Fascia is one of the newer buzzwords floating around the healthcare world. It’s essentially a stretchy network of fibers that connect, hold, and strengthen our musculoskeletal system. It interacts with every tissue in the body; our muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, and bones. It also has its very own nervous, lymphatic and circulatory supply and plays a role in communication within the body. So overall, you can think of it as a very strong webbing throughout your body that flexes/stretches as you move around, supports all your body’s structures while also giving feedback to the brain about how you’re moving.
Thus, when fascia is restricted and becomes bound, it has an effect on our complete health, affecting not just muscular and skeletal health, but nerve capacity, gland and organ function and our general well being!
Restrictions in Fascia
Fascia can become restricted for various reasons, such as long term incorrect posture, trauma, surgery, repetitive movement… to name just a few.
If it dehydrates, it can become a sticky matted mess of a web. Losing water causes a shortening and hardening (Just like a muscular ‘knot’). As a consequence, extra tension is further placed on attached structures, whether they are joints, organs, or ligaments. As the damage to the fascia combined with dehydration increases, the density of the hardened fascia increases (The ‘knot’ gets bigger).
Restricted fascia can cause aches and pains, imbalances with movement, and stiffness. Restrictions can also come hand-in-hand with trapped nerves, think of a spider web hanging onto a nerve, tugging at it whenever the body moves. It can also affect the efficient flow of blood and lymph, thus slowing down our bodies’ own healing power.
Surgery for example creates scar tissue- which is a restriction. Scar tissue acts as a rigid barrier within the fascial web, compressing nerves/blood vessels, inhibiting movement and restricting a fluid passage way. The result of scar tissue may manifest in physical dysfunction, chronic pain, weakness, or movement restrictions.
Removing Restrictions in Fascia
Myofascial release from your chiropractor, like Active Release Technique (ART) and IASTM aim to remove these restrictions within the body and will help remove scar tissue. The release can be quite profound. Due to the fascia’s immense memory, we can hold restrictions in our body for a long time without knowing. Restoring the fascia back to its flexible and fluid nature can create a huge positive shift both physical and mentally.
Our fascia also requires lots of water and a healthy, well balanced diet. An inflammatory diet and not enough water will affect not only your fascia but as a consequence, your musculoskeletal system, your skin and other organ and gland functioning.
Proper care of our fascia should include a anti-inflammatory diet, plenty of water, hands-on care like chiropractic to address scar tissue and improve your posture, being active, and allowing your body to heal after heavy exercise so that your body can recover.
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