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What Is Fascia?

I believe Fascia  has so much more to do with musculoskeletal pain and injuries than most give it credit for. As I write about a variety of the injuries and conditions we treat in our Austin-based physical therapy clinic, a common factor in these discussions will be the role Fascia plays, so it makes sense to give some good information about it up front. We’ll start by explaining what it is.

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What Is Fascia?

Fascia is “the soft tissue component of the connective tissue system that permeates the human body. It interpenetrates and surrounds muscles, bones, organs, nerves, blood vessels and other structures. It is an uninterrupted, three-dimensional web of tissue that extends from head to toe, from front to back, from interior to exterior… After injury, it is what creates an environment for tissue repair.”

– Paoletti, Serge (2006). The Fasciae: Anatomy, Dysfunction & Treatment. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press. pp. 151–161.

It is important to note that when Fascia is distorted from its normal arrangement, it restricts the movements of the above-mentioned structures, creating abnormal movement compensations and resulting in limitations and often pain.

These changes in fascia can have a wide variety of causes … everything from a one-time trauma/injury, to repetitive overuse, surgical procedures, and even poor posture.

Luckily, in most cases, Fascia can be manipulated back to a normal or at least more normal arrangement very quickly. When this occurs, there is usually an immediate improvement in range of motion and pain levels.