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You may be familiar with the term ‘Fascia’ in relation to a common injury known as ‘Plantar Fasciitis’. However what some people may not know, is that fascia is not only located in the foot but rather, right throughout the body.
Fascia is a strong connective tissue that serves many purposes, mainly compartmentalizing and connecting your muscles forming a body-wide tensional network of fascial continuity (Wilke, J). As with other structures within the body; for example soft tissue, joints and ligaments, fascia can also impact your body and be a source of pain.
For example, lower back pain is a very common complaint that we see every day at CSSM. Injury and subsequent immobility in the area can lead to decreased movement of the thoracolumbar fascia (a term given to the broad, thick diamond-shaped fascia spanning the middle and lower back regions). If this is a chronic problem, adhesions within the fascia can develop leading to long-term issues in the area, meaning that your back may feel ‘stiff and tight’ and therefore be influencing your pain.
Over many years, many physical therapists have started to incorporate assessment and treatment of fascia leading to positive results in terms of symptomatic relief, and injury prevention. You will also be interested to note that some of these techniques can be utilised on a daily basis at home using a foam roller!
A recent study has showed a positive relationship between using the foam roller on the thoracolumbar fascia (Griefahn A, et al). You may be more familiar with the techniques used on your upper back by lying on the roller vertically (along your spine as well) and horizontally, using your legs to push your body back and forth. This in turn will not only help to increase movement in the joints locally, but also reduce tension in the thoracolumbar fascia, therefore having a positive effect throughout the spine.
These treatment principles can also be applied throughout the body with other common conditions such as ‘runner’s knee’, jaw/TMJ pain and more. If you have any questions regarding fascia then do not hesitate to ask your treating practitioner.
Wilke J. 2016, Myofascial Chains Revisited: A Review of Several Suggested Force Transmission Lines from an Evidence-Oriented Perspective with Special Focus on Low Back Stability.
Griefahn A, et Al. 2016, Do Exercises with the Foam Roller have a short impact on the Thoracolumbar Fascia? – A randomized controlled trial
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