Tuesday, 17 January 2017

FASCIA and why it’s important to YOU!

DO YOU FEEL ACHY AND SORE BUT DON’T KNOW WHAT’S CAUSED IT? 

Fascia is a sheet of connective tissue made up of dense protein fibres. It weaves through the body like a spider’s web and interlinks with just about EVERYTHING! It helps support your bones, muscles, joints, tendons, nerves, ligaments AND organs! You have 6 times more sensory neurons in fascia than any other tissue of the body (except skin). This webbing helps all the body tissues to communicate with each other, for example, that feeling of needing to stretch in the morning or that feeling when you get out of your chair and need to move about. Ideally, your fascia should be supple, can glide, slide and twist easily like thin sheets of rubber. When something goes wrong, signals from the nerve endings are silent and confused and this is when your brain interprets it as pain or discomfort.
Think of fascia like a sponge, when it dries out it goes hard and inelastic. It can be easily broken with a bit of force, for example, twisting your back and bending at the same time to reach for something under the car seat. You haven’t done this movement in ages so all those stiff fascial tissues are more susceptible to pain and discomfort due to being like that hard sponge. We all need to strive for our fascia to be like the wet, hydrated sponge because it has more resilience and flexibility. You can squeeze it and twist it, but it will not break.

 There is a superficial layer that covers fat, nerves, blood vessels and other connective tissue, then there is deep fascia surrounding muscle, muscle sections and individual cells. When fascia becomes hard and thick, this is when trigger points can develop. Trigger points are extremely sore spots in muscles that send pain to other areas of the body. Trigger points are formed by sudden muscle overload, sustained low-level static contractions, eccentric contraction (when a muscle contracts and stretches at the same time), gross trauma, chronic muscle tension, overuse, or a sustained rapid movement. Examples of this can be holding your phone to your ear for too long, typing quickly on a computer keyboard, sitting at a desk with your head too far forwards, repetitive tasks or movements at work, slipping on ice, falling on your shoulder or hip, or simply increasing volume in a short amount of time working out in the gym.

If you are not quite there and not in need of trigger point therapy yet, here are some TOP TIPS on how to keep your fascia hydrated and well! But if you do want a trigger point therapy session then you can find us here.

 • Drink enough water. For every kg of body weight drink 30ml of water. So a 70kg individual will need 2.1 litres of water a day. If exercising, add 0.5-1.0 litres for every hour of exercise.

• Make sure you MOVE differently every day. Vary your gym routine every 6-8 weeks and try a mixture of physical activity e.g. walking, weight training and cardiovascular fitness. Change the intensity of training too.

• You can’t stretch fascia. Ever tried stretching your IT band? Nope, can’t be done! It takes a lot of force to create a stretch. But you can stretch the muscle that fascia can cling on to. Slowly stretch first thing in the mornings before you get up out of bed (check out this video on loosening your back). Stretching is important to help elongate the muscles, so make sure you do a good muscle stretching routine every day.

 • Go to a foam rolling/ mobility class. Foam rolling is a self- help tool where you can help de-sensitise the fascia and get rid of those low-level aches and pains. Want to book a place on the next foam rolling and mobility class? Click here to find out more about how to book on a class!
Foam rolling and mobility class

• Let the therapist handle it. If you think you don’t have the time to do all these self-help tips to keep your fascia healthy. Let me take care of it for you. You can now book myofascial release sessions for the whole body and get everything treated!

To see what else we can help with - click here.

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