The definitive guide to Myotherapy
When you are in pain or healing from an injury, you want to see the best person to help. Today, your choices are endless— Myotherapy or physiotherapy, remedial or sports massage, osteopathy or chiropractic. All these options can be confusing. But at Premier Sports & Spinal Medicine, we solve that problem by providing everything you need under one roof.
If you were not sure what Myotherapy is, this blog post will cover everything you need to know about Myotherapy, including what it entails and how it can help manage pain and muscle stiffness. Read on for more information!
What is Myotherapy?
Myotherapy is a client-focused healthcare modality that focuses on the treatment of a range of muscle conditions. A myotherapist is someone who holds a minimum qualification of an advanced diploma in Myotherapy. These practitioners use and apply clinical knowledge and reasoning, manual therapy and exercise rehab to structure and design effective treatment plans to fit clients’ specific goals and outcomes.
What does a Myotherapist do?
A Myotherapist is a physical therapist who can use various treatment techniques to achieve the best outcome for a client. These treatments techniques may include massage, dry needling, trigger point therapy, cupping, joint mobilisation and exercises therapy. All these combined aims to assist in the prevention, assessment and early intervention of injuries and pain and the ongoing management of chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
What is the difference between Myotherapy and Massage?
Myotherapy and massage generally go hand in hand; however, it’s essential to know the difference. Myotherapy was first designed as an addition to remedial massage. Given that remedial massage therapists (RMT) treat various non-specific soft tissue pain and injuries, Myotherapy emerged to assess and treat more complex conditions.
Remedial massage therapists will hold a diploma in remedial massage. They focus on releasing the soft tissue. This is all to help improve the function and healing of restricted muscles.
Whilst Myotherapy extends far beyond massage. Massage is simply one of the many “tools” that a Myo may use in their treatments. It is the systematic assessment and treatment of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues of the body to assist in rehabilitation, pain and injury management.
Their understanding of human anatomy and physiology will allow them to use an evidence-based approach to aid recovery and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions.
What is the difference between Physiotherapy and Myotherapy?
While both Myotherapy and Physiotherapy are both a form of physical therapy and share and use very similar treatment techniques, there are some critical differences that clients should know. Physios hold a higher qualification and often work in public settings such as hospitals; however, you will find many physios share their time in private practice. Physiotherapy has a significant focus on general rehabilitation, pre and post-surgical rehabilitation as well as exercise prescription. Myotherapist does not tend to work in public settings. They will often use a more hands-on approach to treating a number of conditions.
Myotherapy vs osteopathy
Myotherapy does not have a particular focus on joints like osteopathy, but it focuses more on muscular soft tissues and nerves. Many myotherapists work in conjunction with osteopaths and chiropractors.
Is Myotherapy evidence-based?
Yes. Myotherapists have undergone a 3-year degree to practice. They use evidence-based assessment to determine which muscles/ structures they need to treat. Their extensive knowledge of the human anatomy and muscle allows them to develop an effective treatment plan for all clients coming in.
How is Myotherapy performed?
Myotherapy involves a number of treatment modalities and Myos will use many “tools” to help get the best and most effective results for their clients. Some examples include:
Trigger point therapy (Trp): This is where direct pressure is applied to specific points in sore muscles that can be caused by injury, trauma, overuse and inflammation; thus these spots can cause pain. Almost everyone can benefit from Trp; however, each person’s response can vary.
Soft tissue therapy:
Muscle Energy Technique (MET): This is a very safe and effective technique. This involves the practitioner putting the muscle on stretch and then instructs the client to contract against them. This process is usually repeated 3 or so times.
Myofascial Dry Needling (MDN): Similar to acupuncture MDN involves single-use sterile needles. However, the goal is much different. With MDN we only aim to affect the trigger points within the muscles to help reduce pain and or improve muscle function.
Cupping: Using a plastic/glass cup, suction is then applied to create negative pressure and cause vasodilation. Blood flow is then increased to the sore area. Its goal is to help reduce pain and provide a therapeutic response.
Joint mobilisation: Joint mobilisation involves performing a back-and-forth oscillation of a skeletal joint to restore motion. It specifically addresses joint pain and poor range of motion.
Exercise prescription: During your consult, your Myo will assess and identify any areas that could benefit from corrective exercise. They will create and prescribe an exercise-based intervention to address these physical complaints.
