First of all, what is the fascia?
The fascia is a lesser known layer of the human body. Made up of connective tissue (primarily collagen), the fascia encloses and stabilizes all of your organs and muscles while also connecting them. It allows for the free articulation of every part of your body by reducing friction between the muscles and other structures. It is hard to imagine what we would be without the fascia, but it is also not hard to imagine how the fascia causes pain.
When the fascia turns against you
Because the fascia is made of densely wound connective tissue, it is susceptible to tension. In healthy fascia, the tissue is supple, allowing for unrestricted range of motion. Now say that you spend all day sitting- in this position, certain muscles are overcontracted; as your muscles tighten, so to does the fascia. It becomes less pliable and when the sheath of tissue surrounding your muscles becomes rigid, it causes further pressure and tension which exacerbates the severity of pain in your musculature. Primary causes of tension in the fascia include:
- Lack of activity which allows the supple fiber to harden
- Chronic stress causes the fascia to tighten in an attempt to protect the muscles below
- Poor posture cements the position of the fascia into contracted positions
The fascia can cause added pressure of up to 2000 pounds per square inch, which has the potential to cause a lot of pain. The good news is that tension in the fascia is reversible.
Addressing tension in the fascia through myofascial release
Myofascial release focuses on relieving fascial restrictions by stretching and loosening the fascia. This allows the muscles and structures that are effectively trapped below the fascia, to move more freely. The end result is a self-perpetuating cycle of healing that will remove systemic tension and reduce pain. If you are interested in using myofascial release to recover lost range of motion and literally feel more free, give our office in Westwood a call to schedule an appointment today.