What Is Fascia?
Fascia, form the latin "band", is a type of connective tissue found throughout the ENTIRE body. It is made of mostly collagen and lies beneath the skin. It attaches to, stabilizes, encloses and separates our muscle from the rest of our body and internal organs. We have different layers of it, typically classified as superficial and deep and it can also have different functions based on where it is located.
Fascia is made up of fibrous connective tissue, similar to ligaments and tendons. The collagen fibres are in a wavy pattern, parallel to the direction of pull. Fascia is flexible, but also great at resisting forces.
Fascia becomes important when it is no longer operating as it should. This can look like loss of stiffness, too much stiffness or a loss in its ability to shear. Inflammation and trauma can cause fibrosis and adhesions, which can make the different tissues difficult to tell apart, impacting how the fascia works.
Healthy fascia has a large amount of water, allowing it to slide appropriately, supporting our movement and activating the receptors (for things like pain, temperature and proprioception) that live in the fascia as well. When this water decreases, which can happen form lack of movement or repetitive loads, the collagen can get sticky and stuck together. This is that adhesion we brought up earlier.
If these adhesions are left alone, we can see decreased flexibility and mobility, and it can also turn into chronic pain.
If fascial adhesions are part of what makes you hurt, there are some things you can do to help!
Hydrate-make sure there's enough water for your fascia
Foam rolling-This can compress and stretch the tissue, which can aid in the hydration of the fascia as well as breaking up the stuck pieces of collagen.
Get treatment-Fascial stretching, massage, chiropractic and even acupuncture are all treatments that can help get your fascia happy and moving again!