Random Pain, Aching, or Soreness? Referred pain? Restricted Range of Motion?
Updated: Nov 7
Consider the body system your basic anatomy book forgot to mention
Having random pain, aching, or soreness?
Is the cause unclear?
Everyone is familiar with pain, or soreness, or aching muscles. Sometimes overworking a muscle causes it. Other times damaging a body component like a bone or organ causes it. But what about pain or discomfort whose cause is not clear? What causes the sensation to travel (referred pain)? What causes a restricted range of motion? Or what causes the discomfort of that common condition we call “aging”? Why do we experience a chronic lack of energy?
Consider Addressing Structural Issues.
You may want to consider structural issues in your body’s largest and most pervasive fundamental system your first anatomy book failed to mention.
Common anatomy books rarely mention one system of the body that is relied upon by all of the other body systems. (Those include the vascular, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems). Yet this essential system is so important, it is one of the first biological components the human embryo creates.
This biological fabric sheet of connective tissue permeates the entire body. Its fabric net envelops every component in a double bag. It connects with continuous fibrous strands, creating a web-work or webbing of connective tissue sheets. These are the main component of our body’s framework.
This webbing is called fascia. Together with the muscles, tendons, and ligaments it permeates, is referred to as our myo-fascial system. (If you sucked out all components but the fascia, you might look like a 3-D web-work of a spider man or spider woman). Fascia has the ability to move (it can shorten or lengthen on its own). It is one of the biggest sensory organs in the human body.
Fascia is the Elastics of our Biotensegrity Framework
Fascia provides the “elastics or cabling”, while bones provide the “struts” of a tensegrity system that together form our body’s framework. That framework shrinks and distorts over time, unless these structural issues are properly addressed. When our framework distorts, all components within that framework become compromised. Just think what happens to the doors and windows of a house if the framework shrinks by only an inch.
The fascial webbing also helps our muscles and other components communicate with each other. This is why you feel the urge to stand up and stretch after sitting in a plane, a car, or at a desk for a long time. Did you ever notice that your cat or dog does the same thing upon waking? That is because fascia starts taking on the shape that our activity (or inactivity) requires. The tissue may become dense, and become “glued down” to form adhesions. Or it may become stiff, sticky, balled up, or twisted. How we “be” in our body affects our fascia, and may cause structural issues.
Another important function of our fascia is to compartmentalize and deliver water to each cell. If you feel and hear something like crinkling paper under your skin, it is probably fascia that is stiff and parched. Collagen fibers making up fascia need to be flexible, supple enough to slide over and under and across various components contained in its web-work.
Most injuries are connective-tissue fascial injuries, and are not muscular. So what can we do to address problems with our fascia?
Drinking enough water is the first requirement for healthy fascia.
Frequent bodywork, like structural integration, is recommended.
Yoga can also be an effective program. Do whole body stretching.
Go slow enough to allow the fascia time to respond.
Varied (non-repetitive) movement is crucial on a daily basis.
Rest enough to get tissue re-hydrated and metabolic waste removed.
Are there any other practices that you might know of?
About the author, Jack Boyd, LMBT:
Jack’s professional career reflects his strong commitment to healthy personal growth and development, as a licensed massage and bodywork therapist, and through other endeavors in teaching, athletic coaching, and personal life coaching with Landmark Education.
FTM 2014 June, “Views of the living Fascia“
Oprah Article, “Feeling Achy? The Body Part You Don’t Know You Have“
Dr. Stephen Hoesley, DC “Taking Care of Fascia: Do’s & Don’ts”
Thomas Myers, “Fascia 101“
Thomas Myers, “How To Have Healthy Fascia“
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