Ethical Musculoskeletal Therapy and Myofascial Pain Specialists

Myofascial Pain Treatment > Positional Release Technique (PRT)

Positional Release Technique - Brisbane MSK Clinic

What are Positional Release Techniques?

Positional Release Technique Brisbane

Positional Release Technique or (Strain Counterstrain) is a form of myofascial release technique for treating restricted mobility, myofascial pain and spasms. As with many of the advanced soft tissue techniques, Positional Release Technique (PRT) can trace its origins to Osteopathy. At an anatomy and physiology level, the human body consists of a vast array of sensors. These sensors are continually working and sending and receiving information from the brain or other organs. All functions within the human body are continuously monitored, and changes are frequently made to ensure that everything works correctly. Two of the many types of sensors within tissues are muscle spindles and golgi tendon. Muscle spindles detect how much and how fast muscle tissues are stretched and golgi tendon detect muscle tension. The information the body receives from these sensors has relevance for movement and injury prevention.

Painful muscle spasms and PRT

Man recieving trauma falling from horse

Protective muscle spasms usually occur due to injury or the potential for injury and are the body's way of preventing further damage. In many respects, such spasms are similar to a splint or brace and prevent further movement/damage. However, when muscles go into spasms, they restrict mobility and can be very painful. Any other movement then tends to create more spasming and pain, leading to a pain cycle. Such a situation can easily lead to chronic pain, especially if not managed correctly. Hence, muscles can stay in this protective state long after the event that triggered the muscle spasms, and one sees this in an MSK Therapy clinic setting. Muscles spams tend not to respond well to being stretched, which is why the body adapts to avoid pain (see the Tissue Adaptation to activity and injury article). Sadly, there seems to be a view that if something is tight, it only needs stretching. Sometimes people notice some ease from applying a stretch, only to be far worse later and repeat this pattern due to the initial pain relief. However, the body may not respond to further tissue stretch damage instantly, as the speed of inflammation can vary due to the vascular nature of the tissues involved. The stretch may produce some relief due to the endorphins released at the time. Also, there may be a slight reduction in tension, though short-lived.

How do you do Positional Release Therapy?

Positional Release Technique (PRT) or Strain Counterstrain involves positioning protective muscle spasms in a shortened state. It is possible to use the positional release approach in different ways, all of which are essentially a form of ischemic compression technique. A suitably trained practitioner can position the patient and hold the tissues in a shortened state, enabling the release of tissues. Naturally, one tends to find the most comfortable or shortened tissue position to sit or lay in when in pain. Hence, we effectively attempt the positional release technique when in pain, which often produces short-term relief. Muscles that have been in a protective state tend to go back into spasm shortly after being released if they are just released. The full Positional Release Technique (PRT) protocol addresses this situation, provided the practitioner is fully competent in the technique and has excellent anatomy and physiology knowledge. There are occasions where Positional Release Technique (PRT) may be contraindicated treatment approach or not suitable for a patient. Misusing the technique can often worsen symptoms or even create muscle spasms. As with many advanced soft tissue techniques Positional Release Technique (PRT) is also a form of myofascial release, though works differently to other Myofascial Release treatment methods.

Muscles spasms and Chronic Pain relief

man with back and neck muscle spasms

Long-term chronic pain tends to have more than just a physical impact on the person suffering from it, as pain is a "stressor" (see the articles on stress and "stressors"). Not only does chronic pain affect mobility, but it can impact all aspects of health. A lack of mobility can seriously impact our enjoyment of life. Chronic pain is physically, mentally and emotionally draining (see the article on treating Chronic Pain for further details on aspects of such conditions and treatment). These factors all play a part in treating, and some people even have an emotional release when pain is finally relieved. Such a release may involve somebody bursting into tears during or at the end of treatment and not knowing why. Successfully treating long-term pain can produce relief on many levels and not just physical pain.

Myofascial Pain Relief - Treatment and Techniques

Massage and Myotherapy Registrations

Terry brings over 16 years of experience treating in the MSK Therapy field back to Brisbane from the UK. He is highly qualified with relevant education and training spanning from Certificate level through to higher education and a Masters. His training and experience cover many assessment methods, treatment types and soft tissue therapy (STT) skills. Besides the sixteen years of clinical experience, Terry has a further eight years of experience training and working at the highest physical performance levels within the elite British forces environment. He has a personal experience with a range of running injuries and a vast amount of professional treatment experience. He is still an avid distance runner to this day. Such knowledge has proved highly valuable in the treatment of elite-level athletes and members of the public. His ongoing sporting activities, experiences and interests have naturally led to him specialising in human performance and treating trauma and myofascial pain. He also taught as a senior course coach on the first myotherapy course in Brisbane. His skills are now available at the Morningside clinic, where he works as a Myotherapist.