When I meet someone new and they ask me what I do, I tell them I’ve been a practicing chiropractor in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh for 35 years. The majority of their responses, in some way, indicate they believe I treat back problems with chiropractic adjustments. This is certainly true. I am able to give patients pain relief for their back and neck problems by adjusting their spinal misalignments. In fact, I have always considered spinal adjustments to be the gold standard in the treatment of most back problems. However, there are adjunctive methods of treatment, that I also utilize. This article will discuss a particular adjunctive treatment modality that I also use at times called Myofascial Disruption Technique (MFDT).
Myofascial Disruption Technique is a hands-on technique commonly used by doctors of chiropractic that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into connective tissue restrictions to help eliminate pain and restore motion.
Let’s further explore MFDT. Myo is a term that means muscle. Fascial denotes fascia. The fascia is a type of connective tissue that holds and connects different parts of our body together. Fascia is not muscle tissue, ligaments, tendons, skin or organs. It is the diffuse, broad, fibrous tissue that is found all over the body that is somewhat flexible and allows our bodies to move properly. A good example of fascia is that found along the bottom of our feet called the plantar fascia. This fascia inserts at the front of the foot and extends back to the bottom of the heel. It is attached to the bones and the small muscles of the arch of the foot. When this fascia gets irritated it is called the plantar fasciitis.
There is fascia all over the body. There is a broad sheet of fascia along the side of the thigh called the Tensor Fasciae Latae. Another fascial area is in the lower back, called the lumbar fascia.
Normally muscles and fascia are smooth and the fibers form a flawless matrix. However, at times muscles and fascia can become disrupted. The fibers can become separated, pulled from their insertions, wrinkled or otherwise damaged.
MFDT is a method I like to use for these types of injured tissues. By applying pressure into these damaged muscle and fascial tissues we are able to repair the fascia and muscles and bring pain relief.
In October 2019 a research study was published in Clinical Interventions in Aging that documents how well this technique works. In a study involving 45 elderly patients with nonspecific low back pain, those treated with a combination of Myofascial Disruption Technique and core strengthening exercises three times a week for six weeks experienced improvements in low back pain and function, lower body flexibility, fear avoidance behavior, and overall quality of life.
As mentioned earlier, while I love using chiropractic spinal adjustments to bring neck and back pain relief, I also use Myofascial Disruption Technique as an adjunct to get faster and better healing for my patients.