Let’s debunk some myths –
Do you know why you’re stiff? When you feel stiffness in your body comes as a result of tightness in the muscles. However, the stiffness actually comes from tissues associated with muscles and the rest of our body.
Fascia seems to be a new medical buzzword, but what is it really? Fascia is a type of anatomical connective tissue. Anatomists describe it as, ”the glue that holds everything together”. The tissue is responsible for allowing your muscles and organ systems to physically interact with one another. Without fascia connecting and allowing communication with the muscles of your legs to those of your trunk and upper body, we would not be able to stand, walk, or run.
So, why are you stiff?
The neurological physiology of fascia is the reason we feel stiff. Fascia is highly innervated with sensory nerve receptors. 6 times the amount to be precise. In comparison to all other tissue in the body, aside from our skin. Fascia functions optimally when it is supple enough to slide, glide, and twist with the forces associated with movement. When the fascia becomes less pliable, due to movement dysfunction and injuries, the nerve receptors in the tissue become aggravated leading to a sensation of discomfort, pain and/or stiffness.
As manual practitioners, a great deal of the effect we have on flexibility and movement is due to the hands-on treatment of the musculoskeletal system, most importantly the fascia. Much of the discomfort associated with injuries comes from the changes to fascia and therefore the response must be treatment of this tissue. Foam rolling is one of the best self-care tools to treat the fascia, but that’s for the next conversation…
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