What is the Fascia?

Learn About the Fascia and its Impact on Muscle Movement

The muscles of the head and neck.
The muscles of the head and neck.. Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

The superficial fascia is a soft connective tissue that is located just below the skin. It wraps and connects the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels of the body. Together, muscle and fascia make up what is called the myofascia system.

For various reasons, including disuse, a lack of stretching, or injury issues, the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue can become stuck together. This is called an adhesion, and it results in restricted muscle movement along with pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion.

Myofascial Release for Tight Fascia

Myofascial release is a body work technique that uses gentle, sustained pressure on the soft tissues while applying traction to the fascia. This technique results in softening and lengthening (release) of the fascia, as well as the breaking down of scar tissue or adhesions between skin, muscles and bones.

Fascia Injury Treatment

Injuries to the soft connective tissue, such as the fascia, are common, especially during athletic activity.

A common acronym for the treatment of a fascia, or other soft tissue-related injury, is RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Rest: Getting proper rest is an extremely important aspect of injury recovery, regardless of if the injury occurred to a muscle, tendon, ligament, or bone. Once injured, further activity that stresses the injured area must be stopped until the injury is allowed to recover over a period of time.

Recovery time varies based on the particular injury, but the need for rest following an injury is universal. Be sure to give your body plenty of time to recover following any injury issues.

Ice: Cold contact provides short-term pain relief to an injured area, and also works to limit swelling by reducing the overall amount of blood flow to the injured area of the body.

When applying ice to an injured area, do not apply the ice directly to the skin or body. Instead, wrap the ice in a towel or paper towel before applying. It is suggested that ice is applied to an injured area for 15-20 minutes after an injury occurs, but no longer.

Compression: Compression is also important for post injury treatment. Compression helps to reduce and limit overall swelling. Compression also occasionally works to ease pain. Wrapping an injured area in a bandage is a good way to provide consistent compression to an injured area.

Elevation: Elevating an injured area after an injury occurs can also help to control overall swelling. Elevating is most effective when the injured area of the body is raised above heart level. This helps to control blood flow to the area, and thus reduce swelling.

Also Known As: Myofascia, superficial fascia

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