If you're in pain, you've come to the right place. I’ve seen many soft tissue injuries even the type of pain that feels and perhaps even diagnosed as nerve pain — and I have confidence that I can help you heal. Brad Offutt, LMT, E-RYT.
Perhaps, like most of my patients, you've been through the medical mill—a GP, a pain specialist, an orthopedic surgeon and maybe even to the chiropractor. You've had expensive tests. You've tried physical therapy, or powerful drugs. Nothing worked, and now your doctor is talking surgery. You hate the idea—but do you have a choice?
YES—Mobility Freedom Technique (MFT), the most advanced hands-on soft-tissue therapy technique known. MFT is the hands-on component of my complete pain relief program, the Mobility Freedom Technique. In about 80% of cases, MFT make the standard "medicate and cut" approach of conventional MDs unnecessary.
I routinely heal injuries, aches, and pains that most medical professionals believe can only be fixed by drugs and surgery. I've fixed problems whose causes ranged from weight lifting, jujitsu, and basketball to sitting long hours at a desk hunched over a computer. The reasons you should consider seeing me in a “Mobility Freedom Technique” session include: Through my training, travels and personal experiences from around the world I have developed a treatment I call the “Mobility Freedom Technique”. I have had the pleasure of studying, receiving and learning healing techniques from many of the very best therapist/healers from around the world. I have also learned through my personal experiences that have included many different styles and modalities for reducing and healing my personal chronic pain syndrome symptoms. Through the experience of my personal chronic pain, I have developed a technique that employs what I consider to be the best of the best treatment techniques. These techniques have been derived from a multitude of modalities that helped me personally to reduce and/or alleviate my chronic pain symptoms. Your pain experience may include joints, nerves and/or muscles that have limited your mobility freedom experience. Pain experienced in the body (joints, muscles and nerves) is a treatable symptom and may not require surgery even if you have been told you are “bone on bone” and confirmed by an MRI or X-ray. I believe that, “bone on bone” may be a symptom or even a result of a chronic dysfunctional movement pattern. And with proper treatment the human body has the ability to recover and heal. Mobility Freedom Technique client results include relief from chronic pain. The techniques utilized include (but are not limited to) compression, mobilization, muscle stripping, vibration, relaxation and assisted stretches along with many other instrumental devices including “Gua Sha”, tuk sen, vibration tools and others. Many of my clients experience a lasting reduction of chronic pain symptoms in 1-15 treatments. During the session clients often report feeling better and even pain relief.
What I treat - pain (anywhere in the body, for any reason), loss of physical function, loss of physical strength, imbalances in posture and skeletal alignment, scar tissue, and restrictions in physical capacity. The source of pain is either joint, muscle, nerve, and / or fascia, and my therapy encompasses all of these tissues.
When I treat - my technique helps for acute injury and is especially helpful for chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
How I treat - I developed “Mobility Freedom Technique” from training in multiple modalities, having had the pleasure of studying, receiving, and combining healing techniques from many of the very best therapist / healers from around the world. I use compression, mobilization, muscle stripping, vibration, relaxation, assisted stretches, and other techniques, depending upon the individual. Instrumental devices that assist in improved outcomes include gua sha, tuk sen, vibration tools, and others.
Why I treat - I am compelled to help others find pain relief as I have experienced significant chronic pain myself. Through my own personal experiences, I have gained even more knowledge about pain and its consequences. My clients often experience pain reduction after the first session and have ongoing improvement and pain relief over 1 - 15 sessions, which are individualized. Most tell me that they feel better with the first movements after an intervention session in other ways, such as better range of motion, decreased restriction sensation, and / or decreased or resolved muscle spasms or knots.
What is Fascia?
Heart & Souls Approach to Fascia - At Heart & Soul we have a unique fascia-based therapeutic method, based on new scientific discoveries in fascia research, which are changing our view of human anatomy, and therefore our approach and treatment of orthopedic and chronic pain conditions.
