The Importance of Myofascial Release

By: Pamela Olszyk, MS

What is myofascial release?

Myofascial release is used to treat a chronic pain disorder which is caused by sensitivity and tightness in the fascia.  Fascia is defined as a specialized connective tissue layer surrounding muscle, bone and joints.  It also gives support and protection to the body.  The most common type of myofascial release is using a foam roller.  The foam roller in just minutes can help with flexibility, muscle recovery, overactive muscles and pain reduction.   The overactive muscles are called trigger points.

What is a trigger point?

A trigger point is an area of muscle that is painful to palpation.  The tissue becomes thick, tough, and knotted.  Some trigger points depending on location can restrict or alter movements above the joint leading to a change from a normal neural feedback to the Central Nervous System.  When they are inflamed the healthy fascia is replaced with an elastic scar tissue.  They also can have the same response. When this happens the neuromuscular system becomes less efficient which leads to fatigue, chronic pain, and injury and weaker motor skills. 

What causes a trigger point to form?

  • Acute physical trauma
  • Poor Posture
  • Movement Mechanics
  • Over training
  • Not enough rest in-between training sessions

Benefits of Myofascial release

Myofascial release can help overall decrease stress on the human body movement system.  It will reduce the soreness and help assist the tissues during the recovery process.  Circulation to our body is extremely important and trigger points will prevent the recovery process.  They will help release tension and knots.  Headaches are a common factor and a simple myofascial release to the trapezius muscle allowing blood flow and recovery.  Another huge benefit of myofascial release is correcting muscle imbalances. Correcting those will relieve the number one injury everyone has, low back pain!