Do you ever find your self massaging out your neck when you are feeling over-stressed? Myofascial release is the act of applying external pressure on the muscle and fascia to override the body’s protective mechanisms that create tension. Although the tension is the body’s way of protecting itself throughout the injury cycle, it can lead to dysfunction. After injury, inflammation occurs; the muscles spasm and adhesion will form. These adhesions are also known as trigger points. There are receptors throughout our muscular system that do NOT respond to stretching but do respond to pressure. The pressure applied should be deep and continuous to decrease trigger point activity.
While hand-massage therapy is a common method, self-myofascial release has become very popular over the past decade. It is cost friendly and can be done just about anywhere. The effective method depends on the area in need. A foam roller is good for the large muscle groups such as quadriceps, iliotibial band, hamstrings, and calves. For smaller groups other tools can be use such as a rolling pin, medicine ball, lacrosse ball, or golf ball.
No single session will completely decrease the over-activity of the muscle. These exercises need to be practiced on a consistent basis to create lasting results. The following muscles are common points of tension: Gastroc Nemius & Soleus, Quadriceps, Tensor Fascia Late & Ililotibial Band, Piriformis, Latissimus Dorsi, Upper Trapezius, Rotator Cuff, and Pectorals. Slowly and with control, roll through the entire targeted muscle group. Spend 5-10 seconds over the most sensitive areas trying to completely relax. Move on to the next muscle group.