How Myofascial Release Saved Me From A Hysterectomy And Helps Advanced Endometriosis And Adenomyosis Pain
Some of you know that I have stage IV endometriosis and advanced adenomyosis. I am not going to tell my entire endometriosis journey at this time, but what I will say is that I had it under control until 2014, the year I was diagnosed with diffuse adenomyosis which is endometriosis that grows inside the muscle of the uterus. Women who have had a c section delivery or c section surgery are at higher risk for developing adenomyosis. I had a c section laparotomy in 2003 for endometriosis and I believe my doctor spread the endometriosis to the muscle of my uterus. Adenomyosis is very tricky to operate on because it is in the actual muscle of the uterus and the muscle has many layers. It’s much different than scraping the ovaries or fallopian tubes free of endometriosis. The pain from adenomyosis is excruciating. From a pain level of 1 to 10, most women clinically rate it a 10. I was bed ridden half the month from 2014 up until late last year. I had tried everything from the pill, norethindrone, natural progesterone, supplements, mayan abdominal massage, acupuncture, heavy metal detoxes, vaginal ozone therapy, glutathione drips, Korean vaginal steaming and anything else that I read about. Nothing reduced the stabbing, severe pain that I felt during my period. The pain was actually even worse after my period leading up to ovulation. I experienced extreme bloating and pressure on my uterus and bladder, lightheadedness, severe anemia, stabbing, shocking pain in my lower back, hips and legs along with sciatica and nausea. Last spring I finally surrendered and gave up the notion that natural medicine could help me. I needed an intervention. At this time I had been on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet a little less than a year. It helped, but not significantly. The pain felt like it was deep inside my nerves. I scheduled surgery in St Louis with one of the very few doctors in the world who are able to operate on adenomyosis without performing a hysterectomy. The surgery is called the Osada Procedure, developed by the Japanese doctor, Dr Osada. During surgery, the uterus is removed and each layer of the uterine muscle is scraped free of adenomyosis and then the uterus is placed back inside via c section surgery. Only one doctor in the United States performs the surgery. The surgeon made two incisions, one three inch incision over my belly button and a one inch incision on my previous c section scar. I woke up an hour after anesthesia only to be told that I had too much scar tissue from endometriosis and he was unable to perform the operation. I was devastated. He recommended a radical hysterectomy and told me that an estrogen patch was a great drug for me. WAIT….endometriosis and adenomyosis are ESTROGEN DOMINANT DISEASES AND YOU WANT ME TO GO ON AN ESTROGEN PATCH??? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I headed back to the east coast to spend time with my father and sister, as my dad is the person who put me on this holistic path. I told them my only option was a hysterectomy and that I had to surrender. My dad said not so fast. Your sister is going to help you. My sister had recently become certified in myofascial release and she told me this technique was going to save me. I didn’t believe her. But as she began working on my body, my pain levels kept dropping. Not all myofascial release practitioners are created equal. I am not saying this because she is my sister, but Ashley is the absolute best. Myofascial release should feel incredibly intense. If it’s not, its your cue that you’re not working with the right person. I was so afraid to leave Pennsylvania. Who would I find in LA that was as good as my sister?? My sister made me buy a $30 cupping kit in the meantime and taught me how to cup myself, because cupping also releases the fascia. Then I found Tarek at Kinetix365 in Beverly Hills. He has changed my life and he is helping manage the pain so that I have a better quality of life. I see Tarek once a week and his recommendations have significantly improved the pain. For me personally, I tend to clench and sit in the fetal position when I have cramps, especially when I am in bed or the bath. This causes major sciatica. DO NOT sit in the fetal position and DO NOT clench. This restricts the fascia. The most important thing for you to do while you’re sitting in any chair, car or bathtub is to buy a cushion which will relieve some of the pain associated with the lower back and sciatica. It’s also so important to work out with someone who understands endometriosis so that your hips, legs and lower back are not triggered. Karen Lord, an incredible pilates trainer, has helped me tremendously.
