Dr Movement

Body MOT – Muscles & Fascia!

Fascia & Muscles

When most people think of tissues in the body they most commonly think of muscles & not so much the fascia of the system.

The fascia is the connective tissue of the body that is one complete bag from head to toe the integrates & feeds seamlessly into the muscles, bones, tendons & ligaments of the system.

The fascia provides the structure & elasticity of the system – You can actually think of muscles as sacs of cells that exist within the governing structure of the fascia with both systems working together in order to create structure & movement of the body.

In the above image taken from the book Anatomy Trains (Thomas Myers) we can see different “tracks” or “lines” of fascia & muscle that integrate with eachother forming functional kinetic chains of movement throughout the body.

Many pain challenges originate from distorted fascial structure & weakened or inactive muscular systems – often due to inactivity, past injury, surgery, poor diet & mental/emotional challenges.
Your MOT & Upkeep

Keeping the tissues healthy means keeping the fascia & muscles in a good condition through regular maintenance! I will provide a list of activities you can do to keep the tissues healthy followed by an unpacking of each tip;

1. Stretching the muscles & fascia
2. Rolling & trigger point balling the fascia
3. General daily movement
4. Targeted postural strengthening
5. Staying hydrated & bringing hydration into the tissues
6. Providing the right building blocks through good nutrition
7. Resting the tissues for optimum recovery
8. Breathing correctly
9. Manual therapy

1. Stretching the muscles & fascia – Stretching is a key part of keeping the tissues healthy & keeping the biomechanichal balance of the body in a good place. As a general rule tight muscles should be stretched & non tight muscles should be left.

Stretching helps to bring more elasticity into tissues that have hardened through lack of movement (desktop sitting) or through working them hard in the gym.

Think of the body like a bike wheel – if the muscles are spokes & the rim is like the spine if you have some muscles/spokes that are tight & other muscles/spokes that are loose then your bike wheel or spine will be pulled out of alignment – too much of this for too long generally creates wear & tear on the joint, whether its a spine, knee, shoulder etc which is when the Pain Teacher usually shows up!

Stretching daily is a great practice – Even just a few mins on a key stretch will have a profound impact over time within the body.

2. Rolling & trigger point balling the fascia – Using a foam roller & trigger point ball to release & rehydrate fascia is key to a well balanced mobility routine & compliments specific stretching nicely.

Over time through inactivity, stress in the body & dehydration in the tissues the fascia begins to harden. We can use foam rolling & trigger point balling to begin to bring more hydration, pliability & movement back into the tissues.

The more it hurts the more dehydrated & in need the tissues are!

Most people make the mistake of rolling over the foam roller (an easy mistake to make given the name!) Don’t get me wrong, rolling is positive to warm up the tissues & start to move fluid but in my experience to make an impact & change the tissues you need to hold the mobilising device on the tissues for 2 mins+ while hunting for the areas of most pain.

As the tissues release over time you will enjoy more mobility, elasticity & freedom within the body & better fascial & muscular health in the target tissues.

3. General daily movement – The nervous system loves movement! This helps keep the system primed as moving the muscles through ranges of motion walking, running, swimming or in the gym resets the nervous system & keeps issues at bay through keeping the tissues active.

Aim for 30 mins of exercise per day – walking counts!

4. Targeted postural strengthening – Compliments targeted stretching nicely! Generally when one side of the joint, let’s say the chest through sitting at a desk is short & tight it makes the muscles on the back of the joint, in this case the back muscles around the shoulder blade, long & weak.

To maintain good structural integrity stretch the tight muscles of the chest & front of thighs & abdominals & strengthen the back of the joint being the back muscles, hamstring & bum muscles.

Here is a link to video I recorded for my village community detailing some key postural stretches & strengthening exercises; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMcvjXIOpI8&t=5s

5. Staying hydrated & bringing hydration into the tissues – Muscle & fascial function depends massively on the tissues being adequately hydrated as does every single other system in the body! I have seen some pretty wild things happen in people’s bodies as a result of just getting properly hydrated!

Did you know that vertebral disk height largely depends on how hydrated the gel like nucleus is – as we become dehydrated we can lose disk height resulting in less space for the nerves to manoeuvre which can lead to back problems & in some cases even sciatica.

If fascia becomes dehydrated over time it will lose it’s elasticity & go hard which will limit movement by restricting joints & muscles & diminish freedom within the body.

