Developed in the 1970s, myotherapy is considered as a systematic approach to resolving muscle and soft tissue complaints. Today, practitioners will often hold an advanced diploma of myotherapy or even bachelor’s degree in order to practice in this field. Read below for a run down of what to expect if you are heading along to your first myotherapy appointment.
People opt to consult a myotherapist for a variety of reasons: it may be that some deconditioned muscles that are causing you grief or perhaps there are some soft tissue injuries that are affecting you. Another common problem that myotherapists work with is referred pain that is a result of an issue somewhere else in your body. Overall the area that myotherapists deal with is typically referred to as myofascial pain which can often function as a chronic conditionif previous treatment has been unable to properly identify and resolve its underlying causes. In many instances, a combination of factors will lead to the pain or discomfort that you’re experiencing and causing you to seek help. Aside from an acute injury such as tearing a hamstring, myofascial pain can also creep up on you as a result of repetitive movements that overload an area of the body overtime. Similarly, stress can also affect the body in tangible and physical ways, leading to the formation of tension patterns within the body. Therefore, a variety of techniques will be deployed by your myotherapist to firstly access the extent of your injuries and then to help restore the body back to a more pain free state.
Referred pain is known to follow particular patterns, for example and your myotherapist will be well versed on how to discover and unblock where is really injured or aggravated. In many instances they will also work with trigger points along the muscle, which are areas of the body that house tight muscle fibres. You may or may not already be aware of their sensitivity.
Discussion of trigger points and myofascial pain is relatively unknown to a lot of people as it’s still seen as a more fringe area of medicine. In part this is due to the slow progress of research into soft tissue pain. However, many pain specialists will agree that painful areas certainly do exist in accordance to those identified in the Trigger Point system, making myotherapy a common alternative for people who have ‘tried everything else’ to overcome injury and pain issues. Therefore, cases of inexplicable pain are commonly presented to myotherapists whose goal is to overcome these biomechanical imbalances.
For best results, seek out a practitioner that is part of a professional industry body like the Australian Association of Massage Therapists or the Myotherapy Association of Australia. This way you’ll access a well connected therapist that is committed to their own ongoing education in this evolving field of manual therapy. You may also choose to consult a myotherapist that works out of an allied health clinic to benefit from further referrals if necessary.