You know the skeletal system; you know the muscular system…meet the fascia system, which connects the skeletal system to the muscular system. This is why we also refer to fascia as connective tissue. It connects everything together, holding together the human body. The fascia is the 3-D spider web of fibrous, gluey proteins that binds those cells all together in their proper placement.
Fewer people are talking about fascia as the key to unlock chronic pain and orthopedic conditions. In fact, fascia has been relatively ignored, in fact, it doesn’t even show up on MRIs, CT scans or x-rays. Therefore, imaging may not show the whole picture. At Heart & Soul Therapy, we see fascia as the road map to creating success for our patients in pain.
Fascinating Fascia Facts
Fascia has 6 to 10 times more sensory nerves then muscle.
Genetics determine only what proteins (fascia) are able to be manufactured. The local environment of how you use your body determines how they are arrayed from day to day.
Fascia protein fibers organize themselves depending on the forces that go through them. This organization is dictated by your posture, habits and athletic endeavors.
The fascia net responds and distributes forces as a whole not just locally. This means the restriction in your calf can literally cause your neck pain, or in other words, your low back pain might be coming from a restriction across at the opposite hip.
Trauma, injury, inflammatory responses, postural patterns and/or surgical procedures can create fascia restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures.
“Fascia is the biological fabric that holds the human body together, the connective tissue network. Your body is made up of about 70 trillion cells— neurons, muscle cells, epithelia—all humming in relative harmony. The fascia is the 3-D spider web of fibrous, gluey proteins that binds those cells all together in their proper placement.” (Anatomy Trains, Thomas Myers)
Fascia has been relatively ignored. For literally hundreds of years of anatomical dissection, fascia has simply been cut out and thrown into the waste bin. To add to the confusion, fascia does NOT show up in MRIs, CT scans or X-rays.
We can now start to understand why chronic pain conditions, which use diagnostics such as imaging may not have the full picture, which goes a long way towards explaining why some chronic pain will just not go away for even decades or years even though the musculoskeletal system is addressed/treated. This information in no way invalidates musculoskeletal involvement MRIs or X-rays. This new information simply gives us a missing piece of the chronic pain puzzle. It gives us a big-picture approach helping quite literally to connect the dots.
DID YOU KNOW MRI's CAN BE MISLEADING
If you take people without back pain and put them through an MRI or CT scan, you get some surprising results.
% of Population that have disk degeneration
37% of 20 year olds
80% of 50 year olds
96% of 80 year olds
% Have Bulging Disks
30% of 20 year olds
60% of 50 year olds
84% of 80 year olds
UNDERSTANDING CHRONIC PAIN
Chronic pain (especially chronic back and neck pain) is practically an epidemic in our society; why are so many people suffering? We believe people experience chronic pain because they are chronically doing things that are harmful to them, and often times are not even aware of it.
Unbalanced postural habits, prolonged sitting, physical trauma such as an accident or a fall, and a fitness industry focused on aesthetics as opposed to function, have resulted in people thinking and feeling that pain is just a normal part of life and aging.
Heart & Soul offers clients the opportunity to take back the control over their bodies, and positively affect their quality of life; both short term and long term.
The reason Heart & Soul has been effective for so many people, is because our clients literally change their lives, the way they stand, sit, walk, run, get in and out of a chair, hit a golf ball or lift weights. They realize, with our guidance, what they had been doing that resulted in pain, and have chosen to take an active role in changing their reality.
Heart & Soul Therapy addresses the whole body, we take a look at your structure from head to toes, in order to make sure we are not simply addressing a symptom, but looking to address the root cause. You are not a “Rotator Cuff” a “Herniated Disc” a “Sciatica” or “Plantar Fasciitis.” Nothing in the human body exists nor functions by itself; rather it interacts reacts and balances in a beautifully intricate way with the rest of you. Clients receive a comprehensive assessment in both static and dynamic positions. Simple movement interventions are carefully applied along with postural, gait and functional reeducation.
Clients are given simple self-care homework exercises between sessions. Each session we reevaluate if our last interventions have proven successful, indicated by the client experiencing a steady reduction or disappearance of pain.
