Some days, it may feel easier to just hop on WebMD when you aren’t feeling good or you’ve been unable to get a diagnosis, and diagnosis yourself. In the information age, this may be easy to do, but it doesn’t always mean it’s accurate. There are many variables to getting an accurate chronic pain diagnosis in order to better care for your body. One of the many issues that may come up is concern with your fascia. The fascia in your body can cause a wide variety of pain problems and mobility concerns, and yet, it isn’t often talked about. Much like muscle pain, myofascial pain can be exceptionally uncomfortable, but you don’t have to just wait and suffer. There is plenty you can do to help relieve fascia pain, starting with educating yourself about the issue.
What is fascia?
We often think about our muscular system as many different parts all working together as one system. Fascia is the part of the system that keeps your entire muscular system together. Fascia is a smooth, slippery, and strong casing that surrounds every muscle in your body. It is what keeps your internal organs in place and helps to create stability in the body. Fascia is the webbing that holds all of your bones and muscles in a solid, manageable structure.
What can you do about your fascia?
Because the fascia in your body acts a bit like an emergency break in order to keep your limbs, muscles, and other body parts from overextending themselves, it can be exceptionally difficult if you’ve been genetically blessed with less elastic fascia than most. When your fascia doesn’t want to stretch, this can cause pain. In the same respect, fascia can be overstretched and get micro-tears in it. This can result in conditions such as plantar fasciitis. But this doesn’t mean that you are stuck with what you are given. There are plenty of techniques that can help to stretch and heal your fascia if you face myofascial pain, including many of the following options.
A great option for tight, painful fascia is neuromuscular re-education from your chiropractor or massage therapist. This type of chiropractic care doesn’t involve skeletal manual adjustments, but extended stretching and adjustments for the fascia. For example, if you have pain in your neck from exceptionally tight trapezius muscles, your practitioner will use their hands to press down firmly towards the top of the muscle and then have you shrug up. They will them slide their hand down the muscle as you release your shoulder down. This will be repeated down the length of the entire muscle to help create natural elongation of the fascia.
Physical therapy is an excellent option when it comes to any form of muscle or joint concern. The mantra, “lengthen and strengthen,” is great for both muscles and fascia. However, because of the fascia’s extreme strength, it may take a bit longer to improve any lengthening in the tissue. Physical therapy is best when you have a concern that is isolated to a specific area or region that can be addressed independently.
While acupuncture doesn’t alter the fascia, it’s an excellent pain management option. Acupuncture’s main purpose is to help the body address both pain and inflammation naturally. This process works with your nervous system and alters how your system identifies pain. Whenever you’re working towards a solution for pain, acupuncture can help you to manage it.
Made popular during the Brazil summer Olympics in 2016, cupping is a technique used to help stretch out fascial tissue. Silicone cups are stuck to the skin through suction. A therapist will either allow them to sit and “pull” on the fascia or they will move them along the tender muscles to help elongate the fascia through the skin. Often, this process will make you look like you’ve been attacked by a very large octopus, but can really help your myofascial tissue.
When you hurt, you don’t just have to live with a chronically pulled muscle or vague answers for your pain. It could easily be myofascial pain causing you to hurt. Try some of the above techniques to help you find pain relief, and talk with the specialists at Progressive Health and Rehab today to better your health!