What is a Myotherapist?
Myotherapy is a form of physical therapy used to treat or prevent soft tissue pain and restricted joint movement. Essentially, they work in the treatment of any musculoskeletal pain or discomfort. Whether you are suffering from headaches, neck or back pain, stress, anxiety or muscle fatigue, muscle management from a myotherapist could be the solution for you! The team at Elite Myotherapy take a holistic approach and look at the body as a whole, looking “above and below” the area of discomfort as with most cases the issue does not stem solely from the area of concern. This is done via an array of techniques, including deep-tissue massage, trigger point therapy, myofascial dry needling and more.
It is important to communicate this to our clients as a lot of people are not fully aware what a myotherapist is and how they may be able to help you. As aforementioned, the presentation focused on two conditions, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Jaw Pain/ Temporomandibular disorders (TMD), 2 conditions that the team at Elite have worked to manage and treat significantly, and 2 conditions that individuals may not know a Myotherapist may be able to help them with.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition associated with the compression of the median nerve as it runs down the wrist. These nerves run through the passage referred to as the ‘carpal tunnel,’ while any swelling of this area will result in the compression of this nerve and resultant symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms include: numbness, pins and needles, shooting pains from the wrist, referred pain into the arm or shoulder as well as weakness of the hand. This condition is largely caused by overuse injuries including awkward postures or repetitive hand movements often involved in occupation or daily activities. Other causes can include arthritis, pregnancy (usually resolves after birth, caused by water retention during pregnancy and therefore compression of nerves in carpal tunnel), wrist fractures, or even neck tightness, as this may create problems throughout the path of the median nerve – remember, the issue rarely stems solely from the area of concern and it is therefore vital to treat ‘above and below!’
A myotherapist may be able to treat carpal tunnel syndrome in a variety of ways:
- Soft tissue massage to forearm muscles and wrist ligaments – helps treat inflammation, pain and numbness by softening the tense muscles and scar tissue. Furthermore, the median nerve originates in the neck and shoulder, so it is vital to treat the entire nerve and thus a myotherapist is likely to also work on nearby muscles.
- Dry needling – Can relieve the pressure on taut bands which add to the compression of the median nerve. Positive long term outcomes include reduced pain and increases in strength.
- Flexibility and strengthening exercises – these will be individually prescribed by your myotherapist or delivered by one of the Exercise Physiologists at Inspire. These will enable you to manage the condition, gain strength and avoid the need for surgery.
Temporomandibular disorders are those involving pain and compromised movement of the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles. Myofascial pain, or discomfort in the muscles that control jaw function as well as the neck and shoulder muscles is the most common form; while a dislocated jaw or displaced disc, as well as degenerative diseases including osteoarthritis in the jaw joint comprise the other 2 forms of TMD.
Symptoms besides pain of the chewing muscles/jaw joint include: limited movement or locking of the jaw, radiating pain in the face, neck or shoulders, painful clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening/closing mouth as well as non-specific tooth pain. Furthermore, symptoms such as headaches, earaches, dizziness and even hearing problems may arise from TMD.
80-90% of all TMJ disorders are related to the muscles of the body, especially the head, neck and shoulder area. When these muscles become tense, tighten, or go into spasm, TMJ problems arise due to referred pain – e.g. tightness in shoulders causing pain in the jaw. A myotherapist will therefore be able to assist with this as they focus on detecting and deactivating trigger points in the musculoskeletal system, thereby eliminating muscle tension and referral of pain from such areas of the body.
Inspire Fitness for Wellbeing and Elite Myotherapy have been working in conjunction for years to provide optimal treatment for our clients and produce the best results in terms of preventing and treating soft tissue pain whilst maximizing strength and physical function. Both organisations share the same holistic philosophy of the body, as the presentation concluded with the quote “motion is lotion, rest is rust” – a good way to summaries our shared philosophies.
If the information in this article sounds like it would benefit you, or you would like to begin an individually tailored exercise program, please contact Inspire Fitness on 9857 3007 or Elite Myotherapy on 9826 2006 so we can begin working to optimise your health!