To get adequately hydrated most people will do well from drinking 2.5 – 3.5L of water per day – if this sounds a lot then start slowly. After a few days your body will likely start calling for more water as it recognises that water is now more present so comes out of “camel mode”

Fat cells store water when dehydrated so i’ve seen people lose 4kg in just 2 weeks just from getting properly hydrated!

6. Providing the right building blocks through good nutrition – You are what you eat! If you are eating low quality processed foods then chances are you will be a low quality processed person!

If you have ever cooked an organic chicken vs commercially farmed chicken you will know what I mean – take a leg off the organic chicken & it is quite difficult & you will likely make a mess whereas the commercially farmed chicken tends to just fall apart.

Some injuries are down to poor tissue quality. If the building materials are not strong then the tissues will lack structural integrity & be more prone to damage under load.

We also need good building blocks through nutrition in order to recover from exercise & injury well!

Check out this blog post for some quick fire nutritional strategies for strong tissues & success! https://faenixcoaching.co.uk/nutritioninanutshell/

7. Resting the tissues for optimal recovery – You don’t get stronger in the gym, you get stronger when you rest!

Paying a visit to Dr Quiet is absolutely key for keeping our tissues in good condition. Too much activity or stress/cortisol in the body will have the effect of breaking down the tissues over time as cortisol is catabolic.

This could open the door for further injury & problems & slow recovery if you are coming back from an injury.

Resting is absolutely essential for muscle building – if we are constantly in the gym then we are constantly breaking the tissues down.

In terms of the Tai Chi symbol containing the Yin & Yang – activity & stress is Yang & must be balanced by restful Yin in order to maintain balance – balance is the currency of life!

Most people need around 8 hours of sleep however this can change – I am finding with the onset of winter that I am doing very well with 9 – 9 1/2 hours of sleep which enables me to recover from my training & be vibrant & energetic to see my clients & create my dream on a day to day basis.

Without enough energy creating happiness is difficult! R & R is an essential part of ANY process!

8. Breathing Correctly – Often overlooked when it comes to the tissues but very important! Breathing correctly into the diaphragm/belly sets us up for optimum biomechanics through having an active core throughout the day.

Chest breathing (which is most people) creates postural issues in the neck & shoulders & can even be the root of neck & shoulder pain due to the chest muscles picking up & down several times per day.

Chest breathing also keeps the person in a low level fight or flight response which over tight will create tension in the tissues as well as the mind.

Biomechanically muscles around the hips, core & chest will start getting tight to do the job of what the core is not doing.

Belly breathing helps all of these issues by moving to restore better biomechanics as well as activating a low level “Rest & digest” parasympathetic response which relaxes the system & can have some very deep impacts over time.

9. Manual Therapy – A fantastic means of balancing & regulating the tissues of the fascial & muscular system.

A good manual therapist will be able to identify the key issues within the body & treat with a variety of different techniques designed to mobilise, regulate, calm down or excite key tissues in the body while shaping it towards a place of more optimal alignment in order to create more freedom & better function within the whole body.

I practice a branch of manual therapy which I would describe as a corrective clinical massage technique that works with the different lines of function throughout the fascial system.

The results can be incredibly powerful in short spaces of time. I have used it to effectively treat bodily challenges such as;

  • Sciatica
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Herniated lower back disks
  • Knee issues
  • Elbow issues
  • Postural challenges
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Sports performance
  • Emotional release challenges
  • Running challenges
  • Osgoodslaters disease
  • Spinal instability
  • Atlas (top vertebrae) shifts
  • Forward pelvic tilt
  • Backward pelvic tilt
  • Desktop sitting challenges
  • & many more conditions…
Here is one of my clients who was concerned about his posture after spending a lot of time working on his desk in his job.

He was suffering from back & neck strain & stress due to his work positioning.
We achieved these postural results as well as a pain free neck & back within 5 sessions of manual therapy & a basic corrective exercise plan that he could do quickly in the morning over a period of 4 weeks.

You can see the position of his body has shifted considerably, he is standing a lot straighter, his core is now functioning correctly all of which deloaded the stress on his body caused by his previous posture & got him out of pain & strain.

He even looks like he lost a lot of weight – he was actually a kilo heavier in the second photo – the manual work & exercise had tightened & rehydrated the tissues & muscles giving the appearance of losing a lot of weight & taking a few years off of his body!

If you would like to achieve postural & pain results like these then feel free to get in touch on 07376124981 or click the link below to apply for an Assessment Consultation

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