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Myofascial release: symptoms and treatments

What is myofascial release? Myofascial release treats soft tissues with pain and movement limitations. It is a generic term used in manual therapy. Our body is composed of several structures including the joints, the capsule, the ligaments, the muscles, the fasciae, the nerves and the skin. When we move a part of our body, these different elements work together to allow movement. It is essential to have a good relationship between these structures in order to achieve complete mobility.
Each of the elements mentioned above can be hurt or limited in its mobility. So, there are techniques and exercises to stretch, mobilize or treat each of these structures. Muscles and fasciae can be grouped together as myofascial tissues and are often treated together.

Definition: Myofascial tissues are composed of muscles and fasciae. Muscles are contractile tissues that provide stability and mobility to the body. The fascia is an envelope that covers the muscles, organs and other structures connecting the different elements that form the body.


Causes and symptoms

The mobility of myofascial tissues may be limited for various reasons. An injury (sprain, fracture, and bursitis) or repeated stress on the tissues (tendinitis, epicondylitis) is often the cause of myofascial pain. The pain itself can restrict the mobility of the myofascial tissue. Inadequate posture, prolonged immobilization, collagen disease, a severe burn or scarring are other possible causes of limitations of these tissues.

The symptoms experienced can vary and express themselves in different ways. They may include a deep pain that increases on palpation or stiffness. Fatigue can also be felt. Some signs can also suggest a myofascial problem, like a decrease in mobility and muscle tension (cords and trigger points).
Do you know that fascia retractions can even affect breathing?
Since the diaphragm and the organs are connected between them by different fasciae, when these are hurt, they have a direct impact on breathing. A physiotherapist from one of the CMI Clinics will be able to determine the causes of the problem and the structures to treat after an assessment of your condition.


Myofascial release consists of both superficial and deep manual massage and rubbing techniques that create stretching and promote relaxation. This specific technique also aims to mobilize the different layers of fascia and break adhesions that may have formed between the skin, fasciae and muscles. An important part of the treatment consists in teaching exercises that can then be done at home. The use of balls or rolls may be recommended to increase the effectiveness of home treatment. The benefits of treatment will be quickly felt in the form of pain relief and improved flexibility and joint mobility.


Myofascial release is a recommended technique for various musculoskeletal problems. Athletes often use it to reduce the feeling of aches and increase their flexibility. Different disorders such as tendinitis, bursitis, etc. can be treated by myofascial techniques in combination with other modalities. Important scars and adhesions on the skin can also benefit from this type of approach. The physiotherapist will often use other means of stretching and treatment such as heat, ultrasound, manual therapy and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) to optimize the healing of an injury.
In summary, it is recommended to consult a physiotherapist when you suspect myofascial pain. He or she will be able to take care of you quickly so that your pain doesn’t get worse. Myofascial release will surely relax you and help you to perform your sport or work more easily. Are you experiencing pain? Make an appointment at one of our clinics and consult our health professionals. At CMI, your well-being is our top priority.