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  • Writer's pictureMurray Kovesy

Is Myotherapy and Remedial Massage Effective for Pain Relief?

If a pain in your body is constantly recurring, it seemingly starts to feel immedicable. In such cases, it is essential to know the right remedy for it. When it comes to finding relief from chronic pain symptoms it can be hard to know who to see for what type of pain. Most people might look for ‘massage near me’ or ‘massage places near me’ as a cure; however, many are still unaware of treatment options for chronic muscle pain, muscle strain, trigger points, tissue cramp issues and headaches. This article will outline how Myotherapy and clinical Remedial Massage therapy can ease chronic pains and what the experts’ opinions are about the effectiveness of these are as a treatment option.

Chronic pain is a huge issue affecting so many people which is defined as pain that lasts for more than three months. Chronic pain is a current hot topic in science and health journals with new studies coming out often. In 2018, stats suggest 3.24 million Australians had lived with chronic pain. This figure is expected to rise up to 5.23 million by 2050.

In recent times with the opioid crisis, people are starting to become more aware of their health and serious about finding the right natural alternative health solutions, searching for 'remedial massage near me' or 'myotherapy near me' to help manage their chronic pain. This has seen an increase in interest and popularity of Myotherapy and Remedial Massage for natural pain relief, instead of pharmaceutical drugs. So what’s all this manual Myotherapy Remedial Massage therapy all about and how effective is it for aches and pain?

What is Myotherapy?

"In a simple definition the term 'Myotherapy' translates from Greek with the suffix ‘myo’ meaning 'muscle therapy'. The philosophy of Myotherapy is founded on Western medical principles including anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. Myotherapy comprises a range of manual therapy techniques applied to muscles, joints and connective tissue of the body, with the addition of dry needling. A Myotherapist specialises in treating conditions which are often related to chronic pain and injury. Injuries of the lower back, neck and shoulders can be caused by sport, occupation, posture or any trauma.

Myotherapy was originally coined by Bonnie Prudden to describe a specific type of trigger point therapy which she developed in the 1970s based on research of the cause and treatment of pain arising from myofascial trigger points. Over 40 years Myotherapy has evolved to become an allied health discipline which is practiced in many countries across the world including UK, Australia, USA, Canada, Malaysia and Thailand.

“There are similarities between the manual techniques used by Myotherapists, Remedial Massage Therapists, Physical Therapists and Sports Massage Therapists” says Murray Kovesy, a Myotherapist, owner of Motion Myotherapy Northcote and sports massage therapist at Hawthorn Football Club, "In my experience, it can include any number of muscle forced techniques, like trigger point release work, myofascial release work, myofascial cupping, dry needling, deep tissue massage and sports massage to treat pain."

Myotherapy treatments incorporate the following:

  • a thorough patient history,

  • observations of tissues, movement, and gait,

  • postural assessment,

  • palpation of spine, peripheral joints, musculature, connective tissue and associated viscera,

  • clinical orthopaedic and neurological tests.

Myotherapy plays a role in manual medicine as a single mode of treatment, or is used in conjunction with treatment provided by both medical and other allied-health practitioners such as physiotherapy, podiatry, chiropractic, osteopathy and acupuncture/TCM.

Myotherapy aims to correct myofascial pain, which refers pain initiated by musculoskeletal dysfunction in an area. Myotherapy treatments can assist and aid in prevention, assessment, early intervention and treatment of injuries and pain and the ongoing management of chronic musculoskeletal conditions. Myotherapy assesses posture, muscle imbalances, physical assessment of range of motion, orthopedic testing and a detailed medical history if necessary. It is the physical assessment of injuries that sets Myotherapy apart from Remedial Massage. Find out more about the difference between Myotherapy and Remedial Massage here.

Does Myotherapy For Pain Relief Work?

