As many of you know I have been in school for Massage Therapy for the past year, and am currently in the final leg of this journey, which is the clinical, hands on portion. This is by far the best part about school for several reasons:
1. We get new clients coming in every week.
2. Every client is different, and brings new challenges to every massage.
3. We get to educate them on what’s going on with their body, what we are doing to help, and what they can do to help with recovery.
I’ve been in clinic for about a month now and am finding that number 3 is by far my favorite part. People love learning about what’s going on with their body and what is actually causing them pain or discomfort. So I thought I would give you guys a little info on Myofascial Trigger Points and Fascial Adhesions, that might help you locate and resolve some of your issues.
Fascia is a connective tissue found throughout the entire body that provides support, shape, and suspension for the soft tissues. It’s important to understand that fascia does run through the whole body and if it were to develop an adhesion or scar tissue in a particular area; it’s not just going to be a problem there, it would cause problems both above and below it.
Adhesions are formed when the fascia in our body sticks together. Once these have formed, they become a real problem because they don’t allow your muscles to move the way they are supposed to, so we compensate for this and that’s when we start to get pain.
Trigger points are tender spots in muscle tissue that can cause a pain referral pattern and movement dysfunction. When you palpate these tender spots you will know right away if it is a trigger point if it either refers pain somewhere else or has a localized twitch response. Both of these responses are actually pretty cool when you feel it or see it for the first time.
There are all kinds of different causes of adhesions and trigger points, some of the more common ones are: poor posture, lack of movement, improper movement, recent injury, poor nutrition, or chronic dehydration.
If you are not already foam rolling, you need to be. It is the best and most cost effective way to alleviate a lot of the problems associated with adhesions and trigger points on your own. If it is a trigger point and you find it while foam rolling, find the spot that is the most painful, once you’ve found it sit on that area for 15-30 seconds this will help break up some of it and once you release allow for more blood to enter the area. If it doesn’t show the signs of a trigger point it is probably an adhesion and will also respond well to the same treatment.
One session with a foam roller isn’t going to solve your problems, just like exercise it takes time before you see results. Give it a couple weeks to a month, foam rolling (with intent) once or twice a day, and you should start seeing some good results.
Here are some of the tools we use for Self Myofacial Release.