Fascial Manipulation

Fascial Manipulation in Wasilla, Alaska

Fascial Manipulation (FM) is an evidence-based treatment for pain relief which involves manual treatment of the myofascial system to restore muscular balance and reduce stiffness. Recent evidence has shown that muscle action is not merely along origin and insertion lines. Instead, muscles and fascia form continuous lines from head to toe allowing efficient tension and mobility for shock absorption and force generation to support the entire neuromusculoskeletal system during activity. Many changes within the skeletal system, such as arthritis and joint degeneration, are accepted as normal age-related changes which do not always lead to pain. All too often, imaging findings of these normal adaptations are used as justification for risky and invasive treatments leading to disability and pain management.

The reality is that the myofascial system is well equipped to compensate for non-traumatic changes in the skeletal system. However, pain and dysfunction often occur due to tissue overload and stiffness in the myofascial chain. Myofascial stiffness can lead to improper movement patterns causing excessive tissue strain and overload of joint structures (capsule and cartilage).

The goal of FM is to restore gliding along fascial layers and normal activation of myofascial lines of tension to restore balance within the neuromusculoskeletal system. Our certified FM therapists utilize this evidence-based technique to naturally resolve pain and facilitate healing with improved movement and stability throughout the entire body. FM is a safe and effective alternative to clients seeking pain relief without the risk of surgery or drugs.

Is Fascial Manipulation similar to Myofascial Release?

The only similarity to Myofascial Release is the hands-on method of a manual therapist mobilizing tissue to create a change. Myofascial Release does not involve a consistent treatment strategy and it lacks scientific evidence. It is common for many clinicians to claim expertise with Myofascial Release but the art or method is unique to the practitioner. This lack of consistency often leads to limited outcomes and strong reliance on the provider. Typically, the patient is unaware of the nature or type of problem being treated with Myofascial Release.

Fascial Manipulation is based upon scientific evidence from multiple studies showing inherent connections throughout the myofascial system. These connections allow the muscles and fascia to generate tension and transmit load along three dimensional planes. The primary challenge of this system is maintaining mobility, balance and stability to allow us to be active without pain. The Stecco method of Fascial Manipulation involves a complete and thorough evaluation of the entire myofascial system to identify stiffness and lack of coordination. FM treatments are specifically directed towards areas of stiffness within a dysfunctional line of tension to restore balance and improve activation patterns. Treatment is guided by the client’s symptoms and movement dysfunction to achieve complete balance throughout the myofascial chain which reduces tissue load and restores joint health naturally leading to pain relief and healing.

How does Fascial Manipulation work?

The exact mechanisms of FM were only recently discovered with research of myofascial stiffness and its response to friction. FM therapists utilize manual techniques to create friction which increases tissue heat and local inflammation in specific areas of myofascial restriction to restore balance. The combination of increased tissue temperature and local inflammation triggers a healing response which resolves stiffness and restores coordination. This technique has been successfully used by its founder, Luigi Stecco and his children (Dr. Antonio Stecco and Dr. Carla Steeco) to resolve painful conditions which failed traditional treatment methods. The clinical experience of the Stecco family led them to conduct extensive research involving detailed anatomy dissections showing the important role of the myofascial system for joint protection and balanced movement. The Stecco Method of Fascial Manipulation has become the gold standard of treatment throughout Europe and its popularity is quickly spreading in the US. Northern Edge Physical Therapy is the first clinic in Wasilla to offer this revolutionary treatment by our certified therapist.

What type of problems can be treated?

Myofascial dysfunction is typically the primary contributing factor to non-traumatic neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Such conditions would include repetitive stress injuries, muscle tendonitis, neck pain, headaches, rotator cuff impingement, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, sciatica, muscle strains, iliotibial band syndrome, patellofemoral dysfunction, plantar fasciitis, just to name a few. These conditions involve an imbalance in one or more planes of the myofascial chain. A lack of gliding between fascial planes and improper activation patterns are typically the cause of pain due to myofascial stiffness overloading joint or nerve structures. A similar situation occurs after surgery or traumatic injury; however, further medical consult or imaging may be necessary prior to start of FM.

Is the procedure painful?

Most people experience local soreness and muscle pain lasting 2-12 hours after treatment. In some cases, the local inflammation can cause pain up to 48 hours depending on the nature and duration of the symptoms. The FM techniques are designed to alter tissue behavior and restore normal movement patterns so this will modulate pain but the response is gradual and more importantly long-lasting.

How long does it take for the procedure to work?

In some cases, decreased pain and improved mobility is immediate. Typically, it may take a few treatment sessions for a lasting positive effect. Again we are trying to cause mechanical, biochemical and neurological changes in the myofascial system without any drugs or surgery. Therefore, we are looking for a cumulative response to resolve myofascial stiffness, restore coordination throughout lines of tension and normalize movement patterns. These changes occur over the course of multiple treatments, typically 6-8 sessions. Once balance is achieved within the myofascial chains, it is easily maintained with intermittent or occasional treatment.

How do I know if I am a candidate?

Contact us to schedule an appointment to determine if FM would be an appropriate treatment for your injury or condition. In the State of Alaska, you may see a physical therapist without obtaining a prescription, with the exception of Medicare insurance.

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