Do you always wake up feeling fabulously flexible? Or do you religiously stretch after exercise, but still feel like your muscles are tight? Your fascinating fascia (or myofascia) could be to blame! Fascia? Let me tell you that your amazing body, you body has a 3D web of tough connective tissue (a bit like Clingfilm), underneath your skin, covering the whole of you, in one continuous piece. Not only do you have this “Clingfilm” in a complete “you” shape, it also surrounds each muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, each organ and each cell in your body.
So what does this fascia do for us?
Fascia supports, stabilises and cushions everything it hugs. It is the separator between each muscle – you may have seen the white “marbling” in a steak, or the thin skin like stuff surrounding a chicken breast – that’s fascia! Are we indeed just one big muscle in a complex 3d fascial network?
How does fascia affect us?
When in a healthy state, our fascia will be hydrated, firm but elastic, allowing a lovely smooth, sliding movement between muscles. If this becomes affected by injury, postural issues, or even dehydration, more layers of “clingfilm” will build up, causing it to thicken, shorten or solidify. This restriction in one area of the body creates tension in the 3D web, which can affect distant parts of the body! So you could be experiencing pain that appears to be unrelated to the original problem. This could be a deep aching pain in a muscle, a pain that persists or deepens, a tender knot in a muscle, or difficulty sleeping due to pain, this can also lead to chronic, long standing back issues, shoulder, hip or any restriction and pain in the body!
How can we treat it?
Using soft tissue manipulation therapy or ‘Myofascial Release’ using a ‘hands-on’ approach, this technique is usually quite a gentle treatment using a variety of stretches and pulls, the fascia will relax, release and become much less solid. This will result in a more flexible, more pain free you!
Can we self treat our fascia?
Yes! KEEP MOVING! Stretching and in particular, yoga, are great ways to keep supple and keep the fascia healthy. Hydration is very important as it helps to keep the fascia gliding beautifully between muscles and structures of the body. Using a foam roller, although not so comfortable for some of us, is another way of helping to release this fascia. This will break down adhesions, lubricate the fascial sheath, ease trigger points, increase blood flow and so increase flexibility and reduce pain. See our website Peagreenphysio.co.uk to see some simple and easy to follow short videos on using foam rollers for main muscle groups!
Book yourself in with me, Lisa Bickell the Sports Massage & Myofascial Therapist here at Pea Green Physio HQ. I will undoubtedly find restricted fascia, trigger points and tight muscles you never knew you had!
Also – EXCITING NEWSFLASH! – We are soon going to be offering classes here at pea green, including Yoga, Pilates and ‘Treat and Prevent’ classes to name but a few! So whether you consider yourself a total beginner, or have done these classes before … we’re looking forward to seeing you here!
Massage prices start at £24
Foam Rollers from £15
Spiky Balls from £6.50