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Can Myofascial Release help to relieve your pain?

A friend of mine from the UK, Becky, got in touch with me recently and had a revelation: ‘’Justine, that stuff you teach, you know those releases, they really work like magic!’’ (No sh*t Sherlock!) I know they do, otherwise, I wouldn’t be such a great advocate of them and wouldn’t be teaching them, would I?

What my UK friend was referring to, in particular, was the Dural Tube Release.

A few weeks ago, Becky had to drive from one part of the country to another. As it was very hot she had her air-con on which was blasting pretty cold air on her neck for several hours. After a while, she started to feel a little bit uncomfortable but didn’t pay much attention to it.

The next day she woke up with a terrible neck-ache that was giving her so much grief that she could barely turn her head. But Becky is a tough girl you know, she ‘doesn’t do pain’, so she just wanted to push through (Sounds familiar, ladies?).

She went about her day as usual, including her daily exercise – bike riding. When she got back from her bike ride that morning and attempted a few moves with her head she was getting a migraine-like head-ache she didn’t experience in months, possibly a couple of years. Becky doesn’t take pain pills, but the pain was killing her… she needed a quick fix. Without the pills… That was not gonna happen….

But then she remembered me (how funny!) and that she watched some of my Myofascial Release videos on social recently (the FB scrolling can be beneficial after all…) and finally, there was a reason to try one. (We moms just have to simply wait for the pain to become unbearable before we start prioritizing our self-care, ugh?) So she did.

Desperate enough, she followed my Dural Tube Release video… and she felt relief. Not sure how instant, but Becky reported that it motivated her to do this release about 3 times a day for the next couple of days. (BTW – there’s nothing in my video telling you how often you should perform the release for it to work…ha!)

The next day, the migraine-like headache was much more bearable, the day after… it was gone. So she messaged me: ‘’Justine, I’m gonna do this bloody every day! Surely I can find 5 minutes before I go to bed and lay down with my legs up!? This stuff is flipping amazing!’’

YEAH! Tell me about it! The moral of the story is not just one.

I’ll let you find your own, but for me: It motivates me to keep talking about the Myofascial Release again and again and again.

What is Myofascial Release and how does it work?

Myofascial Release is a therapeutic approach when gentle, sustained pressure is applied to your body. After a few minutes of sustained pressure, your body starts to release Interleukin 8 (a natural anti-inflammatory that aids to “clean up”), Interleukin 3 (regulates blood-cell production and improves the body’s natural response to disease as part of the immune system), and Interleukin 1b (a mediator in the inflammatory response).

In addition, the ground substance of the fascia starts to soften and rehydrate, allowing it to untangle any sticky spots and restructure, releasing it’s a tight grip on muscles, nerves, tendons, organs, and even bones. This allows your body to better maintain homeostasis (your body’s ability to maintain a relatively stable state of being).

I’ve learned Myofascial Release first hand from my teacher and mentor John F Barnes, the father of Myofascial Release Approach ( https://www.myofascialrelease.com/ ), who ‘s been teaching this technique for over 40 years.

Myofascial Release has three components to it: 1/ structural release (using a little small ball, hands, and stretching to release the fascia and the structural part of soft tissue that can hold restrictions and cause pain and immobility).

The other two parts of myofascial release 2/ myofascial unwinding and 3/ rebounding are known as Therapeutic Movement. I cover both of them during my 4-week online workshop series Release Your Root that’s starting again on September 8.

In this blog post, I focus on the structural release highlighting specifically releases of certain parts of the body that can help you relieve your low back pain.

But first things first: Let’s talk about fascia!

Before we dive right in the Myofascial Releases to relieve your low back pain, let me tell you a few interesting things about fascia: Fascia is the soft tissue that surrounds, connects, and supports every single cell and structure in your body.

Instead of being fluid and moving freely, fascia can clamp down and get sticky or even turn into solid tissue, creating a straight jacket effect on pain-sensitive structures in your body in response to STRESS, WORRY, POOR POSTURE, INFLAMMATION, SURGERY, and INJURY.

Research shows that fascia responds favorably to Myofascial Release – the special, whole-body approach we use with all our patients at the Healing Spot to help them transform pain and immobility.

Let’s put things straight: Myofascial Release is not a massage!

Ok, Justine, enough of the theory, just show us the ‘game-changer’ in action, please!

There are a few things to remember before you/ we start :

  • It takes up to two minutes to START to release the soft connective tissue called fascia.
  • Throughout each release focus on your BREATH and FEEL what’s going on in your own body, eg. feel the floor underneath you, I feel your legs resting on the wall, whatever your position is in each exercise.
  • We’re not doing a massage.
  • Don’t force anything. Just see how far your body is allowing your hands to come in.
  • When you get to a stopping point, you have to pause and wait for your body to soften. You’ll see what it needs to do, does it need to release a little bit more?

Be very patient. It takes the first 90 seconds to two minutes for the body to start to respond to the pressure you’re putting into it, so you’ll have to wait and hold.

Then as your body starts to soften, you want to give your body permission to lead your fingers where they need to go, whether that’ll be deeper down or not.

You might notice that your body is drawing your fingertips to the right, or the left. Or that your body wants your fingertips to come up towards other parts of your body, like your head or down towards your feet.

Listen attentively. The body is very, very wise, it knows what it needs. If you’re willing to listen.

When we do Myofascial Release, we want to hold for 3 to 5 minutes or longer in the position.

Don’t worry, you can’t over release the fascia. Even if you hold longer than five minutes, if you’re really listening, you’re not going to over release the treated tissue.

Are you ready for the action?

Let me walk you through 3 hands-on Myofascial Releases to relieve your low back pain:

  1. Dural Tube Release

In the following video, I’m sharing how to release the deepest layer of the spinal tissue, called the ‘dural tube’ using my own to relieve back pain. The dural tube covers the brain, the inside of the skull, all of the bones of the head, the spinal cord, and all the nerves in your arms, trunk, and legs.

  1. SI Joint Release

Got a Sacroiliac Joint that locks down or bugs you on occasion? Or one-sided low back pain, sciatica with pain that shoots into your butt or legs, groin or hip pain, or even pelvic pain that stops you from exercising, makes you lose sleep or scares you that your back will ‘’go out’’ any minute? In this video, I show you an easy at-home way to release your SI joint.

  1. Pelvic Floor Release

I know I know, call me crazy. We’re still talking about releases for your back pain. May I ask you something?

Do you know that your back pain is JUST back pain? Could there possibly be a problem with your pelvic floor, even if you’re not having “pain down there”? ABSOLUTELY!

The pelvic floor is essentially the whole bottom of the back. But when was the last time you had a backache and thought about your pelvic floor? Watch my next video and learn a simple way to release your pelvic floor to relieve your back pain.

If you want even more valuable tips to ease low back pain download my Free Ultimate Guide to Low Back Pain here.

There are two more Myofascial Release videos I’ve made recently and that I teach as a part of my Release Your Root online workshop: Abdominal Scar Release

and Myofascial Unwinding

Check them out.

As you know – knowledge is power, but ONLY if applied.

So while ‘’scrolling’’ might get you the right information as it did for my friend Becky, it won’t get rid of your pain. Do yourself a favor and try it out. It might work wonders for you too.

You can also explore the Release Your Root online workshop series here and/or book a Discovery Session here.

Justine Calderwood

The Healing Spot Physical Therapy

"We Help Individuals Overcome Pelvic Floor Issues, And Heal Bowel & Bladder Conditions So They Can Be Active and Pain Free Again, Regardless of How Long It's Been"