The body comprises muscles and fascia that can be thought of as myofascial chains or linked muscular tissue systems. When the fascia is healthy, it is smooth and flexible. The fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that envelopes and holds each:
The tissue provides and supports the body’s internal structure. However, the fascia is also made up of nerves that can be as sensitive as the skin. Stress, injury, strain, overuse, etc., can cause it to tighten up. The fascia can appear as a large sheet of tissue. But it is made up of multiple layers with hyaluronan fluid that lubricates and increases the elasticity of the surfaces. It is made to stretch with movement. It can dehydrate and tighten around the muscles, limiting mobility and causing painful knots to develop.
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Symptoms can be felt throughout the body’s myofascial chains but often intensify in the lower back and neck. They include:
Factors that can cause the fascia to go through adhesion or become sticky/gluey, and wrinkled include:
Overuse, underuse, or acute injury can cause adhesion in:
It is like having sticky glue in the muscles, causing a reduction in the range of motion and flexibility.
Pain can be generated from the skeletal muscle or connective tissues being held down by tight or tightening fascia. The pain can also come from damaged myofascial tissue. This can happen where muscle fibers contract causing restriction, specifically at a trigger point. Or a muscle contraction can block proper blood flow to the structures, which keeps the contraction process going until the area is treated.
Tissue tightness that restricts movement or pulls the body out of alignment. This will cause an individual to favor the side of the body that is not hurting. For example, individuals with low back pain or sciatica will lean to one side. However, they are overusing that hip, creating a setup for more injuries.
Myofascial chains include the front/anterior and back/posterior chains. The back connects the following structures:
Force can be transmitted along the chain between the lat, the lumbar fascia, and the glute max. For example, tight lats can limit shoulder motion and cause impingement.
A chiropractor can use various examination and treatment techniques for myofascial pain. A chiropractor trained in the differential diagnosis is especially helpful if the pain is felt in one place. Still, the actual root cause is in another area, specifically going along the myofascial chain. Treatments can include:
Everybody experiences muscle pain now and again after a hard workout or work involving movements the body is not used to. The muscles need time to heal for the pain to go away. This is usually a few days. However, in some cases, the muscles never stop hurting and can start to hurt more intensely.
Individuals initially think this is normal, especially if continuing to work out or engage in strenuous movements while the muscles are healing. This pain is not normal and could signify that the body is experiencing myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial pain can lead to chronic pain and cause an individual’s quality of life to decline. Fortunately, chiropractic manipulation can help with instability relieving low back pain symptoms and improving lumbar function.
Xiao, Qing-Ming, et al. Zhongguo gu Shang = China journal of orthopedics and traumatology vol. 33,10 (2020): 928-32. doi:10.12200/j.issn.1003-0034.2020.10.008
The information herein on "Myofascial Chains, Body Instability, and Chiropractic Manipulation" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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