Fascia is a network of multi-layered connective tissue, without beginning and end, which encloses everything in the whole body, from muscles and bones, nerve fibers, to organs and cells. This whole body wrapping provides the body a functional structure and an environment that enables to operate in integrated manner. Fascia has 2 main component, the collagen fibers and loose (fluid) connective tissue.
How can fascia generate pain?
Fascia enwraps many strcutures of our body, including the muscles. The connection of fascia and muscle is called myofascia. Myofascia can generate a lot of pain connected to our movement apparatus. People with chronic or non-specific pain, are often those who underwent a lot of therapies but are still in pain. Myofascial therapies like Rolfing or Fascial Manipulation often help to reduce or remove the pain, plus optimize the biomechanics. Most of problem of our movement apparatus are coming from poor biomechanics.
The myofascial pain can categorized into:
A) Alternation in tension
fascia distributes tension in certain directions or so called lines. When we have a densification in the lower limb it create in the line such a tension that it creates pain in the lower back and even in the head (headaches). One can say, not always is the site of pain the cause of the pain
B) Alternation in the macroscopic structures
it changes the fascia directly by thickening. This changes are possible to diagnose via MRI or ultrasound, what can help to precede complication and optimize the therapy or sport training
the gliding ability between layers (f.e. skin and superficial fascia, deep fascia and muscle), this can be diagnosed by professional touch. By losing the gliding ability the fascia gets rigid and can immobilize other elements which travel through the fascia: nerves, blood and lymph vessels, what in the end effects the muscle function.
C) Alternation in the microscopic structures
changes which happen on the cellular level
Fascia in movement coordination and strength
Fascia covers our whole body, including our musculo-skeletal system. It is well know that muscle are the engines of our movement and to do even a simply task like taking found from the plate to our mouth requires multiple muscles work in coherent way. Muscle are a very stretchy organ but what inhibit the muscle of stretch is the fascia, especially fascia with densification in it. Imagine that in movement chain of you upper limb you have 2 to 3 fascial densification, it would quiet dramatically alternate the biomechanics of even the simple task of putting food into your mouth. Now imagine you have chronic 5-6 densification in your upper limb this would literally restrict some of the shoulder joint freedom, of movement. In fascia when there is a restriction on one end it affect the other.
Not only that the fascia is covering all the structure in our body it is also highly innervated tissue and that's why some experts called it the organ of proprioception. Proprioception is the sense of awareness where our body is in space and so it is highly connected to movement. The quality of our proprioception dictates our movement quality. When the fascia gets more thicker and dense it can also restrict the nerve (what can alternate motor, proprioreception or) and alternate the information coming to our brain. This makes a difference and not just for athletes, which carriers depends on high quality movement, but also for people with chronic tremors or spasms, which struggle with daily activities. The brain simply can get a information of better quality from the tissue and so can offer better movement options; what transfers into better life options.