What is Myotherapy?
Myotherapy is one of the multi-skilled physical therapies within the Allied Health Profession.
IRMA Myotherapists assess and physically treat myofascial pain, injury and dysfunction affecting movement and mobility. Myotherapy is applied in the preventative, corrective and rehabilitative phases of therapy to restore and maintain the normal integrity of the soft tissue structure (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia) of the human body.
When should I see an IRMA Myotherapist?
If you have pain or dysfunction that may be caused by muscles or fascia you should make an appointment to see an IRMA registered Myotherapist.
If the Myotherapist is a member of the Institute of Registered Myotherapists (IRMA), you know they are qualified and bound by a Code of Ethics and IRMA rules. You may be able to claim Health Fund rebates or Workcover if you are eligible.
Pain or symptoms caused by muscle (myo) or fascia is described as myofascial. Myofascial pain is usually not specific and is often described by the patient as a 'deep ache', 'tightness' or 'tenderness' in an area. It can vary in intensity and radiate to other areas. Other symptoms can include reduced range of motion of muscles and joints, stiffness, fatigue, weakness, numbness or a tingling sensation. There are many other symptoms depending on the condition and patients can have one or many symptoms.
Do I need a referral to see a Myotherapist?
No! Most Myotherapists will see patients without a referral from a Doctor, however for Workcover claims it is necessary. Many Doctors and other health professionals will refer patients to a Myotherapist for specialised treatment. If your Myotherapist decides there is a need for further assessment or specialised treatment they will refer you to the appropriate medical or health professional.
What conditions do Myotherapists treat?
IRMA Myotherapists treat the cause as well as the symptoms of a wide range of conditions. The cause of pain and symptoms is myofascial in many conditions. It may originate from abnormal muscle contraction ('tightness') or trigger points ('knots') in muscle or fascia.
Trigger points are tender, irritable areas which can refer pain and other symptoms to areas close to or often distant to the trigger point. They can be caused by many factors e.g. poor posture, overuse of muscles, stress, incorrect lifting and lack of sleep.
Some examples of conditions commonly treated by Myotherapists...
Pain may occur in the below mentioned areas as a result of many causes and conditions. Expert assessment by your Myotherapist is required.
Chronic Overuse Syndrome to wrist, hand or elbow from poor posture at a computer or prolonged useage.
Headaches as a result of tension in neck and shoulder muscles which refer pain to areas of the head
Chronic back pain, including 'Sciatica' caused by tightness in some muscles and weakness in others. Restoring muscle balance and optimal posture is a major aspect.
Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis elbow). Localized tenderness of elbow and radiating pain to forearm. Often as a result of overuse and weakness of wrist extensor muscles, which can result in trigger points developing.
Shoulder pain, e.g. Impingement Syndrome. During overhead arm motions impingement can cause micro-trauma, and result in pain and inflammation of the shoulder. Abnormal muscle contraction and trigger points can develop
Chronic knee pain may be caused by your patella ('knee cap') not tracking or moving correctly. This can be a result of many factors including muscle imbalance in the thigh, and pronation of the foot.
Hand and finger numbness and tingling. Compression of nerves and/or blood vessels at the thoracic outlet due to abnormal muscle contraction and trigger points in neck muscles (usually scalenes) can cause these symptoms. Your sitting posture at work or your sleeping position (e.g. pillow height) may be contributing factors.
'Shin Splints'. Common term used to describe exercise induced pain to the lower leg. e.g. Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome can be treated by a Myotherapist using a variety of techniques including soft tissue manipulation, dry needling, electro-mechanical stimulation, and thermal applications.
Stiff neck. Often a result of abnormal muscle contraction which causes severe pain and discomfort on movements of the head and neck. Passive stretching, and thermal techniques and soft tissue manipulation are often used to reduce the contraction and relieve discomfort relatively quickly. Contributing factors need to be considered.
Foot pain. Pain in this area can often be referred from trigger points in leg or foot muscles. Myotherapists can treat the trigger points and also address any perpetuating factors e.g. poor footwear.
Sprained ankle. Overstretching of muscles (e.g. peroneals) often occurs with an ankle sprain. The resulting abnormal muscle and/or trigger points can be effectively treated.
What should I expect from a IRMA registered Myotherapist?
Clinical assessment is reliant on history-taking, examination routines of particular joints or regions, assisted by highly developed tactile, palpatory skills and a thorough understanding of joint and muscular assessment procedures. These skills distinguish Myotherapy from other physical therapies. Assessment of potential causes of dysfunction is also important.
Accurate assessment of soft tissue dysfunction is usually possible with the adequate knowledge of anatomy and the understanding of associated pathological processes likely to occur with soft tissue dysfunction.
IRMA Myotherapists employ various soft tissue manipulation techniques, together with other modalities such as passive/active muscle stretching, ischaemic compression, electro-mechanical stimulation, heat therapy, cryotherapy, dry needling, corrective exercises and trigger point therapy.
What training does a Myotherapist have?
IRMA Myotherapists are tertiary trained in biophysical science. They have a thorough knowledge of anatomy, surface anatomy, biomechanics, kinesiology, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, nutrition and scientific evaluation.
IRMA Myotherapists, like other physical therapists such as Chiropractors, Osteopaths, and Physiotherapists may choose to work in a variety of clinical situations, either alone or as part of a team of professionals in a multi-disciplinary health centre. This will involve primary patient contact or the referral of patients from other health care professionals.
Alternatively, IRMA Myotherapists will refer patients, to ensure access to others with appropriate skills, or for investigations requiring further anatomical and pathological diagnosis.