What conditions can Myotherapy help?
Myotherapy can help with many different conditions/ pathologies. Some examples include.
Myofascial pain: Myofascia is the connection of muscle and fascia (connective tissue). Pain arising from our myofascia can originate from trigger points. These trigger points can lead to Myofascial pain syndrome which often presents with a dull aching sensation and can produce referred pain to other locations.
Lower back pain: Lower back pain is typically a result of a sudden injury to the muscles and ligaments, osteoarthritis, compression of nerves, lack of physical activity, disc injuries, scoliosis or poor posture. Myotherapy can help decrease muscle tightness, restore the body’s natural posture and relax the spasmed muscle to promote long-term healing.
Tension headaches and migraines: Myotherapy is an excellent option for managing the causes and symptoms of tension headaches and migraines. Myotherapy is great at relieving the tight and restricted muscles around the neck and jaw. These muscles can be a major contributing factor in both migraines and headaches.
Sports injuries: such as muscle sprains, strains and tears. Myotherapy often plays a crucial role in treating and rehabilitating sports injuries as well as working alongside physiotherapists in the prevention of further injuries.
Tendinopathy: Tendon pain can be challenging to assess, treat and manage; however, Myotherapists are trained to identify tendon problems and create an effective clinical intervention that reduces pain and inflammation.
Rehabilitation from surgery: Manual therapy and exercise are essential for effective post-surgical recovery in many cases. Myotherapists are skilled in helping people recover faster and helping them get back to work or sport. Our myotherapists conduct clinical pilates classes as well as individual myotherapy consultations.
When to see a Myotherapist
A Myo can be seen for many different reasons, whether during the rehabilitative, corrective, and preventative phases of therapy, to restore and maintain the normal integrity of the soft tissue structures.
The aim of Myotherapy is to treat the cause as well as the symptoms of a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions.
What can I expect from my first Myotherapy appointment?
On your first visit, your Myotherapist’s goal is to understand what your problem areas are, what your goals are and what you hope to achieve from treatment. This will allow them to design a treatment plan tailored to what will benefit you most.
Your appointment will typically last for an hour. And for follow-ups 30 mins to 45mins. Your practitioner will ask you questions relating to your health, this is to help your Myotherapist pinpoint the cause of your symptoms. It is important to answer honestly. Any information disclosed will be kept in the strictest confidence.
Here are some things your practitioner may ask about:
- Medicines – Provide a list of any medication you are currently taking.
- Test results – Bring along any scans, X-rays, MRI or test results about your injury or conditioner to help your Myotherapist understand the big picture.
- Long-term health goals – If you have specific goals around your physical fitness/ health
- Phobias or concerns – If you’re not comfortable with a particular treatment, let your Myotherapist know. For example, if you have a needle phobia, they can adapt your treatment plan to exclude dry needling.
Your Myotherapist will perform a thorough physical assessment. Depending on your physical complaint, this assessment may involve:
- Examining the affected joints and associated muscles
- Testing your reflexes
- Examining your gait
- Assessing your posture
- Using orthopaedic, neurological and functional testing to assess your injury or complaint as well as checking for range of motion
Once your Myotherapist has identified the proper treatment or pain management plan, you will receive your first myotherapy treatment. During treatment, you can expect your myo to use many of the mentioned modalities to assist them in treating the specific area. You can usually expect corrective exercises to be prescribed during the consult. Your practitioner will ensure you know how to do these correctly and safely at home or in the gym.
Will Myotherapy treatment hurt?
No, pain is not necessary to produce a therapeutic outcome. At all times, you are in control of your treatment and can accept or reject any manual therapy intervention. If there is ever a time during your treatment where pain levels start to increase, it’s necessary to let your practitioner know.
Is Myotherapy safe and effective during pregnancy?
Absolutely. Myotherapy treatment can be excellent for pregnant women to relax the muscles and ensure they are as comfortable as possible during pregnancy. We usually recommend treatment only after the first trimester.
Do health funds cover Myotherapy?
Short answer Yes. The amount of cover you receive will largely depend on who you are insured with.
We hope this has helped clarify who and what Myotherapist are and their role in a health setting. It’s important to remember that all allied health practitioners like to work together to ensure that our client’s expectations are met and exceeded!