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Fascia and how it causes pain and discomfort

By Tracy Dye

Everyone experiences aches and pains from time to time. Sometimes the cause of this pain can be relatively straightforward — muscle soreness after an intense workout, migraines or recovery from surgery. But other ailments tend to be more elusive. Maybe you’ve developed a stiffness in your neck that causes you discomfort throughout the day, or muscle knots in your upper and lower back have you contemplating a massage. The culprit for these mystery aches and pains could be fascia.

Although the tissue hasn’t been widely discussed as a source of malaise in the medical community until the past decade, fascia plays a sensitive role in nearly every part of our bodies.

When fascia is healthy, your muscles and joints feel loose and flexible, but over time tears can occur, leaving you knotted up, tense and longing for relief.

So how do you deal with unhealthy fascia? This series will offer several ways to ease the pain.

What is fascia?

One reason that fascia can often be difficult to describe or diagnose is because its role is all-encompassing.

Fascia is a network of connective tissue that resembles a spider web and permeates all structures of the body. Every muscle is wrapped in a layer of fascia. The fibrous tissue has several functions in the body, which include:

  • Reducing friction caused by muscular force
  • Supporting, protecting and separating muscles from internal organ systems
  • Enabling the body to move flexibly, safely and with support

Along with being a means of support and protection, fascia is extremely sensitive and can be susceptible to injury.  

When does fascia become painful?

In order to function properly, fascia needs to be supple and smooth to glide over muscles. Tears can form in fascia over time, which lead to adhesions — bands of stiff, painful tissue that have a knot-like feeling. There are several reasons adhesions can develop:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Working at a job that requires long hours at a desk or in front of a computer
  • Injury
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Overexertion

Regardless of the cause, there are several steps you can take to restore your fascia to a healthy, pliable state.
Click here to read part two.  

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