by Dr. Eric Winder (as published in the August 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings, Sarasota/Manatee/Charlotte edition)
Coordination is one of the key lynch-pins to good health and quality of life, although we rarely give much thought to it. Even if you are not a ballerina or a star athlete, you are still highly coordinated. Just the acts of getting out of bed, walking around or brushing your teeth require an amazing level of coordinated contraction, tension and relaxation of the muscles that move your bones and joints.
This muscle orchestration isn’t just about movement. The muscles need to maintain proper joint alignment and stability as you move in order to protect you from injury. Even the simplest movements require very finely-tuned control. But what happens when there is a glitch in this control system?
“Confusion” Leads to Pain
Even a small problem with stability or alignment while moving can result in injury and pain over time. The source of many such problems can be found in a key element of coordination ––the tissue called fascia. Embedded in this fibrous connective tissue are millions of nerve endings for position sense. This position-sense information comes from the fascia of the muscles, bones, joints and other tissues of the body. If the information coming from fascia is confused, painful problems can result.
For example, I recently treated an active, athletic young lady with shoulder pain. More than two years prior, she had torn her rotator cuff, but it had healed and was pain-free until about one month before she came into my office. An exam showed restrictions in the fascia at three points around her shoulder joint and between her shoulder blade and spine. She also showed weakness in two important stabilizing muscles of the shoulder, and these became strong immediately on treatment of the fascia restrictions. As a result, reaching above her head or behind her back became much easier with less pain, and with further treatment, she was pain-free.
Fascia can be thought of as a fabric covering and connecting all tissues. As it provides constant feedback to the nervous system about the position and motion of all of the parts of the body, fascia makes coordinated movement possible. But if there is restriction and distortion in this “fabric,” then problems in coordination can result. If position-sense feedback is distorted or confused, joint alignment and stability could suffer, resulting in shoulder pain, or knee arthritis, hip bursitis or other painful situations.
Restoring proper pliability and tension to restricted fascia can restore lost joint alignment and stability. This can help all kinds of pain in the body through gentle hands-on treatment. While there are multiple forms of myofascial therapy, treatment at my clinic focuses on finding the critical restrictions that are disturbing position-sense and causing pain. To ensure proper treatment success, we measure progress in muscle tone and strength, joint stability and alignment, and range-of-motion and orthopedic testing. These tests usually show improvement immediately with treatment and give evidence of successful treatment that will bring pain relief.
I invite you to attend an evening program August 30, where you can learn in-depth about fascia, why it is important, and how to solve fascia problems when they create pain. I will discuss case examples, provide a treatment demonstration and hold a Q&A session following the presentation. Attendees are invited to arrive at 6:45 p.m. for refreshments, and the program itself will take place from 7–8 p.m.
This event is located at 3131 S Tamiami Trail, #102, Sarasota. To register, call 941-957-8390.