Understanding the Fascia in Myofascial Massage
Chronic myofascial pain is different from the occasional muscle soreness created by an extra challenging workout or a weekend of painting. Fascia happens to be the most wired sensory organ in the body with more sensory nerves in it than you have even in your eye or your tongue, and it has maybe six times more sensory endings than your muscles. Myofascial pain syndrome is ongoing, with pain being sent from sensitive areas known as trigger points in certain muscles or connective tissues to other—seemingly unrelated—areas of your body.
Myofascial pain is characterized by sensitive points known as trigger points. One of the distinguishing factors of MPS is muscle pain that persists beyond several days or worsens with time. Additional indicators of myofascial pain syndrome may include:
- Deep, aching pain in a muscle
- Joint stiffness near the affected muscle
- Areas of tension in a muscle that are sensitive and feel like a knot
- Muscle stiffness or weakness with a tendency to drop objects without signs of muscle atrophy
- Difficulty sleeping due to pain
One of the primary benefits of massage therapy is that it stimulates the nerve endings in the myofascia, leading to a greater sense of interoception—a perception of what is felt within the body.
Myofascial pain syndrome can increase your chances of experiencing anxiety, depression and insomnia. Myofascial massage is an effective way of addressing those issues before they increase your level of pain.
Myofascial massage eliminates pain caused by muscles or other connective tissues that are “tied down” by tight fascia. Also, damaged fascial tissue can contribute to pain at “trigger points” that restrict blood flow to nearby areas, causing the damage to spread.