Fascia is our third top communicator in our body, thus it’s no wonder that it is often described as our body’s natural transportation system (next to the nervous system). As we know it is a web of tiny fluid filled microtubules that exist in a multidimensional structure surrounding every cell in our body, head to toe, in and around every organ, muscle and joint. Microscopically, fascia is arranged in tiny micro-tubules, composed of collagen and elastin. Form follows function and these tubules act as a mini transportation system. Blood vessels and nerves travel within our fascial highway. In turn, fascia itself receives a profound number of nerve endings and innervates 10 times more than muscle. It is a fundamental structure in which the circulatory system and nervous system rely on sensory feedback and input/output.
Majority of chronic pain in the body is caused by dysfunction in the muscles, instability or lack of mobility. In other words, chronically tight or strained muscles that are stuck in patterns of compensation are frequently at the root of significant pain, as well as the pain referral will usually show significant breakdowns in other areas along the restricted line or muscular sling. It’s common for muscular imbalances to build up in the body without any symptoms at first. The body is extremely dynamic and will often adjust itself to numerous imbalances for long periods of time without there being any pain at all.
Many rotator cuff injuries are secondary to fascial problems. Shoulder problems may be due to the blade not gliding or a restriction in the ribs that prevent the arm from going up and extending the way it should. Failure to resolve patterns of muscular compensation through appropriate treatment can predispose the shoulder to further injury.
Sometimes a simple movement such as reaching behind you or above you can push the problem over the brink. For instance, lets use “frozen shoulder” as an example; which is a pain in the deltoid muscle, caused by strain and fatigue when the shoulder blade no longer moves freely. After a while, the deltoid becomes ischemic, meaning it’s blood flow is significantly reduced. And then you have a muscle that’s working overtime, without an adequate supply of blood to nourish it.
A protective neuromuscular response in the body, is to limit movement to avoid further pain or damage and thus allowing the fascia to shorten up and inhibiting muscular movement. This can lead to stress and inactivity, which can result in unconscious bracing of the shoulder muscles and gradual tightening of the surrounding tissue.
Neuromuscular re patterning and structural integration are ways that can assist the body in reaching it’s ultimate alignment. They involve an analysis of the existing alignment and patterning within the body, manipulation of the soft tissues including muscles, ligaments and fascia, and a plan that will encourage the body to stay aligned between sessions.
Modification of upper arm coordination and shoulder girdle placement is greatest addressed in conjunction with alterations in the cervical vertebrae and tonic neck reflexes
For lasting shoulder pain relief, it’s essential to follow the stages of rehabilitation in the proper order:
1. Eliminate spasms, fascial binding and hypercontraction in the tissues (Manual therapy such a neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, structural integration bodywork)
2. Restore proper biomechanics (Soft-tissue re-patterning, corrective movement, structural bodywork)
3. Restore flexibility to the tissues (Stretching, somatic movement, structural yoga, fascial stretch therapy)
4. Rebuild the strength of the injured tissues (Physical therapy exercises, corrective movement, strength conditioning)
5. Build endurance (Aerobic exercise)