December 17, 2023

Muscle Pain? It May Actually Be Your Fascia

Muscle Pain? It May Actually Be Your Fascia
Excerpts from, Johns Hopkins Medicine Journal
In the pic above, our fascia is the tissue in white. It’s the connective tissue that keeps our muscles moving smoothly, 
our organs in place, and our body functioning as one.
Feeling muscle pain? It might actually be your fascia. This word “fascia” may not be familiar to everyone, but this mysterious tissue plays a vital role in our health and well-being. It’s often referred to as our body’s “hidden web,” connecting everything from muscles and bones to organs and nerves. 
Just like the pith holds an orange together, the fascia plays a crucial role in keeping our bodies running smoothly:

Movement: It allows our muscles to glide smoothly against each other, enabling us to move with ease and flexibility.
Posture: It provides support and structure to our body, helping us maintain proper alignment.
Pain management: Healthy fascia acts as a shock absorber, protecting our body from pain and injury.
Organ function: It surrounds and supports our vital organs, ensuring they can function properly.

Unfortunately, our fascia can become stiff and restricted due to:
Lack of movement and stretching: Sitting for long periods or not exercising enough can cause the fascia to become dehydrated and sticky.
Injury: Trauma or overuse injuries can tear or damage the fascia.
Stress: Chronic stress can lead to an increase in the production of cortisol, a hormone that can stiffen the fascia. 

The following illustrations show some of our fascia’s most common trigger areas that cause soreness or pain:
The good news is that we can take steps to keep our fascia healthy and pain-free with a few key strategies:
  • Keep Moving and Stretching Regular movement, especially activities that involve stretching and rolling, can help to keep the fascia hydrated and flexible. Consider adding stretching exercises most days of the week.
  • Self-massage: Foam rolling and other self-massage techniques can help to break down adhesions and improve blood flow to the fascia.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps to keep the fascia hydrated and supple. Aim to drink eight glasses of water per day.
  • Manage stress: Chronic stress can lead to tension in the fascia. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, MOJO, and spending time in nature.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides the body with the nutrients it needs to produce healthy collagen, a key component of the fascia.
  • Sleep! Sleep is vital for overall health, including the health of our fascia. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Seek professional help: If you are experiencing pain or stiffness that is not responding to self-care, consider consulting a physical therapist or other healthcare professional who specializes in fascial release techniques.

A foam roller is an easy, inexpensive and easy tool to help stretch
and lubricate our muscles and facia at home.

By incorporating these simple steps into our lives, we can keep our fascia healthy and enjoy a pain-free, flexible rockin’ physique long into our senior years.

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