Pain & Fascia
by Ashley Black
Have you ever had a massage, adjustment, acupuncture, steroid shot, or therapy session that gave you temporary relief, only to have the pain reoccur or manifest somewhere else? When we understand fascia’s role in the human body and how it interplays with every single structure, system, and movement, we begin to understand the root cause of pain.
When fascia is tight and distorted it can pull, jam, and compress the surrounding nerves, muscles, bones, joints, skin, and blood vessels, causing misalignment, imbalances, pain, and dysfunction. Studies show tension in one structure, such as the knee, can cause tension or issues in adjacent structures, such as the hip or ankle, because the lines of fascia run all throughout the body like sheets of Ace® Bandages (see page 37 of The Cellulite Myth). Here is original research that studied fascial manipulation (such as the FasciaBlaster®) and treatment of low back pain.
For instance, if the fascia is tight between two segments of the spine, it can pull the joints closer together and blow out a disc. If the fascia that covers the knee is dysfunctional, then it can torque the knee causing stress on the tendon or issues like tendonitis. If the fascia between the hamstring, quad, and IT Band is stuck together, then you can have tight IT Bands. The fascia can recoil on the bottom of the feet causing Plantar Fasciitis. Anything that you may have been diagnosed with that is “frozen” is held frozen by adhesed fascia. These are just a few examples of how fascia can be a root cause of the pain most of us have experienced at one point or another. This is directly proven in this research article that explains how performing myofascial therapy such as the FasciaBlaster® reverses the thickening and tightening of the fascia that can lead to issues up and down the kinematic chain.
We now know the fascial system is connected to the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), and thus the parasympathetic (rest and digest) and the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) responses. Some of the worst pain can be caused when the ANS is triggered. The body can recoil all over, causing sets of symptoms to be diagnosed as fibromyalgia or mixed connective tissue disease. There are all kinds of “diagnoses” for real pain issues that no drugs or surgeries can cure.
This research article directly connects the peripheral nervous system (PNS) with the fascial system. The article states that in order for the nervous system to effectively provide motor and sensory transmission (pain, stretch, and tension), it has to be connected to the body’s fascia system – specifically in between the superficial and deep layers of muscle fibers. Protection comes in the form of fascial recoil, which causes the neurological state of “fight or flight”. Fight or flight is very dangerous because it can lead to full on fascial LOCKDOWN, and it’s difficult to get the body out of the vicious cycle.
To summarize, the Autonomic Nervous System (the part of the nervous system that controls bodily functions not directed by conscious thought – i.e. breathing, heartbeat, etc.) is directly connected and has innervation with the fascial system. Therefore, making changes to the fascia on a celular level (via the FasciaBlaster® and manual therapy) can cause changes in the ANS, and thus changes to pain sensitivities.
Ashley Black’s Perspective:
I believe healthy fascia is a key to anti-aging, staying pain and injury free, and optimizing your performance.
If you haven’t heard my backstory yet, in a nutshell, I was born with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, then contracted a bone-eating bacteria which resulted in multiple surgeries including a hip replacement, and left me debilitated and on prescription pain meds. My scar tissue was so severe that my entire body wanted to collapse into my right hip and I was in a constant state of “fight or flight”. I never intended to study fascia or invent the solution for cellulite, I was just trying to fix myself. I had no vantage point to think any other way than “This is not OK! How am I going to fix it?”
I began studying every form of medicine and researching both known and unexplored techniques to take a holistic approach to healing my body. After discovering that fascial recoil was the root cause of my structural limitations, I developed a unique combination of manual fascia treatment, internal stretching, and activation techniques to rehabilitate myself.
My methods soon caught the attention of some of the world’s top pro athletes, celebrities, and royals who were flying in from all over the world for fascia treatment so they could live pain-free and function at a higher level. It was then I understood fascial recoil can be the root cause of most orthopedic and neurological pain issues.
The FasciaBlaster® is a self-treatment tool designed to help break up fascial adhesions and restore healthy fascia. With consistent use, users can expect relief from pain, tension, and restriction.
Here is a tutorial for using the FasciaBlaster® to disarm and desensitize the nervous system, allowing you to ease into the treatment and restore healthy fascia.
Visit the Tutorials page for more FasciaBlaster® tutorials!