The Mayofascial Release concept was first introduced by Andrew Taylor Still, the inventor of osteopathy. Also referred in the industry as MFR, this alternative therapy is used to treat pain by stimulating and relaxing contracted muscles. As well as the improvement of blood and lymphatic circulation. The focus of the technique includes corresponding with Fascia which is a connective tissue made primarily of collagen that is found beneath the skin. This thin, tough and elastic material is attached to different organs and muscles as a means of support and protection. The theory is when the human body becomes burdened with trauma, disease, infectious agents, emotional illness and inactivity, it often results in pain, muscle tension and compromised blood flow.
Since 1979 John F Barnes has been treating people with the MFR technique. According to his practice trauma, inflammatory responses, and surgical procedures often create Myofascial restrictions. He states that these restrictions can produce tension pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures that do not show up in modern testing and imaging. He often refers to the fascia system as a “straight jacket” of pressure that may cause and worsen symptoms such as:
- Headaches/Migraines/TMJ/Cerebral Palsy/Seizures
- Neck & Back pain/Spinal Disc Problems
- Birth injuries/Trauma
- Hip/Pelvic/Knee pain
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction/Vulvodynia
- Neurological Dysfunction
- Fibromyalgia/Carpel tunnel
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Painful Scars/Surgical scars
- Scoliosis/Poor posture
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Mastectomy Pain/Abdominal scarring
- Menstrual problems/Pelvic pain
- Urinary problems
- Problematic Breast Implant/Reduction Scars
- Endometriosis/Painful intercourse/ Infertility Problems
- Sports related pain/Injury
- Pudendal Nerve Entrapment
- Muscle spasms/Pain/Tension
A therapy session with a trained MFR therapist will consist of massaging and stretching different areas of the body fascia as a way of releasing tension. The therapist works to gently relax areas of the fascia by massaging and pulling in opposite directions to produce stretch. Looking for trigger points along the way to reduce overall tension in the broad fascia system. Because the fascia material is lubricated with a gel like substance as a means of protection and resistance of pressure, different MFR techniques are important. When the fascia system is restricted in certain areas, the gel like substance becomes thicker and more viscous. This may require a more aggressive technique similar to that of a deep tissue massage. A skilled MFR practitioner will also be able to identify areas that require less application to avoid creating internal scarring and dysfunction affecting all other structures. A trained therapist will be familiar with these fluid (gel) dynamics as well as its viscosity in order to administer the proper technique. No oils or lotions should be administered to avoid gliding over the skin for identification and feeling of deeper tissue.
Properly administered MFR techniques may have the ability to offer the body relief of many symptoms, pressure and pains. It also has the potential to create tissue reorganization as well as the release of stored emotional trauma through kinesthetic touch. Remember, if one is fit, healthy and physically active, a deeper MFR approach can be appropriate as long as it is not painful. This may be crucial as a means of avoiding aggressive or excessive work by a practitioner or therapy tools to avoid creating further scarring, inflammation and restriction. Using excessive deep tissue force may also create further damage to tissue, it is important to discus concerns with the MFR therapist beforehand to ensure successful treatment.
Some of the MFR treatment benefits may include:
- Reducing back pain and pelvis pain (foundation of the spine).
- Decreases tightness of the spine tissue, chest, neck, arms, legs and reproductive organs.
- Improves tissue and functional mobility.
- Releases pressure with the tightening of connective tissue and associated muscle spasms.
- Eliminates exhaustion, inflammation, pain and tissue dehydration.
- Improves energy, flexibility, posture and mobility.
- Relieves pressure from the Pudendal Nerve which is responsible for the ability to sit, engage in intercourse, and maintain continence.
With that said, Jena's MFR therapist Dr. Tarek Adra at Kinetix365 has been a successful part in her healing journey with pain relief from sciatica and more. Dr. Tarek Adra is a board certified Chiropractor, Acupuncturist with a masters degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Just as health can be multifaceted, it’s healing approach often is as well and Dr. Tarek Adra has developed a unique system of injury classification and personalized treatment protocols.