Prince’s Overdose, Pain Relief, Fascia, And How They’re Connected

According to an article in ProHealth, approximately 15,000 Americans die from overdoses of prescription narcotics annually. In Prince’s case, a prescription for Percocet proved his downfall. He obtained the prescription for legitimate hip pain, and apparently suffered with hip pain debilitating enough to eventually result in an overdose of the medicine prescribed for pain relief. Dr. Teitelbaum, the author of the ProHealth story, believes Prince may have died needlessly. Why? Because if he hadn’t been dealing with pain in the first place, he wouldn’t have needed the drugs that eventually stole his life.

According to the article, pain can be effectively eliminated and/or avoided altogether by focusing on muscles and ligaments, which are typically the root of pain. Sadly though, most doctors are woefully untrained to treat pain at its source. Of late, I have personally been exploring the possibility of fascia release for pain relief from chronic headaches, body aches, TMJ, cellulite, and even forward-cross syndrome. Because of this focus, I was intrigued by Dr. Teitelbaum’s point of view.

“The brilliant work by the late Prof. Janet Travell, the godmother of pain management and the White House physician for presidents Kennedy and Johnson, taught us the importance of treating the underlying causes of our muscle’s energy crisis. This included treating the structural issues by releasing the tight muscles, as is done in many forms of bodywork including chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation. In addition, it is necessary to treat the underlying biochemistry to restore adequate energy in the muscles. Our published research showed that by treating with what we call the ‘SHINE Protocol,’ optimizing Sleep, Hormones, Infections, Nutrition, and Exercise as able, 91% of people with fibromyalgia pain improve, usually dramatically. Dr. Travell found that treating these same issues often helped dramatically with muscle pain in general.”

The idea that fascia release and a focus on the muscles and tendons within the body can potentially eliminate some of society’s most pressing chronic pain disorders seems too important to overlook, but somehow it is — at least where traditional medicine is concerned. That’s why I’m conducting my own “human trials,” on myself. But before we get into that, I want to reiterate the fact that I am not a doctor. Nothing I say should be considered medical advice. Anything you try as a result of my experimentation is at your own risk. I also highly encourage you to consult your own physician before trying anything new, as anything new, no matter how mild, does come with its own set of risks.

I began studying fascia and myofascial pain during my search for relief from chronic tension-type headaches. I read all about pressure points, bound fascia, muscle “knots,” and connective tissues and the roles they play in pain relief. What I learned is that fascia is a sheath of fibrous tissue that covers the entire body, under the skin and on top of, as well as through, the muscle. This sheath can become bound and tight, preventing adequate circulation and actually causing pain beyond that of simple muscle soreness.

As I began learning about this stuff, I started tentatively trying fascia-release techniques. As of now, I’m focusing on my neck, shoulders, jawline, and head. I’m doing this because it seems to make sense, especially considering that I started this as a headache-relief journey. What I have learned since starting this process is nothing short of exciting, at least to my nerdy little self. First of all, my TMJ symptoms have dramatically improved. Even the clicking in my jaws is lessened. I am also finding some pain relief from mild carpal tunnel irritation, which is weird, but also proof of the fact that fascia connects everything and impacts the entire body. I have also noted the pleasant side effect of smoother skin on my forehead and around my eyes. Who would have guessed that bound fascia can make the signs of aging more obvious?

Using a small, five prong, manual handheld massage device (it looks like a claw, with rounded ends) I press into my skin and lightly scrub back and forth, working with the direction of the fascia. Basically I comb the fascia out, using a diagram I found online for directional reference. I bear down just enough to cause minor pain. Some areas are more tender than others. I work across my sternum and chest first. Then move into my shoulders, across the back of my shoulders, and then on to my upper arms before moving up into my neck, jawline and finally my face and scalp. I don’t spend very long doing this because, frankly, I’m a busy person. However, I do give it enough time to feel the results as they happen; maybe 15 minutes total.

Has it helped my headaches? Well, I haven’t had one since I started doing this about a week ago. I guess that could be considered a result, but it could also be coincidental, considering that I have continued with my usual “headache prevention routine.” I am inclined to think it’s helpful, because it feels wonderful and it’s almost as though I can feel things loosening up under my skin. Strange, but awesome at the same time. I’d love to hear from you if you’re into fascia release for pain relief. Do you have tips? Criticisms? After all, knowledge is power and I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping to become as powerful as possible.

I can’t lie; I’m excited to try the total body approach to fascia release. There’s research proving it can help reduce the look of cellulite and even help rid the body of excess fat. We shall see. I will continue to report my findings as I walk this journey. Stay tuned to Inquisitr, as I become my own medical guinea pig.

[Photo by BSIP,UIG/Getty Images]