The first two to three sessions include postural and movement reeducation along with developing the client’s self-care protocol (homework). Once the client has his or her self-care protocol and is regularly implementing the protocol in a daily routine, the next sessions focus on slow and precise fascial corrections, applied by the therapist. These fascial corrections help speed up the healing process and make the client’s self-care protocol even more effective.
If you would like to take an active role in your well-being and want to take back control of your body… Heart & Soul Therapy is THE method for you.
WE CAN HELP YOU WITH A WAY OUT
Imagine living the rest of your life feeling at ease and at home in your mind and body.
The reason you feel stuck or struggle to heal quickly when pain, injury or trauma happen is because you haven’t learned how to confront - and heal - yourself. This isn’t your fault. Most of us weren't taught this.
We’ve been taught to believe other people know more about our bodies, hearts and minds than us, and maybe most dangerous of all: that pain is something to be afraid of.
Pain is nothing more than a sign we are OUT OF INTEGRITY somewhere: physically, mentally, emotionally. You already possess - right now - the wisdom and ingredients you need to bring yourself into alignment: mind, body and spirit.
I want to see you confident and unafraid of adversity, because the truth is:
You’re capable of healing yourself from minor and massive pain - whether recent injuries, childhood trauma or chronic pain.
You’re capable of knowing what your body is telling you when you feel pain, anxiety, tension etc.
You’re capable of being your own body’s expert.
You’re capable of moving stress and trauma out of your body, which will free you up to pursue life on your terms.
You’re capable of preventing most common injuries.
When pain does happen (because some pain is inevitable, unless you live in a bubble) you’re capable of recovering far faster than you’ve been led to believe is “normal.”
You’re capable of tapping into your own mind-body connection to rewire your body and brain.
You’re capable of healing rapidly, FEELING MORE HUMAN and experiencing life at deeper and higher levels when you allow pain its rightful place in your life: whether physical, psychological emotional or spiritual.
You’re capable of living - and aging - with vibrancy
What are Trigger Points
By Steven Hefferon, PTA, CMT
Research by Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons, authors of “The Trigger Point Manual,” has shown that trigger points are the primary cause of pain at least 75 percent of the time and are a factor in nearly every painful condition. Learn more about trigger point therapy by this link: Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger points, a type of muscle stiffness, are the result of tiny contraction knots that develop in muscle and tissue when an area of the body is injured or overworked. Trigger points are something traditional doctors ignore, but they could be the one thing that has been overlooked in your case for years, if not decades.
A hallmark of trigger points is something called “referred” pain. This means that trigger points typically send their pain to some other place in the body, which is why conventional treatments for pain so often fail. Many health care practitioners wrongly assume that the problem is located where the pain is and therefore fail to assess the body correctly to find the cause of your pain.
I’m going to give you some valuable information about trigger points that I hope will encourage you to consider the possibility that trigger points may be the missing link in your quest for relief.
What triggers a trigger point
Trigger points can occur as a result of muscle trauma (from car accidents, falls, sports- and work-related injuries, etc.), muscle strain from repetitive movements at work or play, postural strain from standing or sitting improperly for long periods at the computer, emotional stress, anxiety, allergies, nutritional deficiencies, inflammation, and toxins in the environment. A single event can initiate a trigger point, and you can suffer the effects for the rest of your life if that trigger point is not addressed properly.
Why trigger points cause trouble
Your body’s instinctive reaction to a harmful “event” is to protect itself. It does that by altering the way you move, sit, or stand, which puts abnormal stress on your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. This produces strength and flexibility imbalances in your muscles, as well as postural dysfunctions throughout your body.
If that were not bad enough, your blood flow can become restricted and when that happens both your peripheral and central nervous systems will start to send out those “referred” pain signals, making assessment and treatment even trickier. That’s why some experts believe that trigger points are the beginning stage of fibromyalgia. Can things get even worse? Keep reading.
