Fascia is a connective tissue that literally knits us together. It forms a web that binds, supports, connects, and separates all regions of the body – from structures at the surface of the body, to those lying deep in the interior.
When fascia is stressed, it shortens, binds, and becomes restrictive. When your fascia and muscles are out of balance, pain and dysfunction will occur.
We are experts when it comes to fascia. Our therapists are highly trained to address a variety of issues that you may be experiencing as a result of fascial imbalances.
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Fascia is an exceptionally abundant tissue in the body. Its consistency ranges broadly from thin membranes to relatively thick bands. It is literally what holds our bodies together. The primary function of fascial tissue is to provide support, shape, and suspension for the soft tissues of the body. From an orthopedic perspective, the fascia associated with muscle tissue is of primary concern because dysfunction within the fascial system can produce significant movement system problems.
The majority of fascia is highly elastic, but extreme tensile stress can cause fascial tearing or perforation. A tensile stress injury to fascia can cause scar tissue to develop, leading to movement restrictions. Fascial tearing is likely to be painful because fascia is richly innervated.
A significant pathological problem involving fascia occurs when it remains in a shortened position for prolonged periods. While fascial tissue has a great deal of elasticity, it tends to adapt to shortened or elongated positions and adhesions can link adjacent fascial fibers. This fibrous cross‐linking within fascial tissue leads to shortening of the fascia, creating resistance to elongation. It has a viscoelastic property so that when it is over‐stretched, it can recoil to some degree, but not to its original length.
Recent investigation into the fascia’s physiological properties indicates that it may have contractile cells similar to those found in smooth muscle fibers. Presence of contractile cells within the myofascial system would explain its apparent ability to shorten. This also provides a valuable working theory for the effectiveness of fascial treatment methods. Schleip’s research suggests that the low level tangential forces of myofascial treatment techniques actually cause the contractile units in the fascial tissue to decrease their contractions, creating the characteristic tissue release felt by practitioners. With either chronic shortening or over‐lengthening some degree of deformation in fascial tissue can become permanent, which can contribute to postural distortions.
When collagen has formed over an injury, it can bind up other tissues that are nearby creating an adhesion. Adhesions can form within muscle tissue or between muscles in the connective tissue or sheaths. It is common in the hamstrings and can increase the chance of injury and could also limit mobility.