Myotherapy is a form of physical therapy generally used to treat soft tissue pain and restricted joint movement caused by muscle or myofascial pain syndrome.
This form of therapy can best be defined as the assessment, treatment and management of musculoskeletal conditions. When you see a myotherapist, they assess your condition to find out the specific cause of the pain, provide treatment in the form of manual therapy, and restore pain-free functioning.
What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome
First, myofascial are the thin, fibrous strands of tissue that surround and separate muscles. Tendons and ligaments are comprised of bundled myofascia.
Myofascial pain syndrome (also known as myofascial dysfunction) refers to pain and possible inflammation in the body's soft tissues or muscles. Myofascial pain is a chronic, painful condition that affects the fascia (connective tissue that covers the muscles). Myofascial pain syndrome involves either a single muscle or a muscle group. There are some cases in which the area where a person experiences the pain might not be exactly where the myofascial pain originates. Experts believe that the actual site of the injury or the strain prompts the development of a trigger point that, in turn, causes pain in other areas. In these cases, this situation is known as referred pain.
Can Myofascial Pain Be Muscle Knots?
Most people have experience a muscle knot. Although this term is frequently used, there is no actual knot even though it feels like it. A muscle knot is actually referred to as being is a myofascial trigger point. Every so often we may have a few random trigger points and this is an annoyance; however, a group of these “knots” is known as is myofascial pain syndrome. So yes, these muscle knots are a form of myofascial pain.
Trigger points can be somewhat debilitating. They can cause far more discomfort than most people believe is possible. Trigger points can generate odd sensations, and the source may not be obvious.
Signs and Symptoms
Those with myofascial pain syndrome usually report regionalized aching, and diffuse, persistent pain in certain muscles and joints. The pain intensity can vary from mild to severe and is usually related to muscle activity. Symptoms may begin after trauma or injury to the affected area or can be of gradual onset. The most commonly affected areas are the muscles in the shoulders and neck.
Trigger points, one of the main characteristics of myofascial pain syndrome, are considered to be hyperirritable, circumscribed spots located in a palpable taut band of skeletal muscle. These points are painful on compression and can produce referred pain, referred tenderness, and even autonomic phenomena. Referred pain and tenderness occur when pain is referred to remote sites from compression of a myofascial trigger point. (For example, pain from compression of trigger points in the scalene muscles of the neck may be felt in the hand.)
If you are experiencing soft tissue pain and restricted joint movement caused by muscle or myofascial pain syndrome then myotherapy may be the preferred treatment.
Myotherapy is not a form of massage therapy, though a qualified therapist may use such a technique during a session if it is necessary for the treatment of your presenting condition. Myotherapy is a form of manual therapy which uses evidence-based assessment, treatment and rehabilitation techniques to treat neuromusculoskeletal (nerve, muscle and joint) pain and dysfunction. Clinical myotherapists use massage as their main tool however have also got the skills and knowledge to apply wide variety of other techniques when necessary to further assist the patient regain optimal health.
Some of the other techniques used by myotherapists alongside massage may include:
- Dry needling or trigger point therapy– when pressure or a needle is applied to a ‘knot’ in the muscle. This aids in the release of these trigger points reducing pain. Even though the same needles are used with dry needling their purpose is different to acupuncture.
- Myofascial release is another very effective technique when applied with massage. Myofascial release aims to release the fascia that surrounds all muscles.
- Heat therapy may be used to increase blood flow to an area by opening up the blood vessels. Heat offers a similar effect to massage in that it helps to promote blood flow and lymph flow which brings healthy nutrients and oxygen to the injured site and assists in the removal of wastes and toxins in the blood.
If you have soft tissue pain or restricted joint movement caused by muscle or myofascial pain syndrome then a qualified health professional at Chiro-Med can help.
Established in 2007 by Dr. Behfar Sanjari, Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has been committed to providing quality health care services to the Greater Toronto Area for over a decade. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has qualified professionals who can help you seek relief from migraine pain. We have clinics located in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, call 905-918-0419 or 905-235-2620 for more information.