You're muscles are tight, you can't move the way you want to, and now you know that a big reason for this is how your fascia is interacting with your muscles and other bodily systems.
Here are some of the different methods that are commonly used to create better movement throughout our fascial systems.
Foam Rolling and Self Release
This is one of the easiest ways for us to engage in fascial release. The key here is the quality of rolling and self-release that we engage in. One of the biggest struggles for people is that this isn't a comfortable practice to engage in. There will need to be some level of discomfort involved if you're going to release a spot that is bound-up or adhered to some of the tissues beneath. And the second part of that equation is that it takes some time. Most people will roll a particular area for about 30 seconds and then move on, sometimes even quicker if it is a tight or painful area. In reality we want to spend approximately 2-3 minutes focusing on one muscle, movement pattern or joint. The good news is, this is one of the cheapest ways to create change and once you have learned the skills you can use it as preventive therapy for future injuries and to help address movement inefficiencies. Here are a few specific releases that you can use.
*Releasing the quad can reduce the tension over the kneecap and in turn can often positively impact knee pain. Here's a link to a short video of the roll.*
*Rotation around the shoulder is affected by a host of muscles. Pinning the ball on the back, outside portion of the shoulder will allow us to address a few of these tissues at one time.*
Dry needling is a very effective way to get an near-immediate release in a tight muscle. It starts with a certified therapist doing a careful assessment of the area in question. Then the therapist will palpate to find the adhesion or trigger point and begin to treat. The needle that is used is a very small needle, normally the patient will only feel a slight prick upon entry. The needle goes directly into the muscle and is actively moved around by the therapist in order to create a muscle twitch or contraction. A quick contraction in the muscle belly then causes the reflex relaxation of the muscle, leading to a decrease in tension and better mobility at the affected joints. It can produce a slight discomfort during the contraction and a muscle "soreness" afterwards that can last for 24 hours. Overall the needles can affect significant change in a relatively quick treatment period compared to massage or self care. To find out more about dry needling, click here.
Deep Tissue Massage
This technique is a type of massage aimed at breaking up adhesions and the "knots"that cause us discomfort. There are a few particular techniques that the therapist can apply during a deep tissue massage:
Friction: Pressure applied across the grain of the muscle fibres to release adhesions and realign the muscle fibers.
Stripping: Deep, gliding pressure along the length of the muscle fibres, using the elbow, forearm, knuckles, or thumbs.
This deep pressure method can play a key role in restoring movement, increasing blood flow and allowing for our bodies to return to proper alignment. At times deep tissue work can feel uncomfortable, but a well trained therapist is able to adeptly find the areas of greatest need and treat within a safe and tolerable limit.
Fascial stretching can come in a few different forms. There is band assisted stretching which focuses on the fascia but also tries to create the space around the joint or joint capsule. The distraction technique using the bands can be used before exercise in order to create more
range of motion around the joints. This will allow us to access positions during movement and work the muscle fibres through a full range of motion. Without creating this extra space we are unable to fully access these tissues.
There is also a Fascial Stretch Therapy that has become more popular in recent years. It is a stretch technique that focuses heavily on breathing, PNF (contract release), and both active and passive movements by the client. It can be effective and often feels very good however as it is not a regulated technique you need to ensure the quality of your practitioner.
So What's Next?
If all of these options are available to you which one should you choose. The answer is often dependent on your situation but our recommendation is normally to begin with guidance. Truly understanding how your fascial systems interact, what is safe and what is too much, and how to maintain the systems long-term health. Here are some of the options that Elevate can offer to help start you on your way.
1. If you have areas of restriction that are causing pain or discomfort, book an appointment with our physiotherapist Nelson Morela to go through a thorough assessment and receive skilled dry needling therapy if applicable.
2. For long-term health and maintenance you can sign-up for our Optimal Kinetic Mobility class. It's 2 hours of instruction on how to roll, using the roller and a ball, in order to maintain the fascial systems and self-address any minor concerns. You will learn key principles that allow you to safely and instantly impact your mobility.
3. Use massage therapy to address any areas of immediate concern but also as a check-up to find areas that are becoming restricted without knowing it. It is easy to have these tight areas develop without being aware of it, if we aren't forcing ourselves to move through a wide enough pattern of movements. Elevate currently has two fantastic RMT's who can provide elite treatment.