Healing from Chronic Myofascial Pain—Support for Chronic Pain Sufferers


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Traditional myofascial release (MFR) physical therapy (PT)

BOTTOM LINE: Didn't provide lasting reduction in pain.

Traditional myofascial release (MFR) is a type of hands-on physical therapy (PT) that focuses on releasing muscular tightness to relieve pain. Therapists apply light, sustained pressure to a patient’s muscles to help increase the fluidity of the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles. The goal is to increase mobility and decrease pain. (Note, this is different from John F. Barnes MFR, which I describe in a separate page under the Treatments Tab.)

After surgery, drugs, traditional PT, and shots didn't eliminate or adequately reduce my chronic myofascial pain, a friend suggested I try MFR PT. I found a therapist who took my insurance and I starting going twice a week. The therapist had me lie down for forty minutes while he pressed on my trigger points and shook my shoulder a little. Then I'd lie with moist heat draped over my upper back and neck for twenty minutes. At least this treatment didn't flare up my pain like the strengthening of "traditional" PT did.

The traditional MFR PT made me feel temporarily better maybe because I got to lie down, but also probably because the therapist was helping to release some of the tension in my tight muscles and fascia. But over time I was not improving. After each session I'd feel a little better, but with each new day I was back to the pain I had before the session. I stopped receiving this treatment after about five or six months when I saw no discernible or lasting pain reduction.

I discovered later that there are different approaches to MFR therapy and it was John F. Barnes MFR [JFB-MFR] that eventually helped significantly reduce my pain. Traditional MFR PT conducted by a therapist not trained in JFB-MFR did not result in a lasting reduction of my trauma-based myofascial pain.

Described below is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain:

Treatments: Physical therapy (PT)