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What Is Myotherapy?

What Is Myotherapy?
Photo: What Is Myotherapy?
If you've been suffering from a nagging ache in your muscles or your joints feel stiff, then the chances are you could be recommended to seek the services of a myotherapist. So what exactly is myotherapy?

Myotherapy consists of assessing, treating, and managing the pain associated with soft tissue injury and restricted joint mobility which has been caused by myofascia or muscle dysfunction.

The compact, tough tissue which covers and surrounds all of your bones and muscle is known as Myofascia. It can be likened to a complete body suit which runs from the top of your head to the ends of your toes and is strong and flexible. It's continuous with no beginning and no end and connects every part of your body together. In its normal healthy state it is relaxed and soft and can move and stretch without restriction.
However, when physical trauma or inflammation occurs, the myofascia loses its pliability and can become restricted and tight, causing tension throughout the body.
What are the symptoms of soft tissue pain?

Pain resulting from muscle fascia or muscle tissue is known as myofascial pain and symptoms to look out for include:
  • Stiff joints
  • Constant deep nagging pain
  • Numbness
  • Sore spots in the muscle (also known as myofascial trigger points)
  • Recurring “pins and needles” or tingling sensation
  • Tightening of the muscles
  • Reduced mobility in the joints
  • Feeling tired for no reason

What to expect at a consultation

It is the job of the myotherapist to restore the muscular working system to good working order. He or she will start by asking you several questions about your symptoms. Be sure to inform the myotherapist of any medication that you are taking. You'll also be asked about your medical history and any prior illnesses and surgery. All of this information is kept in the strictest confidence and is used by the myotherapist to delve into the cause of your symptoms.

During the consultation the myotherapist will examine and manipulate the muscles or joints which are affected and will also test your reflexes. This first examination is thorough and helps to determine whether your symptoms are myofascial.

What does myotherapy treatment involve?

A myotherapist has undergone specialist training to detect and treat the cause of your problems. As well as massage techniques a myotherapist uses a range of other therapies including:
  • Muscle stretching
  • TENS
  • Passive stretching (gently moving the affected body part through its range of motion)
  • Dry Needling (acupuncture)
  • Cupping
  • Acupressure to trigger points
  • Muscle energy techniques (METS)

Sessions usually last an hour and most patients with myofascial dysfunction can expect to feel pain relief within one to three sessions.

Treatments you can do at home
The myotherapist will explain your condition in great detail. He or she may suggest dietary changes as well as advising on treatment which you can carry out yourself at home such as using heat and ice packs, specific stretches and exercises relevant to your condition, self-administered massage and relaxation techniques, including meditation.

How does myotherapy benefit you?

A thorough examination by the myotherapist means that once the cause is recognised it can be located and corrected, reducing your symptoms and helping to prevent it coming back again.

One of the most common conditions treated by a myotherapist is that of trigger points. These are areas of tight muscle fibres which can be caused by emotional or physical stress, disease or injury. Elimination of these trigger points can help alleviate intense and chronic pain.

Other conditions which can be successfully treated include:
  • Tennis/Golfer's Elbow
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Lower back pain
  • Headaches and neck pains
  • Muscle strains and sprains
  • Muscle spasms
  • Wry neck
  • RSI
  • Contusion 'Corky'

On-going treatment
The myotherapist will work with you to try and find other factors which may be contributing to your symptoms such as poor posture, over training or scoliosis and suggest ways to reduce or avoid actions which are aggravating the symptoms. In the case of symptoms which can't be cured, such as arthritis or age-related issues, the myotherapist will implement a pain management programme which may involve referral to other health professionals.

Resources: Better Health Channel and Chiropractic Solutions

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