This leads me into the subject of one of our least talked about tissues in our bodies, the connective tissue,which includes tendons, ligaments, and in particular, the fascial tissue.
Aside from connecting, our fascia surrounds, separates, compartmentalizes, protects, insulates and buffers bones,nerves, muscles, and other tissues. In fact, each individual muscle fiber is sheathed with fascia! Fascia is made up of parallel fibers that transmit tension forces, or, vibrations to nerves. An analogy of this is our own clothing, which has a similar capability. If something or someone should tug on our pant cuff but not directly touch any part of our body, we would still have a fair appreciation of both the location and nature of the stimulus. This is because the tension on the pant cuff is transmitted up the pant leg to the waist where the stimulus is integrated into the nervous system.
In this way, fascial fibers function much as stringed musical instruments do. For example, a guitar or piano works on the principle of vibration. Each string has a specific diameter and tension,and when stimulated, it vibrates at a precise frequency and causes a specific note to play. Just as our ears hear music, our nervous system is interpreting fascial tension input. But, when the piano is “out of tune”, the expected frequency of the notes is usually undesirably changed. This is also the case with a distorted fascial band in which the off-key vibratory frequency is transmitted through the nervous system to the brain where it is deciphered as burning, tightness, pulling, or pain.
There are four different types of fascia and six different distortions that can affect our well being.
I will address these over a couple of articles. What is interesting is that while we all have each type of fascia,we each have differing amounts of them. For instance, a healthy football player will probably have more of one type, than say, a ballet dancer, who will generally be endowed with another.
As one of the most common types of fascial tissue, trigger bands are anatomical injuries to banded (parallel fibers reinforced by perpendicular cross-bands) fascial tissues in which the fibers have become distorted (i.e., twisted, separated, torn, or wrinkled). The associated verbal description by patients is: burning or pulling pain along a linear course, say, along the neck, down the shoulder, into the arm and resembles a Ziploc® bag in that the fibers/bands separate and, if become chronic, can become filled with scar tissue. The goal of treatment in this distorted tissue is to zip up the separation(s) and to iron out the wrinkles by hand or instrument. In a number of circumstances, the other facial distortion types must first have this tissue “cleaned up” first in order to see the optimal results with other fascial, muscular and spinal alterations.
So, bear in mind, that when injuries occur, whether noticeable or not (think of the proverbial frog boiling in water), you may not notice pain yet, but as the off-key vibrations build up and are transmitted to the tipping point of your threshold, your attention will eventually demand a response. The only question is, are you paying attention to those good vibrations?
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