeuroses, and the ligaments, and that covers, supports, and separates muscles. It varies in thickness and density and in the amounts of fat, collagenous fiber, elastic fiber, and tissue fluid it contains. Kinds of fasciae are deep fascia, subcutaneous fascia, and subserous fascia. fascial, adj.
Cite: Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 9th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.
During movement, the fascia must be able to move and stretch freely. If there is damage to the fascia due to injury, inflammation, or disease then issues will occur. Like mentioned earlier, myofascial pain tends to be referred, so it will not only affect the site of injury but also radiate to other structures.
Tightness must be released in all areas, and not only the area of injury. To utilize myofascial release to reduce tension, gentle pressure can be applied to the areas over a long period of time.
This pressure can be done using multiple techniques, such as:
The myofascial release exercises below show the use of a foam roller and myofascial ball. Both are techniques that you are able to utilize without the help of a partner/physiotherapist.