OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center

Rockford, Illinois

Myofascial Release

Myofascial release involves a gentle technique for relieving pain and improving movement for patients suffering from chronic pain.  The John Barnes myofascial release is a treatment that uses gently sustained pressure into restricted areas of myofascial tissue. 

As pressure is applied and sustained, the hardened, tight fascia softens into its unrestricted, pliable and mobile state again, relieving pressure on pain-sensitive structures and restoring movement and function. 

What is fascia? 

Fascia is a strong connective tissue that runs as a continuous webbing throughout our bodies, from the top of our head to the tips of our toes and fingers.  It surrounds, supports and is imbedded into every tissue and organ of our bodies and normally moves fluidly with our body while providing strength and support.

However, traumas like a fall, whiplash injury, surgery, inflammation and even poor posture can accumulate over time in the fascial tissue.  These traumas can cause the fascia to harden, lose its elasticity and exert excessive pressure on surrounding tissues such as blood vessels, organs, muscle, bone and nerves, thereby causing pain.

What kinds of conditions can be treated with Myofascial Release? 

Some of the conditions that can be treated with myofascial release are: back, neck and chronic pain, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, TMJ problems, urinary incontinence, mastectomy pain, lymphedema, painful scars, coccygeal pain and restrictive mobility. 

Not all problems stem from fascial restrictions, although a surprisingly high percentage of cases do.  This is often the case when all the standard tests such as CAT scans, MRIs, x-rays and myelograms are negative, and medications help only temporarily. 

How can I receive Myofascial Release Treatment?

 If you feel you might be a candidate for myofascial release treatment, contact your physician.  If your doctor agrees that myofascial release would help you, he/she will write a referral for physical therapy, myofascial release treatment. 

Then, you should contact the OSF Saint Anthony Outpatient Rehabilitation Department at (815) 395-4505 to set up your first appointment. 

You will receive an initial evaluation by a physical therapist trained in myofascial release during your first appointment, and hour-long sessions for the following weeks will be set up as determined by your therapist.

How will I feel during and after treatment? 

Your pain should be relieved and in some case, eliminated.  You will experience more flexibility and a better range-of-motion.  Most patients report that they have been able to resume many of their former activities.  Just a few comments we have received include:

“I thank my two doctors for leading me to the myofascial release program.”

“I even made the bed…which I haven’t been able to do for a long time.  I feel great!”

“My headaches have gone away since I started this treatment.”

“My back and neck pain have been relieved so much since I started treatment!"