Updated: Dec 15, 2018
When we think of muscles everything seems simple when coming to analysis of pain and movement. Certain movements may cause pain, if we know what muscles are involved in those movements then we surely know what muscles to work on, right? Not so simple.
I used to think muscularly and don’t get me wrong I still do, but the more I learn the more I understand the relevance of the fascial network.
Where is fascia?
Fascia is a sheath of connective tissue that runs over and around our whole body, it houses our nerves, bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons and even our organs. Fascia runs from the top to the bottom of our body in certain pathways.
Fascia and human movement
Imagine a rotating somersalt rotating swiftly in the air, starting from one arm through to the torso, down to the opposite leg in one integrated movement, I know no muscle that connects from one arm down to the opposite leg. Muscles start and stop and if a gymnast moved muscularly in this pattern then they would start and stop with each movement in a robotic fashion, fascia explains complex integrated movements.
Physiology of fascia.
Fascia has multiple layers that lie on top of each other that slide when we create movement, they slide by the signals created within them and the sliding is enabled by the lubricant that lies between the lays of tissue called hyaluronic acid. Over use, operations, scar tissue, injury, cold temperatures, and biomechanical dysfunction can cause fascia to not work correctly.
The fascia has controls centres, which are rich nerve endings that control movements of the tissue, they even send signals to turn muscle spindles telling them to work.
When fascial pathways are faulty all the above cannot work as it’s meant to.
Correction of the fascial network.
I know the fascial network like the back of my hand, the pathways and connections and neurological environments.
When fascia is faulty it becomes densified, the hyaluronic acid particles become viscous and bind together and the sliding system breaks down, mechanoreceptors (pain receptors) become compressed and you feel pain.
Correct assessment from a fascial specialist will produce “feeling” of the densification to the therapist, from the control centres and the patient will give feedback of increased pain and sensitivity. Finding the pathway(s) that are symptomatic to the patient is the key to swift pain correction.
The symptomatic line is then worked on with soft tissue techniques, breaking down the viscous particles of hyaluronic acid, heat and friction break these down within minutes and the sliding system of the given line is restored.
Fascia treatment, how do we know it’s worked?
During assessment we like to have a discomforting movement verification, this movement is then re tested after each 1 to 2 control centres we restore, when we release the right line from our hypothesis we get an instant shift, this then is confirmed with the re testing of our movement verification.
Fascia release after effects and permanent correction.
Once a treatment is complete the first stage or correction has taken place, the before mentioned particle breakdown of the hyaluronic acid. After treatment there is a secondary part of the treatment this is the temporary inflammatory phase, the therapist causes friction and heat to the densified area causing an inflammatory response, lasting approximately 4 days, this will be tender to touch.
Inflammation is the bodies way of healing and post inflammation; your fascia will be left in a better physiological position than pre-treatment, thus bringing potential further results.