What Does a Myotherapist Do?
You’ve heard of physiotherapy, and chiropractic care, and osteopathy. Now there’s a seemingly new word popping up— myotherapy. Although it’s a younger branch of healthcare than many of its counterparts, it has been recognised since the ‘90s and actually began in Melbourne! Myotherapy and is a type of manual therapy which evolved from massage therapy, and takes a holistic approach to manage and treat a range of conditions.
This blog explores what myotherapy is, the conditions it can assist with, and the techniques often used. For personalised advice or to book a myotherapy appointment, contact our team at Northern Spinal today.
What is Myotherapy?
’Myo’ means muscle, and so myotherapy is essentially a form of physical therapy that focuses on the muscles. Pain that arises from muscles and soft tissues is called myofascial pain, and this pain can occur in any muscle or muscle group. Myotherapists are trained in orthopaedic, neurological, and functional testing so that they can get the most overarching view of each client’s physical state.
What Conditions Can Myotherapy Assist With?
Myotherapy can help to reduce pain arising from a number of conditions, as well as those daily aches and pains we all get from time to time. Conditions it can help with include:
- Myofascial pain— Fascia is the tissue which connects to muscles all throughout the body. Myofascial pain is typically dull and achy, and can associated with bad posture or overuse of muscles which can lead to syndromes such as tennis elbow and carpal tunnel. It can also lead to pain elsewhere in the body.
- Headaches and migraines— In many cases, headaches can be due to issues in the neck or jaw. A myotherapist can employ techniques such as massage to release tension in the originating muscle group.
- Sporting injuries— Whether your injury is runner’s knee, shin splints, or any type of muscular sprain or strain, myotherapy can assist with rehabilitation of the area and reduce your likelihood of re-injury.
- Sciatica— Acute or chronic back pain can be caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, leading to pain often starting from the lower back and running down the leg.
- Arthritis— Arthritis can greatly affect function and mobility and leave you feeling stiff and sore. Myotherapy techniques can assist to help with associated joint pain.
- Pregnancy aches and pains— A pregnancy qualified myotherapist will safely perform treatment for both pre- and post-natal issues to relieve discomfort caused by hormonal or postural changes.
- Occupational injuries— Whether you’re an office worker or a physical labourer, you can acquire an injury at work that stops you in your tracks. Back, neck, and shoulder pain is frequently associated with desk workers as much as it is construction workers.
Which Treatment Techniques Are Used in Myotherapy?
A myotherapist will conduct a physical assessment prior to developing your treatment plan. This helps to discover the root cause of your pain, and tailor treatment accordingly. In cases where your pain could be due to another medical condition or needs further assessment, your myotherapist will refer you to the appropriate healthcare professional.
As a result from its roots in massage therapy, myotherapists typically use hands-on techniques to manage muscular pain. Myotherapy is non-invasive and shares many of its techniques with physical therapists and osteopaths, including:
- Soft tissue manipulation
- Trigger point therapy (acupressure)
- Myofascial dry needling
- Sports and remedial massage
- Ice and heat therapy
- Myofascial release
- Passive stretching
- Postural evaluation and correction
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS machines)
- Corrective exercises (stretches, strength)
- Core stability workouts and advice
- Diet and nutritional support
The Benefits of Myotherapy
As myotherapy is essentially a form of massage therapy, it’s believed to have similar benefits to massage therapy. Because it’s a newer therapy, there haven’t been enough studies conducted yet to confirm this, but a 2013 literature review by the Institute of Registered Myotherapists of Australia found that myotherapy may help with:
- Improving pain
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Assisting with pain management
- Increasing quality of life
- Reducing delayed onset muscle soreness
Want to Give Myotherapy a Try?
If you’ve been considering treatment for your pain and discomfort, we hope this article has helped you to uncover the mysteries behind myotherapy! At Northern Spinal our trained myotherapists will conduct an extensive physical evaluation to create a personalised approach to your treatment. We also take psychological and occupational factors into consideration to get the best overall picture of your health and needs.
To find out more or to book an appointment, click below to get in touch!