Tag Archives: myofascial release

Massage Video: Working with Shoulder Pain After Surgery

Here’s a new video about how I work with postsurgical shoulder pain. I talk about my strategy, and I demonstrate specific techniques for working gently from a myofascial perspective:

I’d like to highlight something that’s changed for me in my practice: While I do explore the client’s range of motion, I do my best to avoid those painful end-points. Over the course of my career, I’ve found that mobilization can work just as well (or better!) when it’s done painlessly. If done patiently and with good communication, it can be a way of demonstrating to the client that safe movement is possible. I’ve frequently had clients stand up with a greater comfortable range of motion despite the fact that I didn’t try to increase that ROM on the table!

I’ve also started erring on the side of less specific work during that first session, especially in areas that are prone to guarding or spasm. That specific stripping and trigger point work can still be incorporated in future sessions, but by working broadly at first, I can help the client gradually get used to movement and contact without provoking spasm or next-day tightness. ... continue reading.

Massage Tutorial Video: Sciatica Myofascial Release Techniques

Today’s massage tutorial video is on sciatica pain and how to deal with it from a myofascial perspective:

You’ll notice that I don’t spend much time focusing on piriformis or any of the hip rotators. I don’t target the lumbar paraspinals or the sacrum. Instead, I encompass all of these areas in broad “steamroller” techniques that grab the fascia and give it some traction. I’ve had much more success with this approach than any specific neuromuscular work.

I also include some mobilization of the hip as I work, bringing it into different angles of rotation and abduction. While I can’t affect any disc dysfunction that might be present, I do think that I can work with spasm and hypertonicity down the line. Nothing in the body happens in isolation—if there’s nerve impingement near the spine, there’s tight muscle and hypersensitivity nearby, and we can work with that! ... continue reading.

Massage Technique Video: Myofascial neck spreading/stretching

This one’s a simple myofascial spreading technique for the neck and chest:

I use two hand tools for this—a loose fist to glide up the neck, and a palm to spread the upper chest tissue laterally. Make sure to use broad, slow pressure with both, and to conform your tools to the changing landscape underneath them.

I prefer this over traditional neck stretches taught in massage classes. It still gives the client a deep feeling of stretch, but it keeps them within their comfortable range of motion. As long as you work broadly and slowly, you can use firm pressure without compromising the sensitive tissues in the cervical region. Let me know what your clients think! Like I say in the video, I’ve found it to be a real crowd-pleaser 🙂

Massage Tutorial Video: How to massage a “crick in the neck”

New massage tutorial video! This one’s on working with stiff necks, or “neck cricks.” As always, I come at this from a myofascial perspective, rather than trying to stretch the kink out or “break up knots.” I do a quick anatomy review of levator scapulae, and then I demonstrate my protocol on a client:

This is one of the few areas where I feel like massage can “fix” acute pain in one or two sessions. If I work slowly and give this area the time it needs, I can typically help them stand up from the experience with much of their range of motion restored.

I think that the “neck crick” phenomenon exemplifies one of reasons why massage is so useful. A little muscle in our neck gets irritated, and suddenly we have a huge amount of impairment. Rather than feeling like a spasm, it can often feel like a bone is out of place, which is a scary sensation. Suddenly, many of our tasks of daily living become more difficult, and even sleep can be out of reach. ... continue reading.

Massage Tutorial Video: Myofascial release for TMJ/jaw pain

This one’s on easy myofascial release techniques for TMJ pain:

As you may have noticed, I don’t do any intraoral work here. In fact, I don’t spend much time focused on any one muscle, let alone seeking out trigger points. Instead, I approach this broadly, using slow fascial traction to “iron out” the entire region. With just two passes (one with client engagement), I find that my clients tend to experience a big drop in jaw tension.

In fact, this is one of the few areas that I feel like I can “fix.” If you’ve followed this page for a while, you know that I’m not a big fan of that concept. Most pain resolution happens over the course of many sessions, along with new habits on the part of the client. Jaw pain, however, is something that can resolve after just a couple of massages, often with a big reduction in symptoms after just one. Let me know if you have a similar experience! ... continue reading.