Recent research supports the role of myofascial release in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain. A study based in India involved 80 nurses with chronic back pain. The participants were divided into two groups: one receiving exercise therapy plus myofascial release, and the other receiving exercise therapy with sham myofascial release. Exercises to strengthen the back and promote flexibility are a common component of back pain treatment. This study sought to assess whether myofascial release in conjunction with exercise therapy might improve the outcomes of pain and disability after eight weeks of intervention.
The results of the study fall clearly in favor of the myofascial release group. After eight weeks of therapy, the myofascial release group exhibited a 53.3% reduction in pain scores and a 29.7% reduction in functional disability; the sham group showed a 26.1% reduction in pain and 9.8% reduction in disability.
See more on this study at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
The study suggests that myofascial release may be an important component of treatment for patients with muscle-related lower back pain. The efficacy of exercise therapy has been well-established, but strengthening a muscle that is tense may reinforce the tension, thereby inhibiting some of the potential benefits of exercise. Myofascial release is a perfect partner for strengthening exercises, since it combats tension that can result from and be reinforced by exercise.
Myofascial release can be sought from a massage therapist or osteopathic physician trained in the technique; it can also be pursued in the comfort of your own home with the help of a foam roller, tennis ball or other dense, round object. Simply roll along the affected muscle and pause on tender knots for at least 30 seconds, applying deep, sustained pressure.
If you experience chronic muscle tension, consider trying out myofascial release. Done properly, it is a safe, potentially effective and even free resource for pain management.