FOCUS ON PAIN: WHAT DOES FASCIAL RESTRICTION HAVE TO DO WITH MY PAIN?
What is Fascial Restriction?
Think about one of those net bags in the grocery store that holds fragile fruits and vegetables. That gives you an idea of what the body’s fascial system is.
It’s not the muscles or the internal organs. It is the woven web that holds these in place, just like the net bag holds the fruit.
Now, think about taking the bag home. Let’s imagine while you are putting away your groceries, you knock the bag off the counter and onto the floor. Your tomatoes or apricots will still be in the bag, but they will be damaged.
In the same way, your muscles or organs may be injured, but your fascial system will hold them in place. The fascial system is very strong. It has been attributed with up to 2000 pounds of tensile strength. You could be in a bad collision and, like the tomatoes or apricots, your liver could suffer damage, but it will be remain in the net bag of the fascial system, unless you also suffer a severe laceration in that area.
Sometimes your body’s net bag suffers damage. Imagine taking a section of the fruit net and stretching it, so the fruits can no longer move freely in the bag. That is similar to the kind of damage that becomes fascial restriction. Are you wondering how something with 2000 pounds of tensile strength can be damaged? Well, you’d be surprised to know you are the one who does the damage.
How Does Fascial Restriction Occur?
Remember when your mom used to tell you to stand up straight? Though she didn’t realize it at the time, she was helping you train your fascial system. From day one, your fascial system is learning about you. As you sleep, walk and sit, your fascial system is learning your posture, your gait and your favorite positions. It works as an integral part of your body to make you who you are. It develops a memory of the movements and positions you prefer, in the same way as your brain and your muscles do.
If you never sprained an ankle or broke a bone or slept the “wrong” way, you and your fascial system would live in perfect harmony, but that’s not life – is it? Most of us do strain or break or damage something somewhere along the way. When we do, then our fascial system tries to help. It holds the muscle in place when we strain it and then when we start walking funny to accommodate our sore muscle, the fascial system pays attention and starts learning the new patterns. It learns them so well, that once the muscle is healed, the fascial system clings to the new pattern you have created.
So, What Do I Do?
There are ways to combat this restriction. Perhaps your doctor will give you pain medicine so you can continue to walk in your old pattern while the muscle heals. Or if the restriction has not been too severe for too long, a technique like yoga may strengthen the muscle and retrain the fascial system. The problem is, the restriction doesn’t automatically disappear just because the muscle has healed. The restriction itself, which helped you to heal, can now be the source of your pain.
When the doctor declares you are healed, but you still hurt, it might be a fascial restriction. The doctor won’t be able to see it on a x-ray or an MRI, but a Medical Massage Practioner, like Dwight Tinney, is trained to identify the restriction. You are not crazy and it is not all in your head. You do hurt and more importantly, we might be able to address the pain with massage and perhaps some therapeutic exercises, which because of his certifications with NASM (National Association of Sports Medicine), Dwight can also recommend to you.
Every pain you encounter will not be related to the fascial system, but if your pain is a fascial restriction, there is a good chance DFW Medical Massage can help you find relief. Call us today at 903-456-5712.