Here’s why you may be suffering
To better illustrate the process, here’s an example of how one trigger point in one muscle can cause back pain, sciatica, or a herniated disc. The most common place for a trigger point is in the muscle of the lower back called the quadratus lumborum (QL), which is located just above your hips. Regardless of what kind of event sparks the trigger point, your QL will gradually become dysfunctional – that is, the QL will tighten and shorten. And as you limit its use, it will weaken.
As the QL becomes increasingly dysfunctional, it will alter the position of the pelvis. As the pelvis becomes dysfunctional, it will force the spine into an abnormal curvature that will put abnormal pressure on the disc. Over time, the disc will begin to bulge. This situation will get progressively worse, affecting your overall quality of life. Depression often follows. All of this from a single event that occurred in one moment in time.
How do you know if you have trigger points
Everyone has trigger points; the question is degree. If you have lingering pain, tightness, or restriction of certain movements, it is a good bet that you are experiencing the effects of a trigger point. Trigger points may produce symptoms as diverse as dizziness, earaches, sinusitis, nausea, heartburn, false heart pain, heart arrhythmia, genital pain, and numbness in the hands and feet.
Trigger points can bring on headaches, neck and jaw pain, low back pain, sciatica, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome – you name it. They are the source of joint pain in the shoulder, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle that is often mistaken for arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, or ligament injury. If you think this is overkill, I suggest you read the book “Why We Hurt: A Complete Physical & Spiritual Guide to Healing Your Chronic Pain,” by Dr. Greg Fors, in which he explains precisely why so many different conditions are rooted in trigger points.
Here are a few more symptoms you should know about: If you have restless leg syndrome, you have TPs; if your teeth hurt, you have TPs; if your workouts have plateaued, you have TPs; if you have painful menses or irritable bowel syndrome, you have TPs.
How does Trigger Point Therapy work
Simply rubbing the surface of the skin with a massage lotion, a vibrating massager – or using heat – will not change the tissue of a single trigger point. What it needs is sufficient deep sustained pressure to the “knotted-up area.” As you work the Trigger Point, your body will undergo soft tissue release, allowing for increased blood flow, a reduction in muscle spasm, and the break-up of scar tissue. It will also help remove any build-up of toxic metabolic waste.
Your body will also undergo a neurological release, reducing the pain signals to the brain and resetting your neuromuscular system to restore its proper function. In other words, everything will again work the way it should.
How long does it take to get relief
The length of time it takes to release a trigger point depends on several factors, one of which is how long you have had your trigger point. Other factors include the number of trigger points you have, how effective your current treatment is, and how consistently you can administer or receive treatment.
Even if you are lucky enough to find a clinician who can properly assess your condition – let alone treat trigger points – it can be time-consuming and costly to pay someone to completely release all the primary, latent, and myofascial trigger points you may have in your body. You can try going to a massage therapist, but trigger points are very fickle; they need to be addressed daily using a technique that will apply the pinpoint pressure that is needed. Most likely it will be impractical to see a massage therapist frequently enough to get a trigger point to release.
An approach that makes sense
The basic idea is simple. First of all, a trigger point is only about the size of a mustard seed, which is one of the tiniest of all seeds. The idea is to put sustained pressure on the area for a set period of time on a regular basis. There are a number of techniques out there that you can employ to do this. The bottom line is that you need to take the initiative.
“There is no substitute for learning to control your own musculoskeletal pain,” says Dr. Simons. “Treating myofascial trigger points yourself addresses the source of that kind of common pain and is not just a way of temporarily relieving it.” In other words, you can fix your own trigger points better than anyone else – once and for all. Dr. Simons has it exactly right: You must educate yourself about your condition and then apply what you’ve learned. This runs counter to today’s conventional wisdom, which says that whenever we have a health issue, we should find someone to take care of the problem for us.
What I’m saying here is that you need to take responsibility for managing your own care. From time to time, of course, you may find you need help from medical professionals. But even so, the more you know, the better care you’re going to receive. This is naturally going to require some time and effort on your part, but the payoff will be faster with far better results.
