Myofascial Release Therapy-New Level Rehabilitation
From the whole range of myofascial therapy applications special attention should be paid to its application in the area of rehabilitation after injuries and various severe diseases. Up to now there have been gathered considerable experience of developing rehabilitation programmes based on the myofascial therapy, and the obtained results demonstrate that the recovery dynamics of the patients have exceeded the most optimistic expectations.
The major sectors of myofascial therapy application are as follows:
- Rehabilitation after injuries and severe diseases of musculoskeletal system
- Rehabilitation of patients suffering from or recovering after severe nervous system diseases (stroke, shaking palsy, cerebral spastic infantile paralysis, etc.)
- Rehabilitation of patients suffering from ischemic disease and recovering after cardiac infarction.
Let us first look at the first category. Any injury (be it a basic fracture or severe consequences of a major accident) forces a person to avoid certain kinds of movements for a lengthy period of time, and in some cases even spend several weeks without any motion. As a result, after discarding the plaster cast or other motion restricting means, it often appears that the muscles loose the ability to function properly, the previous physical strength is lost, the joint movement is restricted and any attempt of movement causes pain.
Certainly, some methods of muscle rehabilitation after a long period of immobility existed previously as well. However, the development of myofascial therapy has added a very significant innovation to the process – the muscle is not just being ‘trained’ by gradually adding the load and increasing the range of motions, but a special external impact is applied. It allows accelerating the muscle revival processes and improving the oxygenation of the tissues thus normalizing muscular tonus and geometrics.
The latter aspect is of special importance, as it is quite common that a person who has suffered an injury remains ‘distorted’ for the rest of his/her life just because nothing was undertaken during the first few months after the injury to ‘pull out’ the muscle that remained contracted after a lengthy period of motionlessness. Apart from this, if a certain part remains idle for a while, the load is redistributed between the other parts of the muscles. For instance, after a knee injury, it is common to see a distortion of hip spica, as during the period of being in the plaster cast all the burden was born by the other healthy leg. Therefore, the rehabilitation should be considered valid only in case the work is underway on both the injured segment as well as the adjoining parts of the body to normalize the biomechanics of the whole area that has been affected by the injury.
The myofascial therapy’s ability to restore the muscle vitality and geometrics is indispensable when dealing with patients suffering from severe diseases of musculoskeletal system. For example, it is often possible to avoid a rather serious hip joint surgery by rehabilitating the biomechanics of this joint, i. e. by ensuring the proper direction of its functioning. The mentioned direction is set by the muscles attached to the joint and any distortion of the muscle geometrical parameters forces the joint to work in the wrong direction, gradually destroying its structure.
All the advantages of myofascial therapy, increasing the effectiveness of injury rehabilitation, are fully valid for rehabilitation of patients suffering from nervous system diseases. There is, however, a specific character of such application.
Quite often a patient’s muscles, after a stroke for instance, cannot restore their former mobility, not only due to the central nervous system affection, but to a large extent because of the forced motionless period itself.
What is more, in many cases, the stroke is not the actual cause of restricted mobility of the patient, but rather a factor that aggravates it. In such cases myofascial therapy allows achieving amazing results and restoring a considerable motion range of the patients who were, so to say, given up on. This happens not only thanks to activation of the corresponding muscle fibers. As demonstrated in practice, myofascial therapy appears to be a powerful neurostimulator capable of bringing back even certain lost functions of the central nervous system.
As for the third sector – rehabilitation of ischemic patients, myofascial therapy has brought a number of significant innovations here as well. To start with, a system of movement rationalization and motion stereotypes correction has been developed. The point is that any operation can be effected in different ways, but only one way is optimal in the sense of the amount of energy wasted for its achievement. If the operation is performed in a non optimal way, the oxygen consumption by the muscle tissue can exceed the norm, which leads to unjustified load of myocardium. By restoring the natural biomechanics of the muscles myofascial therapy allows achieving optimal blood supply mode. This means relieving of the myocardium load presenting a potential risk.
Another important function of myofascial therapy is to correct the chest biomechanics and respiratory stereotype which normalizes the reflex impact of the pulmonary system on the heart, improves the lungs ventilating function and encourages blood oxygenation. There is no need for additional clarification, as it is common knowledge how closely interconnected is the work of the lungs and the heart, and how crucial is their proper interaction for the functioning of the whole organism.