A Tidd-bit About Fascia

Today's guest blog post comes from Laura Turner, DPT.

A Tidd-bit about Fascia

My first real grasp on understanding how fascia affects our movement was about 20 years ago. I was experiencing anterior hip pain without a known injury. I tried massaging the area, stretching  and mobilizations to no avail. The pain would not go away.

I took a craniosacral course about six months after the pain started, more for my own education than for pain relief. After having work done on my neck, I stood up from the table and my hip pain was gone! That hip pain has never returned. At that point I realized just how connected our bodies are and how gentle manipulation of our soft tissue we could affect a totally different area of the body.

 /* Style Definitions */
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
    Fascia is that thin layer between the skin and the muscle and runs throughout the body.   Image from Goodhousekeeping.com

Fascia is that thin layer between the skin and the muscle and runs throughout the body.

Image from Goodhousekeeping.com

Fascia is “a thin sheath of fibrous tissue surrounding muscle and organs”. It connects our body from head to toe and has been described as sticky and interwoven like cotton candy, yet strong like a spider web.

Why is it important to know about fascia? When our bodies are healthy and moving well, it helps support that movement and hold us together. Tom Meyers is a manual therapist who has done a lot of work studying the role of fascia and has helped to educate the rest of us on just how important fascial health is. He describes the fascial system by means of tensegrity. Wikipedia defines tensegrity as “ a means of providing a 3 dimensional structure with mechanical stability while under load (either compressive or tensile.”

Myers work has introduced us to the “Anatomy Trains” which are fascial systems that show us how movement is integrated. It explains why my hip got better after working on my neck. It reminds us that while you may have pain in your knee, it is important to also look at how your body is moving as a whole and the actual cause of dysfunction may be in a different location.

After any injury (muscle pulls, fractures, surgery, sprains, etc.) the tensegrity may change and effect our overall movement. Everyday movement or lack of movement can also alter the quality of fascial movement. We become stiff or develop soreness in areas such as our plantar fascia because of repeated stress. When we develop lower back pain through prolonged positions such as sitting, our thoraco-lumbar fascia will change.

Ongoing studies will determine how fascia affects mobility. It is currently thought that while foam rolling can warm our tissues up and create increased blood flow, it may have no long term change on the fascia. We are coming to learn that incorporating isometric exercises and total body movements in a variety of planes are better at changing the integrity of the fascial system.

To learn more about Tom Meyers work on fascia and tensegrity check out his book Anatomy Trains and the website https://www.anatomytrains.com/fascia/

Laura Turner, PT DPT

You can contact Laura at: Lauranicole67@gmail.com