What Is Myofascial Release?

Myofascial release is basically an uncomfortably — often painfully — deep massage-like procedure that focuses on properly finding and breaking down scar tissue inside your body’s soft tissues. 

What Are Soft Tissues?

Muscles, tendons, ligaments, fat and fascia are all examples of “soft tissues.” Essentially if it’s not bone, fluid or internal organs, it qualifies as soft tissue.

What Is Scar Tissue?

Scar tissue is a thin, dental floss-like “cobweb” that weaves itself into, around and even through your body’s soft tissue. It is triggered by inflammation. Inflammation is triggered by injury. Scar tissue formation strengthens torn muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin or any other soft tissue.

Scar tissue between muscle ribbons

So Why Would You Get Rid of Scar Tissue?

Scar tissue is a normal part of injury repair. The problem arises when too much scar tissue is woven into soft tissue. Usually not from a one-time injury, but prolonged overuse. Physical work and recreational activities are typical culprits for overusing body parts.

Also, if someone has an injury and does not receive proper treatment during the healing stage, an overload of scar tissue formation will clog the soft tissue. Treatment should consist of myofascial release as well as appropriate levels of exercise.

Often people will over protect an injured body part by not using it. This allows runaway scar tissue formation like cobwebs building up in an unused hallway. Movement breaks scar tissue that is not aligned with the line of muscle tissue. Myofascial release techniques do the same. 

Whenever tissues need to contract and relax — such as muscles — or if they are routinely under movement or tension — such as ligaments and tendons — excessive scar tissue formation will act to irritate soft tissue cells. Think of putting glue in your hair and then running your fingers through it. Ouch! Soft tissue fibers feel the same as you do. This irritation by scarring can perpetuate inflammation which will also perpetuate scar tissue formation.

So the removal of scar tissue is a key to overcoming chronic or traumatic soft tissue injuries. Tendons and ligaments that have excess scar tissue usually require myofascial release in order to break down the majority of the scarring. Exercises are not as effective for tendinous or ligamentous injury rehabilitation. And even muscle scarring typically requires myofascial release for full recovery.

Many of our patients work physically or are amateur/professional athletes. Therefore scar tissue removal is a very important tool in our manual therapy arsenal.

If you have chronic pain and want to overcome the injury, give us a call or email to book a consult and initial treatment. Or simply to ask questions.

Imagine a pain-free future!

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