What is Fascia?
Fascia is tough connective tissue that creates a 3-dimensional
web extending without interruption from head to toe. Fascia surrounds and infuses every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, and organ, all the way down to the cellular level.
The fascial system affects every system and function in your body- musculoskeletal, neurological, metabolic, etc. The white, glistening fibers you see when you pull a piece of meat apart or when you pull chicken skin away is fascia.
What is Fascia made of ?
Fascia consists of a complex which has three parts:
1. Elastin fibers - This is the elastic and stretchable part of the complex.
2. Collagen fibers - These fibers are extremely tough and give support to the structure.
3. Ground substance/matrix: A gelatinous like substance that transports metabolic material throughout the body
What does fascia do?
The fascial system generally supports, stabilizes, and cushions. Fascia creates separation between vessels, organs, bones, and muscles. It creates space through which delicate nerves, blood vessels, and fluids can pass.
What are Fascial Restrictions?
In a healthy state, the collagen fibers wrap around the elastic fibers in a relaxed, wavy configuration. Trauma, repetitive motion,
inflammation, or poor posture can cause the fascia to become solidified and shortened. These thickened areas are referred to as a fascial restriction. Fascial restrictions have the capacity of creating up to 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch in a restricted area. That crushing pressure can compromise any physiological system in the body resulting in pain and dysfunction.
The fascia throughout the body is all interconnected like the yarn in a sweater or a complex spider web. A restriction in one area of the body creates tension throughout this web pulling on other distant structures. This explains why some people may have pain that appears unrelated to their original injury. Furthermore, myofascial restrictions do not show up on common standardized tests such as x-rays, MRI, CAT scans, etc.
Fascial restrictions can pull the body out of its normal alignment, compressing joint surfaces and bulging disks, resulting in pain, loss of motion, and weakness.
Info collected from Spine - Health, Mayo Clinic, NIH &
Medterms. Photo credit: art by Dan Beckemeyer