FASCIAL ADHESIONS, FIBROSIS AND SCAR TISSUE
???? WHY SO MUCH INFORMATION ON MY WEBSITE ????
I use the word microscopic because that is exactly what they are; microscopic. In plain English, this means that Scar Tissue / Fibrosis has the potential to be chronic pain's "PERFECT STORM". How so? Because fascia is arguably the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the body. The problem is that you don't necessarily get this vibe when you go to the web. Do a Google search on "Fascia Pain" and other than an article from my sister site over at WordPress --- DESTROY CHRONIC PAIN --- for the most part, what you'll find are tons of articles about "Myofascial Syndrome". Realize that I am not knocking Myofascial Syndromes (TRIGGER POINTS) and have covered this phenomenon extensively. But also realize that for every person with severe trigger points, there are many many more who have Fascial Adhesions, which are rarely if ever dealt with in the peer-reviewed literature --- even though there are brilliant mainstream scientists and physicians who believe that fouled up connective tissues are the starting point for all pain syndromes, sickness, and disease (HERE).
The microscopic tangling of fascia (think HAIR BALL here), which is the most abundant connective tissue in the body, is extremely problematic because it does not show up on tests such as MRI. This means that one of the most potentially pain-sensitive tissues is also one of the body's most abundant, but cannot be seen with our current imaging technology (NO LONGER COMPLETELY TRUE). What does this mean to you, the suffering patient? I showed you a prime example of this yesterday.
Many people go to their doctors believing they must have something horrendously wrong with them because their pain is so bad. The doctor finally orders an MRI, and they are extremely excited because finally someone is going to see how bad their problem really is. In their mind, their doctor is going to gasp with horror, and the MRI will melt down like a faulty nuclear reactor because of the severity of their problem. When the test comes back negative from the radiologist, patients are all too often left in a state of shock.
Furthermore they are both embarrassed and often ridiculed by doctors who tell them that there is nothing really wrong with them except maybe "A BIT OF ARTHRITIS". They are frequently accused of having an addiction to PRESCRIPTION PAIN MEDS. They are humiliated at being accused of malingering for some sort of financial gain (ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS, disability, etc). On top of everything else, they feel trapped on THE MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND because every doctor they go to seems to be stuck in the same old paradigm of tests, drugs, and referrals to specialists who do more of the same. They feel increasingly powerlessness in this situation as they are repeatedly told that their suffering is not real --- it's all in their head. Ah; that's it. Their problem is Depression. Not surprisingly, ANTIDEPRESSANTS are then prescribed.
The failure of modern medicine in this realm has produced mass quantities of fear. Fear to live life because it all causes pain. Fear that you will not be able to hold down your job for much longer. Fear to talk to your spouse because they don't understand what's going on either (all they know is what the doctors have been parroting). This leads to an overriding insecurity that in many ways is like living in your own personal prison. The suffering and loneliness can be terrifying, leaving some to wonder if they would be better off dead.
Dealing with the underlying causes of these sorts of problems must be multi-faceted ---- which does not merely mean the patient needs MORE DRUGS. And while there are any number of approaches, two that are critical include dealing with underlying inflammation and with UNDERLYING SCAR TISSUE. This is because inflammation not only always leads to Scar Tissue (HERE), but can actually hypersensitize chronically injured tissue as well, potentially making it over a thousand times more pain-sensitive than normal tissue (HERE). For instance, a cherry-picked statement from BrainFacts / The Society for Neuroscience (Touch and Pain) put it this way.....
"The sensory fibers that respond to stimuli that damage tissue and can cause pain are called nociceptors. Different nociceptor subsets produce molecules that are responsible for the response to noxious (i.e., painful) thermal, mechanical, or chemical stimulation. Tissue injury also causes the release of numerous chemicals at the site of damage and inflammation. Prostaglandins enhance the sensitivity of receptors to tissue damage and ultimately can induce more intense pain sensations. Prostaglandins also contribute to the clinical condition of allodynia, in which innocuous stimuli can produce pain. Persistent injury can lead to changes in the nervous system that amplify and prolong the 'pain' signal. The result is a state of hypersensitivity in which pain persists and can even be evoked by normally innocuous stimuli. Persistent pain is in many respects a disease of the nervous system, not merely a symptom of some other disease process."
While this last sentence is certainly true (CENTRAL SENSITIZATION), it would pay you to notice how big a deal INFLAMMATION (chemical mediators made by your immune system) really is. Unfortunately, virtually everything our medical community does for pain is based on mopping up excess amounts of these chemicals we collectively refer to as "inflammation" (cytokines, prostaglandins, interleukins, histamines, Nitric Oxide, Substance P, etc, etc, etc). Unfortunately, continually mopping without ever shutting off the source of the overflow (HERE), is an exercise in futility.
It's not that these chemicals are bad in and of themselves. Truth be known, they are an integral part of healing damaged tissues, actually released in response to said damage. The problem is that too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing, with the potential for the inflammation to hypersensitize the nervous system, thus causing the pain to become "learned" or locked into the brain's pathways. It is sort of like riding a bike --- you can't forget how to ride a bike once you know how. This information is not novel or new, and is reinforced by our government (cherry-picked from an NIH article called Pain: Hope Through Research).
"The pain that we perceive when we have an injury alerts us to the potential for tissue damage. Sometimes this protective pain persists after the healing occurs or may even appear when there was no apparent cause. The link between the nervous and immune systems also is important. Cytokines, a group of proteins found in the nervous system, are also part of the immune system—the body's shield for fighting off disease and responding to tissue injury. Cytokines can trigger pain..... even in the absence of injury or damage. This persistent pain is linked to changes in our nervous system, which responds to internal and external change. This phenomenon is known as neuronal plasticity, a process that allows us to learn, remember, and recover from brain injury. Following an injury or disease process, sometimes the nervous system undergoes a structural and functional reorganization that is not a healthy form of plasticity. Long-term, maladaptive changes in both the peripheral and central nervous system can make us hypersensitive to pain and can make pain persist after injuries have healed. This hypersensitivity of the central nervous system is called central sensitization. It is difficult to reverse and makes pain persist beyond its protective role. Chronic pain is now believed to be a chronic disease condition in the same manner as diabetes and asthma."
The thing I want you to notice in this paragraph is the emphasis on inflammation. It's true. DIABETES and ASTHMA are, along with a MYRIAD OF OTHER COMMON HEALTH PROBLEMS, known to be caused by inflammation. And not surprisingly, so is pain. The lesson here is to get out of an inflammatory state and stay in an anti-inflammatory state. The good news for you is that I've already shown you how to effectively start the process (HERE). No, it will not solve every problem for every one of you. And no; I don't even for a moment claim to have the solution for everyone. But for most of you out there, my site is a great starting point (it always amazes me how many people email me but have never read the previous short link concerning solutions).
And if you are wondering whether or not your pain is the result of Central Sensitization or Fascial Adhesion, you're not alone. How do you tell? Although it is often very difficult to tell, if you are complaining of ALL-OVER PAIN, your problem is probably not simply due to Fibrosis. The good thing is that even if your problem is actually Central Sensitization, Scar Tissue Remodeling is not going to make it worse (HERE). And for those who can't get enough, take a look at my post with all 150+ articles I've written on fascia (HERE).