The term fascia has become extremely trendy of late, and you may have heard personal trainers, athletes, and health professionals talking about it. In this post, we will explore what the fascia exactly is and why it is so important in affecting our ability to move.
The fascial system is a complex 3D system of many different types of tissue including connective tissue, fat tissue, and neurovascular sheaths, and it allows all of the body’s systems to function in an integrated manner. Simply put, it is the stuff between your muscles, bones, nerves, and organs. Interestingly, the fascia is not made up of many several pieces, but is actually one continuous structure that connects you literally from head to toe. In a normal state, the fascia is relaxed and loose, with the ability to stretch and move with your body. When the fascia is behaving normally, you won’t even know it’s there!
But when the body experiences any physical trauma, inflammation, or injury, the fascia can become tense and restricted. In some cases, it will lose its ability to stretch and may even get bound down to the surrounding tissues (which we call fascial adhesions). These fascial restrictions can produce tension and pressure equivalent to 2000 pounds per square inch! Not surprisingly, this will have negative effects on the tissues and pain receptors in the body.
Problems with fascia can lead to decreased range of motion, feeling of tightness in an area, or general increased sensitivity to pain in an area. And because the fascia is one continuous structure, restrictions in one area can manifest as problems and pain somewhere completely different! For example, restrictions to the fascia around the neck and shoulder can cause decreased range of motion, pain or numbness/tingling in the hand.
At Peak Form Physiotherapy, our therapists are trained to assess any restrictions to your fascial system and restore normal movement and function to it using both hands-on manual techniques such as myofascial release or using specialized fascial release tools (also known as instrument assisted soft tissue manipulation). If you are feeling stiff and sore, or are experiencing aches and pains that won’t seem to go away, give us a call and see how our team can help!