About Trigger Points and Referred Pain
It's Probably Not an Injury -- But it Hurts Like One
Trigger points are microscopic areas of stagnation in muscle fibers. They are very common, cause a mysterious and extensive array of pain and other symptoms, and are a mystery to most practitioners. Even though myofascial trigger points have been researched and documented by physicians since the 1940s, they still have not achieved wide acceptance or understanding in the health community. Unfortunately, they are also responsible for the vast majority of pain complaints that people experience.
There are multiple reasons for this lack of attention. In spite of the landmark publication of the 2-volume Trigger Point Manual by two MDs, Janet Travell and David Simons in the 80s and 90s, the science of pain referral is only beginning to be understood with modern advancements in neuroscience, and some medical people are uncomfortable with the "soft science" of pain referral. Recent advances, however have moved the science along dramatically. The clinical evidence is undeniable.
Sadly, trigger point therapy is given short shrift in schools where it should be taught as an important core discipline -- medical, dental, bodywork, massage, physical therapy schools may mention it briefly, but students are left with a feeling that it's just another minor modality.
And it's not a trivial matter to practice trigger point therapy competently. The practitioner needs a solid basis in functional anatomy, be very familiar with locating muscles very specifically and must be able to palpate them for tenderness, know their referral patterns, change the length of the muscle, have effective treatment techniques and have access to a range of reference materials. Many practitioners are poorly trained, incorporate "a little" trigger point therapy in their work, are ineffective, and never realize its full potential.
Basic Trigger Point Physiology
Physiologically, trigger points are very small, microscopic encapsulations within specific muscle fibers that develop when a muscle has been placed under chronic or acute stress that overloads the muscle. Toxic chemicals develop near the area where motor nerves join the muscle fiber, and local edema develops which then prevents the capillaries from providing some essential metabolic activity to the area. The result is that nociceptive, or noxious signals get sent back to the central nervous system, and the body doesn't know how to process this information. The area of the trigger point itself is tender to compression, but the patient wouldn't know this unless they happen to press on it.
Trigger points occur in single muscle fibers, and groups of them tend to cluster in bundles of fibers near the motor endplate, where the motor nerve connects with the muscle. The affected fiber bundle remains in an artificial condition of engagement due to the bio-electric effects of the sensitizing chemicals. These bundles are known as taut fibers and can be clearly palpated as hard, ropy tissues, which harbor tenderness near the center of the fiber.
Trigger point physiology can no longer be dismissed by the medical establishment as "soft science". Researchers are engaged in studies to understand the microcellular processes and compounds that go into trigger point pathophysiology. Of particular note is the work of Dr. Jay P. Shah of the National Institutes of Health, who has been engaged in microdialysis of the chemical environment in the immediate locale of trigger points and has greatly furthered our understanding of referral and the associated phenomena.
A common CNS response in the face of ongoing nociceptive input is for the CNS to up-regulate and get more sensitive - a process that can happen in 15-20 minutes. Soon the patient begins to feel pain in a completely different area, often over joints, sometimes when specific movements are made. This is known as pain referral, and is thought to occur when new synapses are turned on as a protective response. This is due to the CNS perception of potential danger or "injury".
To the patient, the pain is experienced very vividly and convincingly where it's felt, not where the trigger point is located - except in the minority of situations in which the trigger point refers more locally.
Perception Determines Treatment - The Illusion of Injury
Pain referral is very confusing to untrained practitioners. There is actually no tissue damage other than cellular level imbalances and stagnation - and these can easily be addressed without invasive procedures. However, most practitioners will automatically assume that the pain is due to an actual injury. Imaging results will often confirm that something is not normal in the area of the joint, which unfortunately often means very little. This misinterpretation of pain leads to the well-worn treatments that so often fail or make things worse -- icing the area, steroid injections, NSAIDs, and surgery.
