For most people, mild pain and stiffness aren’t unusual. They can result from normal day-to-day issues like tension or poor posture.

It’s important to stay in tune with your body and recognize when your symptoms keep you from doing things you need or want to do. If they are, you owe it to yourself to seek treatment to help restore a pain-free range of motion.

Myofascial release, a hands-on physical therapy, is a great place to start. It can help with everything from recovering from a traumatic injury to post-operative scarring to pain from poor posture. If you have recurring pain that interferes with daily life and affects your sleep or mood, myofascial release can help anywhere on the body.

During a session, patients lie on a therapy table. I take them through a series of hands-on therapies and stretches that are held for up to five minutes at a time. The goal is to pinpoint areas where the tissue is tight so I can use pressure and stretching to release tightness and restrictions. 

The pressure I exert on the body helps reorganize the specialized cells in the connective tissue to increase mobility and resilience of the tissue. That helps reduce tension in the muscles and improves range of motion.

During treatment, patients typically experience relaxation. Some people report a superficial spreading sensation under the skin or an intermittent stinging sensation. It’s a light manual therapy, so it’s very low stress on the body.

Myofascial release is usually one part of a comprehensive treatment plan. A therapy session includes 35–40 minutes of myofascial release and 15-20 minutes of stretching and strengthening exercises. Most patients have two or three myofascial release sessions per week, depending on the severity of the condition. The specifics of the treatment are also based on individual needs.

After a traumatic illness or injury, I usually focus on pain relief and normalizing posture. With non-acute issues like poor posture, repetitive motion disorders, or a chronic pain syndrome, I focus on the part of the body causing problems. 

Almost everyone can benefit from myofascial release. It can take time, but if you are compliant with stretching programs and put in the effort, we see very good outcomes in terms of clearing up harmful movement patterns and postures.

Andrew Wofford is a certified John Barnes Myofascial Release therapist at Regional One Health For more information, call 901.545.6877 or 901.545.6290.