BREAKING THE CHAINS
OF CHRONIC PAIN
TWENTY REASONS WHY FASCIA IS A PRIME SUSPECT IN THE CAUSE OF MUCH
CHRONIC PAIN & CHRONIC ILLNESS
Injuries to the FASCIA occur in several distinct ways. They can be caused by things as diverse as trauma (either a hard blow or getting a joint or limb 'wretched" or stretched), repetitive forces, abnormal posture, or faulty biomechanics, whether primary or via a compensatory response (HERE). Thus, sometimes people can tell me exactly when their injury started (a CAR ACCIDENT, a SPORTS INJURY, a work injury, or even PHYSICAL ABUSE), but just as often, they cannot. Most of the time, answering this question is not critical to clinical success. Either way, sooner or later these folks end up in someone's clinic; and unfortunately, you can't go back in time to undo the damage or prevent the injury in the first place.
No matter what sort of practitioner(s) they have been to, their stories sound almost identical to each other. They have typically had LOTS OF CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS or PT VISITS or both, advanced imaging, and even blood tests. And around this same time, many of these folks have had the joy of meeting at least some of EBM's "BIG FIVE". From there it's on to specialists, who essentially do the very same things. The cost frequently runs into the thousands --- or even tens of thousands of dollars (to see how obnoxious this issue can be, take a look at HARLEY'S STORY). What are these patients usually told? Mostly that there's nothing really wrong with them, and usually that their problem is related more than anything to their age, or the fact that they do hard work, or they're imagining it, or they are depressed, etc. And as people get increasingly desperate for answers, the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND spins faster and faster and faster, creating a vortex that can suck one's bank account dry, while the pain continues to drain the life from both body and soul.
The first question, Why aren't more doctors aware of the problems caused by Fascia?, is easy to answer. Because of the huge impetus on the oxymoronically-named EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE, a patient needs to have their doctor find something visibly / tangibly wrong with them in order for insurance to pay for care (in other words, it must show up on a test). Because in so many cases the medical profession cannot seem to grasp the differences between Functional Problems and Gross Pathology (HERE), they frequently fail to deal with the underlying cause(s) of patient's CHRONIC PAIN, CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASES, and/or AUTOIMMUNE ISSUES (click to see a list of the latter) --- all of which are, as I will begin to show you, intimately related to each other in ways that most of us have never contemplated before.
I would never take DR. ADREW TAYLOR STILL'S position that problems with the Fasica are the root of all sickness and disease. However, 25 years of clinical practice and treating LOTS AND LOTS OF PATIENTS has taught me that as a profession we have gone so far the other way that we are OVERLOOKING THE IMPORTANCE OF FASCIA to the detriment of our patients. This issue becomes even more glaring once you realize that many --- maybe even the majority --- of all doctor visits can be chalked up to something called MUPS.
I don't want to give fascia "mythical" powers, but as a tissue, it's unique because (in no particular order)........
- FASCIA IS THE MOST ABUNDANT CONNECTIVE TISSUE IN THE BODY: HERE
- INJURIES TO FASCIA ARE OVERLOOKED BECAUSE THERE ARE USUALLY NO BLOOD, GUTS, OR OVERT INJURY VISIBLE: HERE or HERE
- NEITHER IS THERE USUALLY ANY COVERT INJURY PRESENT: HERE
- FASCIA IS ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE AND MECHANICALLY-ADVANCED TISSUES IN THE BODY; SO MUCH SO IT PROBABLY NEEDS TO BE REFERRED TO AS AN ORGAN: HERE
- MYOFACIAL MERIDIANS REALLY DO EXIST: HERE
- FASCIA CAN BE, AND OFTEN IS, A PROBLEM IN CHILDREN: HERE
- FASCIAL ADHESION IS A FIBROTIC CONDITION CAUSED BY INFLAMMATION, WHICH ITSELF HAS MANY CAUSES, NOT JUST PHYSICAL INJURY: HERE, HERE, and HERE
- SCAR TISSUE AND FIBROSIS ARE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME THING, OCCURRING COMMONLY IN FASCIA: HERE
- FASCIAL ADHESIONS WILL RARELY SHOW UP WITH MRI: HERE
- HOWEVER, THERE IS NOW A TECHNOLOGY (NOT IN WIDE USE YET) THAT DOES ALLOW FOR IMAGING FASCIA: HERE
- FASCIAL ADHESIONS ARE OFTEN RELATED TO, OR CONFUSED WITH, PROBLEMS IN BOTH TENDONS AND / OR BURSAE: HERE and HERE
- BREAKING THE ADHESION(S) IN FASCIA WILL SOMETIMES CAUSE YOUR PAIN TO MOVE: HERE
- SOMETIMES (CERTAINLY NOT ALWAYS) PROBLEMS WITH THE FASCIA ARE RELATED TO TRIGGER POINTS: HERE and HERE
- FASCIA IS WHAT CONNECTS EVERY PART OF YOU TO EVERY OTHER PART OF YOU: HERE
- ALONG WITH THE GUT'S ENTERIC NERVOUS SYSTEM (HERE), FASCIA ACTS AS YET ANOTHER NERVOUS SYSTEM (HERE) AS WELL AS YOUR SINGLE BIGGEST ORGAN OF PROPRIOCEPTION / MECHANORECEPTION: HERE
- IN MANY WAYS FASCIA ACTS AS AN ENDCOCRINE / NEUROENDOCRINE ORGAN AS WELL: HERE
- "PULLED MUSCLES" ARE USUALLY INJURED FASCIA: HERE
- FASCIAL PAIN IS OFTEN PERCEIVED AS "DEEP" EVEN THOUGH IT IS OFTEN QUITE SUPERFICIAL: HERE
- IF YOU HAVE ALL-OVER FASCIAL ADHESIONS, YOU'D BETTER BE LOOKING FOR A SYSTEMIC CAUSE: HERE ARE YOU TAKING CERTAIN KINDS OF ANTIBIOTICS (HERE)? ARE YOU TAKING STATIN DRUGS (HERE)?
- THERE ARE PEOPLE FAR SMARTER THAN MYSELF WHO BELIEVE THAT PROBLEMS IN FASCIA ARE THE ROOT OF ALL DISEASE AND THAT SCAR TISSUE (FIBROSIS) IS AMERICA'S #1 LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH: HERE and HERE
- TO SOLVE PROBLEMS CAUSED BY FASCIAL ADHESIONS, TREATMENT HAS TO BE ABOVE THE TISSUE'S MECHANICAL THRESHOLD (BREAKING THIS BARRIER IS REFERRED TO AS 'TISSUE DEFORMATION'): HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE
- CRAZY, MIRACULOUS THINGS SOMETIMES HAPPEN AS THE RESULT OF TISSUE REMODELING: HERE
Once you realize that the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the body (HERE) cannot be imaged well even with advanced techniques such as MRI, you can see why there's probably a PERFECT STORM OF CHRONIC PAIN brewing just below the horizon. If your desire is to create an EXIT STRATEGY that could both get you off the Medical Merry-Go-Round and give you your life back, you may have to at least spend some time pondering FASCIA as a culprit. For all of our dozens of posts on fascia, simply go HERE. To see what it may take for you to truly get healthy again, take a look at THIS POST.