Statistically, Drs. Travell & Simons cite several studies showing that the vast majority - in excess of 85% - of pain complaints presenting in pain clinics were due to myofascial trigger points and could easily have been addressed had the practitioners been competently trained in these techniques. This is consistent with the results we get in our clinic. There are very few people that we cannot help dramatically.
Trigger points can be resolved through a number of different approaches. Generally, the trigger point area has to be mechanically or electrically stimulated and proper metabolism restored, and then the muscle needs to be put through full ROM, eventually without pain. Doing this well is a craft and an art, and relatively few therapists are competent at it. It isn't enough to simply press on a tender point and move on, because the body's neurological adaptations over time tend to reduce movement. The system must be re-trained in the experience of pain-free movement, and the positive neuroplastic abilities of the nervous system must be engaged.
Confusing Symptoms Lead to Ineffective Treatments for Pain
The world is slow to change. Pain is an area in which our western medical system doesn't have great success. Many aspects of trigger point-induced symptoms are very confusing for doctors, PTs, chiropractors, massage therapists and others:
Trigger points send their pain the vast majority of time away from the location of the trigger point itself. This means that it is generally useless to "rub it where it hurts". Referred pain frequently occurs over and in joints, setting medical personnel off on a wild goose chase to discover the source of the "injury". Shoulder and knee pain are very common examples of this. Trigger points cause not only pain but chronic muscle shortening, producing postural distortions which then set up secondary issues. Referred sensation is not restricted to pain, but can include tingling, coldness, numbness, weakness, lack of coordination, and jerky movement. It is tempting to explain these phenomena neurologically with theories of nerve impingement at the spine and other areas, but most often this is not the origin of the pain. Typical misdiagnoses might include carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatic nerve impingement, radiculopathy, disc degeneration, and the like. Trigger point referral comes and goes in a confusing manner due to the thresholding nature of referred pain. Satellite referral is a common occurrence in which muscles refer pain to other muscles, which then cause their own referral -- this can go through many levels and even experienced trigger point therapists miss these patterns. When a network of myofascial trigger points is left to develop over time, it generally gets worse and becomes a myofascial pain syndrome. This can mimic a host of systemic conditions, including fibromyalgia, auto-immune diseases, infectious diseases and the like. Over time, the consistent, ongoing nociceptive input from trigger points can cause the nervous system to enter a chronicity phase, in which pain becomes constant and highly resistant to even the most powerful opiate drugs. At this point, pain is a brain response and is unrelated to the original inputs. This can lead to overall decline in quality of life and eventually death.
Experience RebelThaiMassage at the Heart & Soul Bodywork Clinic 707 3rd Street Marble Falls, Texas 830.693.9355
Studies have shown that over 85% of pain complaints presented at clinics are likely to be caused by myofascial trigger points rather than actual tissue damage. Unfortunately, most practitioners tend to interpret pain as a symptom of an injury, leading to ineffective, side-effect-laden treatment approaches like drugs, steroid injections and surgery.
Hydration: I'll tell you how and when to drink adequate water to get your fascia moist and supple.
Anti-inflammation diet. Inflammation = pain. Certain foods trigger inflammation in your fascia, and you’ll learn how to avoid them.
Supplements to support fascial health.
An individually designed stretching program to decompress your spine and release individual contracted areas in the fascia. Far more intense and focused than any stretches you may already know, these unusual, astonishingly effective stretches are designed to release tight, restricted areas by putting long chains of fascia into tension.
Personalized strengthening exercises to lock in the effects of MFT and make your cure permanent.
Simple self-therapy techniques to facilitate the program as a whole.
You’ll use this homework program not just while I treat you but for maintenance, to keep your body pain-free for good.
This may sound odd coming from a professional soft-tissue specialist, but it’s true: I tell everyone they’re their own best therapist, not me. My intention is not just to heal you with my hands but to empower you with the knowledge that you can cure yourself, even if I’m not around. The Mobility Freedom Technique goes beyond my powerful hands-on treatment: it’s a complete healing program that can spare you many unnecessary medications, possibly unnecessary surgery, and a whole lot of misery.
Dr. Gil Hedley