Myofascia is the connective tissue surrounding our muscles. When muscles are tense for prolonged periods of time, the myofascia can tighten into knots that require more than just stretching to work out. The method for getting rid of these knots is called myofascial release.
Myofascial release is a form of massage that involves the application of deep, sustained pressure to knots in the muscle and fascial tissues. This type of pressure can force the knots to relax, allowing the muscle to relax in turn. Myofascial release can bring great relief to those everyday aches and pains you may have gotten used to.
Today’s Tension Pattern
Today, people do a lot of sitting. This can cause the hip flexor muscles, which stretch from the top of the thigh bone to the lumbar vertebrae, to get locked in a shortened position. Short hip flexors can cause localized pain along with lower back pain, since the muscles pull the pelvis down in front, distorting posture.
Further up the body, you may notice tension around your shoulders and in your neck. While poor posture has likely been around as long as people have been standing, the use of computers and mobile devices doesn’t help. It’s typical to see people sticking their heads out toward the screen in front of them and typing and navigating their devices with stooped shoulders. The constant strain this subjects our neck and upper back muscles to can lead to knots and pain.
You can receive myofascial release from a trained massage therapist, or you can practice it on your own. This latter method has the advantage of being accessible almost anytime and anywhere. Check out the following three videos for self-myofascial release of the hip flexors, upper back and neck.
Hip Flexors: www.youtube.com
Upper Back: www.youtube.com
Keep in mind that myofascial release is just one piece of the pain-free puzzle; you’ll also need to address the root causes of your muscle tension. Begin by being mindful of your posture. For some, relaxation techniques may be a key component of neck and back pain treatment, since stress and muscle tension often go hand-in-hand.
By rolling along chronically tense muscles and pausing on painful knots for at least 30 seconds, you’ll restore elasticity to the muscles. You may find that you get better results by performing self-myofascial release as part of your daily routine.