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  • Writer's pictureClaire Harrison

Acute effects of myofascial release and overhead stretching in athletes.

Individuals that take part in activities that require dynamic overhead arm movements, specifically overhead throwing, such as baseball and cricket, may be at a higher risk of shoulder pathology.

Overhead throwing not only requires large force generations during the acceleration phase, but also large force absorptions following ball release and continuing into the follow-through phase.The deceleration forces place a significant amount of stress on the soft tissues of the posterior shoulder, which may result in tightness and decreased glenohumeral internal rotation range of motion. Any athlete involved in sport that requires a significant overarm movement, including baseball, tennis and swimming is at risk. A significant decrease in glenohumeral internal rotation has been linked to shoulder impairments such as anterior instability, rotator cuff injuries, shoulder impingement, labral lesions, and scapular dyskinesis. Proper injury prevention techniques, such as stretching, massage and myofascial release are recommended for athletes looking to improve their range of motion and decrease risk of injury.

Myofascial release has become increasingly popular in physical therapy, athletic training, and strength and conditioning to treat myofascial restrictions and improve soft-tissue extensibility.

The body’s fascia is a thin connective tissue that runs from the top of the head to the tip of the toes in an uninterrupted web. It surrounds all the organs, lymph and blood vessels, the nerves, the brain and spinal cord, and every muscle in the body.

Fascia is naturally very flexible, but it can become tight and rigid with injury or stress. Restrictions and tightness in fascial and connective tissues can restrict the body’s movement and flexibility and can pull the body out of alignment.

Myofascial release stimulates receptors in the skin, organs and muscles that allow muscles to relax and become more pliable. Myofascial release is performed by applying gentle and sustained pressure to a tender area in the fascia, while maintaining the position and load until the tissue responds by relaxing and allowing the fascia to release. Recently, researchers have looked at the effects of myofascial release on joint range of motion and have shown it can significantly increase range of motion in the lumbar spine.

For more information on clinical massage and myofascial release, or to book an appointment please contact Hayley on 07799 750823.

Information for this blog post has been taken from the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies

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