Have you ever heard someone mentioned fascia to you and you were thinking they were talking a different language??
Well you’re not alone… Fascia is connective tissue that surrounds your muscles and structures within your body.
Fascia is made up of Collagen and water, like tendons and ligaments within in the body but it’s job isn’t just to connect bone to bone or bone to muscle…. It’s to connect all structures of the body together.
Fascia doesn’t stretch like muscles but you can lengthen fascia through careful movements and active stretching.
When you restrict your movements or are in a position for a long time your fascia becomes accustomed to that stance…. but…. When you go to move in a different way sometimes you can have tightness or even pain. You can think that maybe your muscles are the ones causing this pain but it could very well be your fascia that needs to change its shape and lengthen.
Having tight fascia can cause inflammation, pain, poor posture, restrictive movements, organ & gland issues and can even be caused by emotional traumas.
So how do you know if your fascia is causing you pain or if it is actually a muscle or joint??
The best way to discern is as you move your fascia will generally start to adjust its shape and the pain will subside but with muscles or joints the more you move the more pain you have. Another way is to apply a heat to the area as heat will encourage the tissues to start to relax. But this isn’t a blanket rule…. The body is an amazing thing and everyone is different which means how and where you feel pain is going to be different to the next person. Fascia doesn’t stop & start like a muscle…it actually extends through the whole system, and there are multiple lines of your connective tissue matrix and each one of these protects and sends energetic messages to different organs & glands that they govern. If a particular line is stuck in a “holding pattern” where inflammation gets trapped in certain areas then the organs and glands can miss out on important info & energy…this can result in not only random pain & stiffness in different areas of the fascia line on different days but also in underperforming associated organs, like the gut for example or the thyroid! And nobody likes an under active thyroid.
There is a lot involved with fascia and we could be going through it all day but this is just a quick background on fascia and how it effects your body and how to discern if your pain is actually being caused from the fascia.
So with all of this what are some things you can do at home to relieve fascia pain??
Apply a heat pack to the area which will encourage the fascia to release and the pain should start reducing.
Some gentle flow movement stretches will help lengthen the fascia and will also help stretch the muscle groups as well. When performing the movements take note of your body and how it feels in each movement pattern… this will give a good indication if it's fascia or muscles as the more you do a movement the easier it should get if it’s fascia. (If you experience any pain that hurts then stop immediately as you can increase the risk of further injuries. )
Try a Foam Roller to roll out your body. Foam rollers are cylinder and you can choose if you want a smooth or one with bumps on it. Each one still rolls out your body just the intensity changes. Plus you can also apply the pressure you would can handle when rolling out your body.
Myofascial Massage which is a session that assists you in releasing the tension and inflammation that is causing your pain. Here at Metamorph Health and Fitness we have MyoFascial Freedom which is an 1 hour session that does exactly what the name says. The session incorporates assisted stretching, trigger points and AMN (Applied Movement Neurology)
So to finish up make sure you stay hydrated… If you become dehydrated your fascia can start to loose its fluidity and become sticky.
To know more about Hydration check out our blog on Hydration and the effects it has on us!