What is Fascia?
The fascial system is an uninterrupted, 3-dimensional web of densely woven connective tissue, whose fibers infuse all tissues of the body including skin, muscle, bone, blood and lymph vessel, nervous tissue/brain, and internal organs. There are even fibers covering each cell body with tendrils reaching within the cell wall.
Fascia may be broken down into 3 components: collagen fibers, which provides tensile strength; Elastin fibers, which provides its elastic quality like a rubber band; and Ground Substance, which is a lubricant, allowing the fibers to glide against each other.
What is the function of the myofascial system?
The myofascial system may be thought of as the system of guy-wires, which provides support and stability, protection, and gives our body its form. This network of fibers is able to withstand 2000 pounds per square inch. Without fascia our bodies would be a puddle of fluid.
What happens when fascia is injured?
Injury to the fascia can occur through direct trauma, inflammation, strain/sprains, chronic poor posture, repetitive stresses, birth, surgeries, and various diseases. When this occurs, new collagen fibers are laid down, and the ground substance (lubricant) solidifies. This results in a thickening of the fascia, decreased flexibility/pliability, and binding of the fascial system. This restriction may act as an "internal tourniquet", which may cause pain and/or diminished the function of the effected tissues/organs.
Because the fascial system is continuous from head to toe, if one area of the body has restrictions, it is like pulling a thread in a sweater-there may be seemingly unrelated symptoms in distal regions of the body from the original injury site.
No, the fascia does not show up on any standard diagnostic testing such as X-rays, MRI's, CAT Scans, or blood tests. For this reason, many people are left undiagnosed, and left suffering from their pain, with no treatment options offered.
Can fascia restrictions be seen through diagnostic testing?
What are the symptoms associated with myofascial restriction?
Symptoms of fascial restriction may include muscle and joint pain, headaches, decreased flexibility/range of motion, diminished function of organs, weakness, tension/trigger points, and asymmetries in the body such as scoliosis.