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MYOFASCIAL: a fascial understanding of chronic pain.

Fascia is the main connective tissue in the body. It is a head to toe, inside to out interwoven system of fibrous tissue which helps provide a framework to support and protect individual muscle groups, organs, blood vessels and nerves. It envelopes and penetrates many structures thus allowing smooth gliding against one another. It also enables us to perform functional activities such as getting from sitting to standing, walk and jump.

In its healthy state fascia moves smoothly to distribute tension and maintain balance in the body. When there are fascial adhesions, due to surgery and scar tissue, overuse and underuse, posture and stress, there may be poor blood flow, weaker nerve impulses, limited range of movement and poor movement. Distortions in fascia can pull and compress the body into malalignment and fascial tension in one area can affect adjacent structures. Nerves can be compressed by tight fascia which can contribute to sensory and motor changes, what we feel and how we move. The fascia facilitates the blood flow around our bodies. Veins and arteries may be constricted reducing blood flow if there is tightness within the fascia thus reducing oxygen and nutrients needed by the cells within your body. This includes the skin. If there is reduced blood supply to the skin, the elastin and collagen, 2 essential proteins needed to maintain healthy skin, will have a reduction in blood which will reduce cell turnover. This may lead to, amongst other things, reduced healing of scars and poor skin condition and tone.

We all do little things on a day to day basis that can have a negative impact on our fascia. Walking, standing or sitting in a poor way may cause microtrauma in the body for which the fascia has to compensate. Fascia is protective by nature and it will adhere to protect or compensate for imbalances. An old injury that never healed properly can cause your fascia to compensate and work harder to make up for the imbalance. This will potentially cause the fascia to become more and more distorted and cause further problems.

 

Source:

TalkBack Autumn 2018

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article 

https://www.spine-health.com/glossary/myofascial-pain 

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