If you suffer from chronic pain, you might need a myofascial therapist
By Ann Angell | Special to the Star
May 15, 2021
Over almost 40 years of teaching fitness, I have discovered that the older I get (62), the soreness after my workouts goes away more slowly, and the limits to my movement and range of motion hang around longer.
In the last 10 years, I have started having muscle spasms in my lower back off and on, and recently discovered what was causing it. I have piriformis syndrome.
The piriformis is a triangular muscle that attaches to the lower spine on one side and to the top of the femur on the other. It can get irritated through exercise and aggravate the sciatic nerve that is close by. This can cause pain down your legs and muscle spasms in your back.
Thankfully, a friend told me about a myofascial release therapist who had helped her, so off I went. You may ask, what the heck is that?
“Fascia” has been a buzz word in the fitness world for a few years. What is fascia? It is a weblike connective tissue that surrounds our organs, blood vessels, muscles and bones. It is three-dimensional, encasing the inner workings of our body.
When we get pain in certain spots, it could be that the fascia has knotted up and the blood isn’t flowing through like it should. A myofascial therapist can pinpoint those trigger points that need releasing, apply the correct amount of intense pressure, and the pain can disappear. This isn’t a feel-good massage. It is uncomfortable at times and can be a little painful, but the result is worth it.
In my case and in many others, you may have pain in one spot, but it may be caused by a knotted area in a completely different spot. The spasms I have been having in my back are caused by an inflammation of the piriformis muscle that is in the buttocks area. Isn’t that interesting?
According to WebMD, one in four people suffer from back pain. That is around 40 million people. Much of that happens in the workplace.
I wish I knew what triggers my back pain, but I know lifting heavy things off the ground is a no-no for me. But it could also be caused by spinning, or gardening or any of the exercises I do.
If you suffer from chronic back issues, you may want to investigate this type of therapy. It seems that myofascial massage can benefit just about any problem.
It is worth a try if you suffer from carpal tunnel, shoulder mobility, neck issues, hip problems and loads more. Basically, any place where you feel knotted up. And it may be something that you need on a monthly basis.
It is worth a go to try an alternative to prescription drugs and doctor bills to solve your chronic pain. Fewer doctor visits and fewer drugs should be a goal for all of us as we age.
Look online to find a qualified myofascial release therapist. Some physical therapy clinics have qualified people, and there are some who practice on their own.
This type of therapy may not be for everyone. If you take blood thinners, have had deep vein thrombosis or even weak bones, please check with your doctor first before you make that first appointment. But otherwise be prepared to be amazed!
Ann Angell is a certified instructor and personal trainer. She is fitness director for the YMCA of Calhoun County. Her “Fitness Over 50” column appears the third weekend of each month.