You might be wondering if Myotherapy is as "legit" as other similar practices of physical therapy like physiotherapy, chiropractic care or osteopathy. There are definitely some important differences. In common with other allied health practices Myotherapists utilise a wide range of evidence based treatment approaches and skill, which in addition to manual therapy, assists with muscular pain and dysfunction. Myotherapy focuses primarily on the dysfunction and pain that is generated from soft tissue of the muscular system. Pain that is caused by muscle tissue or fascia is called myofascial pain. Pain can come from many different sources and while myofascial pain is very common, it is not the only source of pain. Pain can arise from joints, nerves, inflammation or other systemic causes. Myofascial pain symptoms can include:

• deep and constant aching muscle tightness

• sore tender spots in the muscle (myofascial trigger points)

• reduced joint mobility

• stiff joints

• numbness

• recurrent tingling, prickling or ‘pins and needles’ sensation.

Generally speaking Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Osteopaths are more likely to do a detailed medical examination and medical history of patients into account in order to diagnose and potentially send for imaging and then treat the injury accordingly using different techniques. If a Remedial Massage Therapist only just treats pain via manual manipulation and without doing a physical assessment of an injury or if a Myotherapist misses an injury which is needing imaging first to diagnose, treatment might not be as effective in those cases. The moral of the story? If you're interested in Myotherapy, it's best to find a health care provider who is also skilled in assessment and evidence-based techniques.

Myotherapy, Remedial Massage & Academic Requirements

Myotherapy and Remedial Massage share similar massage treatment techniques however differ in the aspect of physical assessment of injuries with addition to Dry Needling certification included with their course. The use of trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage, cupping, myofascial release and stretching may be used within both treatment modalities. Myotherapists because of their assessment skills and use of Dry Needling tend to suit chronic injuries.

Another interesting fact about Myotherapy is that it can have different types of methods, credibility and levels of implementation in different states and parts of the world. In Australia, Cambodia, New Zealand, and the U.K. are part of the Allied Health Professions who have insurance privileges, hold a degree in Clinical Myotherapy, and are considered health care practitioners in their own right. The Myotherapy Association Australia (MAA) is Australia’s only professional association solely dedicated to Myotherapists and the field of Myotherapy.

In the U.S. (and the rest of the world), things are a little bit different. The Myotherapists in the United States have a certification (not a degree), and it is typically massage therapists who have gone on to get this certification. While they hold the same name and also treat musculoskeletal conditions, the training is not the same as in Australia. What's more, depending on the practitioner, the methods they use may not be completely evidence-based.

Who Should Try Myotherapy?

As long as you are seeing a trained health care professional, there is no harm in trying Myotherapy for pain relief. One thing experts agree on is that there are many benefits to explore in trying Myotherapy for pain relief. If you think it might help search your local area for Myotherapist near me and find a trained skilled practitioner. "My bias as a Myotherapist, not surprisingly, is to explore drug-free and surgery free approaches for all pain and injury first," says Murray. That being said, he says some patients will require mainstream medical intervention or even medication initially for a certain period of time in order to get pain relief.

Myotherapy is an appropriate choice of therapy for patients whose pain is generated by its myofascial tissue. To find it out, you must head out to a qualified practitioner who is going to do an in-depth examination of the patient keeping in mind their medical history. We must consider that there is very little risk involved in trying Myotherapy as it is a conservative rehabilitation technique.

A single Myotherapy session will provide pain relief initially and should work towards solving your issues with an ongoing treatment plan seeing progression over time. Ideally, if the person is not progressing within two or three weeks, the Myotherapist might refer on to an evaluation by a medical doctor. If anyone is struggling through chronic pain every day, they must seek help from the right practitioner. Pain is pain, be it in the back, neck, shoulder, or knee. Getting treatment soon if acute pain doesn't improve in the first week is a great idea, and a skilled therapist can help to resolve the issue before it becomes chronic.

Call our expert team from Motion Myotherapy on (03) 9114 2890 to discuss a treatment specific to your needs and book a massage near your place today!

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