Myotherapy is for anyone who’s experiencing pain that is muscular in origin as well as joint and nervous system issues. As a manual therapy that focuses holistically on the musculoskeletal system, many clients turn to myotherapy when they haven’t achieved results with physiotherapy, or can be undertaken in tandem with other treatments.
In a clinical setting, myotherapy can involve a variety of techniques that the therapist will use on your body to manage your pain issue. These could include dry needling to the myofascial layer, electrical simulation, guided stretching, joint mobilisation, trigger point therapy and types of massage. Your body’smyofascia will typically be focused on a lot in a treatment, which is the thin sheets of tissue that encase the muscles throughout the entire body.For this reason, if you also experience ligament and tendon pain, myotherapy may also be a great treatment option for you as they are comprised of bundled myofascia.
It can be difficult to differentiate between ligament, muscle, tendon or joint pain. However, your therapist will examine your body to determine how to proceed with treatment. In general though, know that myotherapy is useful for a variety of musculoskeletal issues which include muscle tightness, deep and persistent body aches, specifically tender spots within a muscle, stiff joints and even unexplained fatigue.
In many instances pain will be a result of physical trauma or inflammation that effects the myofascia, causing it to stiffen which then increases tension around the body, leading to pain at the source or referred pain. Muscle hardening results from an incomplete acute inflammatory episode that occurs before the muscle was able to repair itself or reach a phase of regeneration. Therefore, the result of this is a core of rigid fibres in the place of what should normally be a flexible and pliable casing for your muscles (the myofascia). In addition to tension, nerve endings may also become more sensitive which can also cause the muscles to be painful in motion and even spasm which is felt as more severe pain. Consequently, it is very common for your myotherapist to work with muscle chains which are connected by the fascia, rather than an individual or symptomatic muscles. The reason for this is to ensure that pain will not be redirected to another connected area of the body.
After a treatment and the injured musclehas been relaxed and put on the path for the normal healing process, you may experience a variety of sensations from fatigue, lethargy and a state of relaxation. Up to 72 hours later, you may also feel some muscle soreness similar to when you’ve done a big workout.
Within a myotherapy appointment, a physical examination and manipulation of the affected areas will occur along with an overview of your medical history and symptoms. Therefore, be sure to take along any relevant tests, referrals from other health practitioners if you have themand details of current medication. It will also be very helpful for your myotherapist to hear an account of your typical activities on a day-to-day basis. Do you sit a lot, walk around all day, or are you a contortionist in your spare time? Little details such as needing to lift a heavy toddler up multiple times a day will all be valuable pieces of information that will not only help your myotherapist treat you, but assist them to prescribe strengthening exercises or alterations to your movement patterns to alleviate your pain condition.
There are several qualifications that an aspiring myotherapist may complete in order to practice in this field. The most common of these myotherapy courses are the nationally recognised Advanced Diploma of Myotherapy or a Bachelor of Health Science (Myotherapy). In addition to this, many myotherapists will be members of professional associations such as the Institute of Registered Myotherapists of Australia, Australian Natural Therapists Association and the Australian Association of Massage Therapists. The websites of these associations are a great place to find out more information about myotherapy and how to locate a therapist in an area near you.
Many health funds will offer rebates on these treatments as a part of their extras cover, and to be eligible for rebates, a myotherapist must maintain professional development points. Therefore, a myotherapist that is able to offer you a healthcare rebate, is assumed to maintain a high level of competency as they will regularly update their skills and knowledge to align with the latest research in this field.So even if you don’t have extras cover, knowing a practitioner’s healthcare fund status can reassure you of their professional standard.
So whether you are seeking treatment for a sports injury, chronic pain condition, postural issues, repetitive strain injuries or have unexplained joint or muscle discomfort, try some myotherapy sessions as a part of your pain management strategy.