Until recently, fascia tension was rarely considered when trying to determine a source of tension or chronic pain. That’s because many people, including in modern medicine, didn’t know what fascia were until relatively recently.
Today we know that many problems can be linked to the fascia since it plays such a crucial role in stabilising function, transferring force and keeping our musculoskeletal system together. A problem with the fascia can cause soreness or persistent discomfort and can lead to chronic pain if it goes unaddressed.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a web of connective tissue which wraps around internal parts of the body in bands and fuses it all together. It enables muscles to move freely and without friction alongside other structures and can be found beneath the skin, around muscles, nerves, bones, organs, blood vessels and cells.
Fascia bands are made up of collagen primarily, like bones. This gives them a pliable but tough texture allowing them to maintain a balance of elasticity and tension necessary for allowing muscle groups to move while holding everything in place.
Treating Fascia Tension
Our bodies need consistent movement to maintain optimal circulation to the tissues. When the fascia is restricted, so is muscle contraction which is where pain and injury can happen. When we move in familiar patterns, fascia moulds itself and secures into those repeated patterns. This restriction can be transferred to other muscles causing a chain reaction of dysfunction.
For example, sitting at a desk can have the shoulder blades gliding laterally on the rib cage. Repetitive action without releasing and training the fascia back into a retracted position will lead to the shoulder blades locking down into a faulty pattern and affect movement to the neck and arm. Misaligned hips or misfiring muscles in your buttocks can also add to or cause muscles and fascia in the upper body to be restricted.
Here are some fascia stretches you can try, particularly for sedentary workers or people who otherwise spend a lot of time sitting all day:
- Neck stretch – Drop your chin and tilt your head to the opposite shoulder. Use the arm your head is tilting towards to press your head toward your shoulder in the stretch as the resistance helps the fascia release. Tuck the other arm behind your back ensuring it stays reaching across.
- Arm and shoulder stretch - Press one arm up against a door frame at 90 degrees while standing straight with both feet on the floor. Press and hold for 30 seconds once you feel the stretch.
Keep in mind that fascia follows lines of tension so when you engage the fascia in a stretch you should aim to put the body into tension and do deep expansive breathing.
Why Finch Therapy is More Effective
The fascia is three-dimensional meaning it doesn’t just run around the muscles but also through it, connecting muscles throughout the body from head to foot, left to right and also spiralling around. This means that stretching is not the most effective remedy as it cannot re-educate your muscles to switch on and off correctly (firing patterns). For this reason, understanding fascia problems has highlighted the extraordinary power of Finch Therapy as a standalone treatment or combined with a deep tissue massage.
If you need effective treatment for sore muscles or chronic pain in Morningside, find out how the experienced team at Morningside Remedial Therapy can help. Call us today on 0407 756 755 or book an appointment online.