You might chalk up that morning backache to getting older and your stiff shoulder to years of playing tennis, but what if it’s something more? While a loss of flexibility can happen with age and activity, it can also be caused by restricted fascia.
What Is Fascia?
Fascia is the web-like fibrous tissue that surrounds your muscles, blood vessels, organs and nerves. Elastic and flexible, it acts like the body’s shock absorber, holding structures together and helping them maintain their shape. Fascia also provides lubrication to the areas it covers and permits muscle groups to glide over each other.
Why Is It important–Especially to Active Adults?
While everyone experiences sore muscles from time to time, a restriction of your myofascial membranes – the fascia that surround the muscles – will cause chronic aches and pains. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms include a deep, aching pain in a muscle; a pain that persists or worsens; a tender knot in a muscle (called a trigger point); and difficulty sleeping due to pain.
Restricted fascia can be caused by lack of muscle use as well as by a sports injury, fall or accident. The inflammation that results from these forms of trauma can cause the fascia to tighten, resulting in shortened muscles and a painful, restricted range of motion.
Unlike the temporary discomfort you may feel after a strenuous workout or an uncomfortable night’s sleep, this condition will persist. Left untreated, it can lead to loss of balance, headaches, migraines, pinched nerves, and chronic pain.
What Can You Do to Treat or Prevent Restricted Fascia?
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to improve your wellbeing and overall athletic performance and even prevent the condition. If you already have symptoms of restricted fascia, myofascial release is a specialized massage therapy that will stretch and realign the fascia. The technique eases pressure on the muscles by breaking up constrictions and snags, called adhesions, that can form in the fascia.
According to Whole Health MD, myofascial release therapy is likened “to kneading a piece of taffy … Some people immediately feel better, even free of pain, and are able to move their joints more freely as soon as the session is over. Others feel some increased discomfort that night or the next day. Any soreness should subside within a day or two, however, and you should feel less pain and move more easily than you did before.”
Another option is to perform self-myofascial release. Using a tool, such as a foam roller or tennis ball, break through restrictions by applying pressure on the trigger areas using body weight and gravity. Self-myofascial release can be uncomfortable; the key to doing it successfully is learning where your trigger points and restrictions are and using the tools regularly.
Finally, prevent restricted fascia by avoiding repetitive stress to injured muscles and by engaging in regular muscle therapy, such as that included in the TRIFACTIVE Method™.
Developed at our TRIFACTIVE® Sports Injury + Performance Clinic through years of active research and clinical testing, the proprietary technique stimulates joint proprioceptors (nerve endings responsible for reporting information about joint position to the brain), lengthens muscles through a combination of myofascial and deep tissue massage techniques, and then strengthens those muscles through therapeutic exercises. Athletes, corporate professionals, and active people love the TRIFACTIVE Method™ because it decreases their risk of injuries and keeps them doing what they love.