While most people understand the concepts of muscles and bones and how they work together to make our bodies strong and mobile, many fail to realize the importance of fascia and how it plays an immensely large role in our bodies’ ability to move and groove. Simply put, fascia is fascia-nating!
You’re protected by fascia, connected by fascia, and quite literally it’s what holds you together – even if you feel like you’re falling apart.
Fascia is the densely woven fibrous tissue throughout your body that has an appearance similar to a spider’s web or a sweater. Fascia covers and interpenetrates every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.
In its healthy state, fascia is smooth and flexible and slides easily, allowing you to move and stretch to your full length in any direction, always returning back to its normal state. But when our bodies get injured, the pliability of the fascia is compromised as well. This injury can come from some sort of trauma such as a car accident or broken bone, but can also be caused due to immobility. Inactivity causes the once elastic fibers to stiffen, and essentially locks the web into place.
When you experience physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted, and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall, car accident, whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture and repetitive stress injuries has cumulative effects on the body. Fascial restrictions can exert excessive pressure causing all kinds of symptoms producing pain, headaches or restriction of motion. Fascial restrictions affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities.
You can keep your fascia healthy and pliable by remembering to MOVE!
Well, aside from a bubble wrap body suit and a very sheltered life, there’s not a whole lot you can do about unexpected trauma. However, you can keep your fascia healthy and pliable by remembering to MOVE!
Motion is lotion, and your fascia needs this lotion in order to glide smoothly over, in-between, and all around your body. It is also important to stay hydrated, and consistently stretch your muscles and your fascia, as well as foam rolling your fascia to loosen up the tissue.
Why do SOL Physical Therapists specialize in Myofascial Release Treatments?
Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. This essential “time element” has to do with the viscous flow and the piezoelectric phenomenon: a low load (gentle pressure) applied slowly will allow a viscoelastic medium (fascia) to elongate.
Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures that do not show up in many of the standard tests (x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.)
The use of Myofascial Release allows us to look at each patient as a unique individual. SOL’s one-on-one therapy sessions are hands-on treatments during which our physical therapists use a multitude of Myofascial Release techniques and movement therapy. We promote independence through education in proper body mechanics and movement, self treatment instruction, enhancement of strength, improved flexibility, and postural and movement awareness. Our bodies are all we have, so we need to feel comfortable in understanding how they work and why they work the way they do.