Its all connected
How many times have you heard from your health care practitioner “it’s all connected”? Your knee pain is because of your Iliotibial band (ITB), your ITB problems are from your hip, it’s all connected. It’s true!
I have SI joint problems on the left side, then I started getting calf pain while running, then achilles pain and now I have a heel spur, all on the left side. These things are not independent of each other, they are all connected.
Heres a few reasons why:
No this doesn’t mean your face is restricted. Fascia is a layer of fibrous connective tissue (collagen structures) that surrounds all muscles, bones, organs, nerves and blood vessels. It’s a web of tissue that provides structural support and protection to the body. There is no beginning or end to this connective tissue, it is like a web that covers deep structures of the body, like the heart, to covering muscles in your hands. It’s all connected!
Healthy fascia creates a balance of tension and elasticity to allow the body to move properly and gives support and alignment. With overuse and trauma to the body fascial restrictions accumulate. A common example to see how fascial restrictions in one area of the body can affect a seemingly unrelated area of the body is to think of a knit sweater. A pulled thread on a knit sweater can distort the shape in places distant to the pull. The sweater unravels and loses some of its shape. When it is repaired and the hole stitched shut, we now notice that the sweater doesn’t stretch as well as it use to. In fact when our body repairs itself with scar tissue it is limited in function, including movement, and circulation. Fibers that the body uses to heal itself are not as functional as the original tissue, there are very few directions the sweater can be stretched without being affected by the stitched up hole.
Through physical activity, repetitive motions of every day activities and muscles compensating, fascia becomes thickened and shortened loosing fluidity and elasticity causing fascial restrictions. Where fascail restrictions in one area can cause a pull in another.
Your brain sends a message to your body via the spinal cord and out into branches called nerves.
I had to throw that in, too funny.
So as you can see from the little green man we have nerves that cover our entire body. Supplying information to and from our brain.
When a nerve exits the spine, it can become pressed between two bones or compressed by a disc resulting in numbness and tingling in other parts of the body. Nerve irritation in the neck often leads to symptoms in the shoulders, arms or hands. Similar problems in the low back can cause numbness and tingling down the legs and into the feet.
Peripheral nerve entrapment is when the nerve becomes irritated as they pass through muscles on their way towards their destination. Slippery sheaths provide nerves a smooth passage way through the muscle tissue. When damage occurs the nerves and their protective sheaths, scar tissue is laid down to repair the damage causing adhesions to form between the sheath and the nerve.
Common conditions that lead to nerve compression:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome median nerve
- Thoracic outlet syndrome brachial plexus
- Cubital tunnel syndrome ulnar nerve
- Piriformis syndrome sciatic nerve
Trigger points are nodules in muscles that when compressed can cause tenderness, refered pain or a local twitch response.
During a massage have you ever experienced pressure being applied to a knot that radiates pain to a completely different area of the body? For instances pressure applied to your upper back causes pain into your temple. This is called refered pain. Trigger points follow certain referral patterns. Below is a chart of some trigger points in the body. The X is the trigger point and the colored areas are the referral of pain.
Have you ever wondered how a therapist knows when to stop and hold that exact spot? One reason for this is a local twitch response. Much like a muscle spasming, a trigger point when applied pressure, can cause a small twitch.
So there, it’s all connected!