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Functional Medicine Explained

Myofascial Chains, Body Instability, and Chiropractic Manipulation

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The body is made up of 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:

  • Organ
  • Blood vessel
  • Bone
  • Nerve fiber
  • Muscle

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, tighten around the muscles, limiting mobility, and causing painful knots to develop.

Symptoms

Symptoms can be felt throughout the body’s myofascial chains, but are often intensified in the lower back and neck. They include:

  • Aching muscle pain
  • Pain that does not stop or worsens and does not ease up
  • Tender knots felt around the muscles
  • Excessive pressure on muscles or joints that present pain
  • Sleep issues from the pain or discomfort
  • Sciatica

Factors

Factors that can cause the fascia to go through adhesion or become sticky/gluey, and wrinkled include:

  • A sedentary lifestyle with limited or no physical activity
  • Overuse/Repetitive movements that overwork a certain area of the body
  • Trauma – automobile accident, work/personal injury
  • Surgery

Overuse, underuse, or acute injury can cause adhesion in:

  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Nerves

It is like having sticky glue in the muscles, causing a reduction in the range of motion and flexibility.

Causes

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 keep 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. An example is individuals with low back pain or sciatica will lean to one side. However, now they are overusing that hip creating a set up for more injuries.

Myofascial Chains

Myofascial chains include the front/anterior, and back/posterior chain. The back connects the following structures:

Back

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.

Chiropractic Treatment

A chiropractor can use a variety of examination and treatment techniques for myofascial pain. A chiropractor trained in differential diagnosis is especially helpful if the pain is felt in one place, but the actual root cause is in another area, specifically going along the myofascial chain. Treatments can include:

  • Massage targeting the affected muscle with the intent of loosening up the tissues to alleviate pain.
  • Myofascial release therapy releases muscle tightness and shortness.
  • Stretches can help lengthen the muscles and relieve tension.

Everybody experiences muscle pain now and again after a hard workout or from 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 be a sign that the body is experiencing myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial pain can lead to chronic pain and can 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.

Chiropractic Pain Relief

Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Blog Post Disclaimer

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*

References

Xiao, Qing-Ming et al. Zhongguo gu shang = China journal of orthopaedics and traumatology vol. 33,10 (2020): 928-32. doi:10.12200/j.issn.1003-0034.2020.10.008

Dr. Alex Jimenez

Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, posture control, health Instruction, functional fitness, and structural conditioning. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility.

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