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  • Writer's pictureNashville PT

What Is Fascia?


myofascial release


Fascia – you might have heard the term before, but what exactly is it, and why does it matter? In this blog post, we'll delve into the fascinating world of fascia, exploring its functions, its impact on our bodies, and how physical therapy can help address issues related to fascial dysfunction.


What is Fascia?


Fascia is a complex web of connective tissue that surrounds and permeates every muscle, bone, nerve, and organ in our body. Think of it as a spider-web-like structure that provides support, protection, and structure to our entire body.



Functions of Fascia:


1. Support: Fascia provides structural support to our muscles and organs, helping to maintain their shape and position.


2. Protection: It acts as a protective layer, shielding our internal organs and tissues from external forces and injury.


3. Movement: Fascia allows for smooth and coordinated movement by reducing friction between muscles, enabling them to glide past each other.


4. Communication: It plays a role in transmitting mechanical signals throughout the body, facilitating communication between different parts of the musculoskeletal system.


Contribution to Pain and Dysfunction:


When fascia becomes tight, restricted, or inflamed, it can lead to a range of issues, including:

- Chronic pain

- Limited range of motion

- Muscle stiffness and tension

- Postural imbalances

- Nerve compression

- Reduced flexibility



Treatments for Fascial Dysfunction:


1. Manual Therapy: Techniques such as myofascial release, soft tissue mobilization, and massage therapy can help release fascial restrictions, alleviate tension, and improve mobility.


2. Stretching and Exercise: Targeted stretching and strengthening exercises can help lengthen and strengthen the fascia, promoting better flexibility and function.


3. ELDOA: ELDOA (Étirements Longitudinaux avec Decoaptation Osteo-Articulaire) is a specialized form of exercise designed to create space within the joints and decompress surrounding tissues, including fascia. It can be particularly effective for addressing fascial restrictions and improving overall joint health.

(One of our PT's, Amanda Stephens, has gone to additional specific training for this treatment and can provide it during a session with her)


4. Postural Correction: Addressing underlying postural imbalances and movement patterns can help prevent fascial restrictions from recurring.



How Physical Therapy Can Help:


Physical therapists are experts in assessing and treating fascial dysfunction. Through a comprehensive evaluation, your physical therapist can identify areas of tightness, restriction, or inflammation in your fascia and develop a personalized treatment plan to address your specific needs. This may include a combination of manual therapy techniques, therapeutic exercises, and specialized treatment techniques like ELDOA to restore optimal function and alleviate pain.


Fascia plays a vital role in the health and function of our bodies, and when it becomes dysfunctional, it can lead to a range of issues. Fortunately, physical therapy offers effective solutions for addressing fascial restrictions and restoring optimal movement and function. If you're experiencing pain or dysfunction related to fascial issues, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Nashville Physical Therapy & Performance. Our team of skilled physical therapists is here to help you on your journey to better health and wellness.



References:


1. Schleip, R., & Müller, D. G. (2013). Training principles for fascial connective tissues: Scientific foundation and suggested practical applications. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 17(1), 103–115.

2. Myers, T. W. (2014). Anatomy Trains E-Book: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists. Elsevier Health Sciences.

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