Physiological bases of fascia release and mobilization

Fascia surrounds each muscle, hosts pathways for nerves and blood vessels, participates in a nutritional supply and gas exchange and provides support for muscles when they are under a significant load. For example, when a biceps constricts, flexes forearm or lifts weight, fascia supports biceps action by sharing the load. Still, it is connective tissue; fibers cannot constrict. The physiology of movement relies on a constriction of muscles. Flexion, extension, stabilizations are the results of muscular constrictions. Muscles cannot relax by themselves. At the time of the movement relaxation in muscles happening due to action of antagonism.

Due to the negative effects of stress, physical activities, irritation of spinal nerves, etc., muscles can build tension. Tention expressed in the shortening of muscles. When muscles build up tension and especially pathological tension, massage techniques especially kneading, can stimulate the decrease of muscular tension while passive stretching can affect buildups of tension in muscles.

However, kneading and passive stretching have no effect on abnormally tense fascia. Being a connective tissue, fascia has no blood vessels anatomical structure. Of course, cells of connective tissue need blood supply like any other cell in our body. Blood vessels in neighboring muscles, release these supplies, and connective tissue cell membrane allowed to this supply in. This process is called diffusion. When muscles build up tension, blood vessels also constrict, thus making insufficient blood supply, to the fascia. If the insufficient blood supply to the fascia lasts a long time, it leads to tension build up in fascia. This tension is not the result of fibers shortening (as fascia fibers have no potential to constrict) but is the result of wrinkle- like buildup of tension.

To successfully stretch fascia, one needs to pull tense fascia in different directions mechanically. Without releasing buildups of tension in the fascia, it is impossible to sustain normal resting tone in muscles, to prevent reactivation, recurrence of trigger points, etc. In turn, it makes it impossible to help people who suffer from different painful skeletal muscular disorders.

The inhibition of pain doesn’t imply adequate rehabilitation and sustainable results. Failure to achieve sustainable results would lead to pathology, including faster developments of osteoarthritis, and other degenerative diseases such as tendinosis, developments of muscular syndromes, etc. Besides, even if the pain is inhibited, one shouldn’t expect that the patient will be free of pain, no flare-ups, and patient’s desirable functional abilities will be restored.

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