Fascial Dysfunction and Treatment
By Luke Attkins
Diploma of Remedial Massage, Certificate IV of Massage Therapy
Member: AAMT, SCA, CAA, CA.
Fascia is commonly described as a 3D spider’s web that runs underneath a person’s skin and attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and internal organs.
A common problem that arises between fascial tissues is adhesions that are caused by the shortening and tightness of the muscular units that surround that area. Fascia that surrounds muscle compartments or is in broad superficial sheets has a tendency to shorten in areas of stress, causing problems in mobility and joint function.
Professor Vladimir Janda, characterised myofascial dysfunction into two categories; upper cross and lower cross syndrome. These two syndromes are classified as postural syndromes causing shortening and weakening of specific muscles, leading to postural dysfunction.
Upper-cross syndrome is described as rounding of the shoulders and forward carrying of the head. This postural syndrome shows the tightening and shortening of the pectoralis muscles and upper trapezius whilst simultaneously weakening the rhomboids (middle trapezius).
In lower-cross syndrome postural signs are anterior pelvic tilt and accentuated lordosis of the lumbar spine. This is caused by the tightening and shortening of these muscles: hip flexors, tensor fasciae latae (thigh) and erector spinae group whilst simultaneously weakening the abdominal and gluteal muscles.
Things that are associated with these two postural syndromes can lead to chronic pain through the back, legs, neck, shoulders, and chest and if left untreated it can start to affect the diaphragm causing problems with breathing.
Myofascial release (MFR) is a physical therapy technique that involves applying gentle pressure into the connective fascial tissue releasing muscular shortness and tightness which in turn helps eliminate pain and help with restoring motion.
Techniques that are used in the release of fascial tissue are: skin rolling, fascial stretching, and fascial separation (lifting and rolling of the muscles). The benefits of this treatment are diverse. Direct bodily effects can help improve flexibility, function, ongoing back, neck, shoulder, hip or any type of pain that is affecting an area containing soft tissue. MFR is commonly used as an approach to work with tissue-based restrictions and their two-way interactions with movement and posture.
This style of treatment usually goes for 30-60 minutes a session. Recommended amounts of treatment sessions are 4-6 but that may vary across the board as each person responds differently to treatment.
If this sounds like something you may be suffering from or are finding hard to correct, give us a call and book in with Luke Attkins as he is trained in MFR treatment.