Constantly Injured? Here’s the Fix

Why do some people age well and others not so much? Undoubtedly genetics play a role, but the way we care for our bodies can make a big difference in whether we spring into old age or shuffle our way there.

Keeping the spring in our step – having a flexible, resilient, balanced body that is injury resistant – is largely about healthy fascia. Imagine a three dimensional web that wove in and around the skin, bones, internal organs, blood vessels and nerves of your body. If it could be seen apart and separate from all the other tissues, it would look exactly like the shape of your body.

As opposed to bones that are designed to bare weight (compression loading), fascia is designed for tensional loading and behaves as a tensegrity structure.   In other words, elastic tissue (fascia) is strung between solid structures (bones, skin and organs) in a continuous fashion and supports integrity of the body through tension.

The shape and density of fascia vary depending on the functional need. The global fascial net includes loose fascial elements like the superficial fascia and the fascia that runs through and around muscles – called myofascia. Myofascial pain syndromes are common, hard to treat and frequently chronic.

When the global fascia net needs to withstand more force or more tension, the fibers become thicker forming ligaments, tendons, aponeurosis and retinaculum. The global net is continuous flowing between thin and thicker strands. In certain areas such as joint capsules, it is difficult to discern individual fascial elements as they seamlessly flow into each other.

Fascia has a built in system for keeping itself healthy – resident fibroblasts keep the extracellular matrix of the fascia renewed, restored and revitalized. BUT, and this is a big but, these natural construction workers (fibroblasts) require proper movement modalities to stimulate them to work. No movement – no renewal.

Ideally, both movement and manual therapies are applied to facilitate healthy fascia. Mindful coordinated body movements like Pilates and yoga are uniquely suited to fascial restoration. Soft tissue release therapies such as foam rolling help keep fascia hydrated.

Bound water – visualize a liquid crystal that compresses but doesn’t collapse with force – is a large component of the fascia. Toxic substances released from stressed tissue accumulate in the bound water layer. Mechanical compression, like foam rolling, squeezes out bound water and allows fresh water from plasma to flow into the space eliminating toxins and renewing hydration.

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