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Daily Archives: December 22, 2011

Chiropractic Perspectives On Myofascial Therapy

By |December 22, 2011|Education, Technique|

Chiropractic Perspectives On Myofascial Therapy

The Chiro.Org Blog

We would all like to thank Dr. Richard C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC for his lifetime commitment to the profession. In the future we will continue to add materials from RC’s copyrighted books for your use.

This is Chapter 15 from RC’s best-selling book:

“Applied Physiotherapy in Chiropractic”

These materials are provided as a service to our profession. There is no charge for individuals to copy and file these materials. However, they cannot be sold or used in any group or commercial venture without written permission from ACAPress.

Chapter 15:   Chiropractic Perspectives On Myofascial Therapy

The purpose of this chapter is to improve the doctor of chiropractic’s understanding of the significance of myofascial pain and dysfunction, and to improve the chiropractor’s level of competence in diagnosing the myofascial component of the subluxation complex.

The myofascial orientation in the chiropractic setting directs the doctor to look first for a myofascial source of the patient’s pain, and when found, to use numerous techniques and procedures to offer rapid relief. Lowe recommends broad spectrum therapeutics to be employed after the performance of myofascial therapy to assure maximum flexibility. [1]


Myofascial therapy may be defined in several ways. Basically, it is the treatment of the myopathophysiologic component of the vertebral subluxation complex. It is also the treatment of trigger points, areas of increased neurologic activity in muscle tissue, causing the secondary referral of pain with subsequent associated autonomic changes. [2]

The pain attributed to myofascial dysfunction is usually restricted to a certain region such as the cervical or upper thoracic area, lumbar and buttock area, or the cranial/TMJ area. A trigger point, often the cause of such pain, is always tender and palpably taut. This prevents full lengthening of the muscle and produces muscle weakening, altered proprioception, predictable referred pain patterns, and an objectively verifiable local twitch response during palpation. [3]

Historic Background

Several key figures have contributed to our understanding of the widespread cause of muscular pain syndromes, among them Travell, Rolf, and, in our own profession, Nimmo. Another chiropractor who added greatly to our understanding of the role of muscles in various pain syndromes was Gillet of Belgium. Gillet wrote, “Concerning the subluxation or misalignment, we prefer the term fixation, which describes far more accurately the actual status of the [peri]articular soft tissues, where we will find that it is the state of these tissues that actually keeps the two surfaces from moving. The osteopaths, very early on, stated that the soft tissues can vary from the simplest muscular contracture to a complete degenerative fibrosis of the muscles. The previous facts are not new ….unfortunately, x-rays, introduced early in chiropractic history, have done much to propagate the idea of the spine as a string of bones. Even today, many practitioners act as if they still believe the childish propaganda they so nimbly offer to the public, that it’s a bone out of place in the back.” [4] (more…)