Most of us have had the miserable experience of “pulling a muscle”. These injuries can be both highly painful as well as incapacitating. They also tend to take a long time to heal, and are easily re-injured. Few people realize that what is commonly referred to as a pulled muscle is usually a pulled, stretched, or torn fascia (see our FASCIAL ADHESION page). Fascia is the sleeve or sheath that tightly covers muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves; and is arguably the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the body.
Fascia is the thin, cellophane-like, clear yellow membrane, wrapped tightly around muscles and certain other internal structures. If you have ever butchered or handled a pot roast, you have seen fascia. If you were to look at fascia under a microscope, you would see that it is made up of tiny fibers that essentially run parallel to each other (Put both of your hands flat on a table in front of you and slide the fingers of one hand back and forth between the fingers of the other). This is what gives all connective tissues including fascia, their incredible amount of flexibility. Normally-functioning fascial membranes also tend to be flat and smooth like a piece of paper.
However, once fascia is injured (stretched, pulled, torn, etc.), the microscopic fibers are disrupted. Instead of fibers running parallel to each other in an organized fashion with their normal degree of elasticity / flexibility, the fibers now run every possible direction and have an extremely diminished amount of organization and elasticity (interlock the fingers from one hand with the fingers from the other, only now do it with the fingers pointed in all directions and try to slide the hands back and forth……see the difference in flexibility? Also notice that when the fingers are interlocked randomly, the fascial membranes are no longer like a flat piece of paper but a wadded up or crumpled piece of paper.). Fascial injuries often heal in this tangled manner, with those injured areas being referred to as microscopic scar tissues or microscopic adhesions.
Fascia can be injured by either a traumatic event (sports, car wrecks, falls, work, etc…) or it can be injured repetitively (usually by repetitive activities at work, sports, or exercise). Either way you slice it, the injury is microscopically identical. Diagnosing these fascial tears with conventional, hi-tech tests, can be difficult, to the point of usually being virtually impossible. Advanced imaging techniques such as MRI will not show most fascial injuries because the fascia itself is so thin and microscopic, and so rarely torn entirely.
This is why numerous people that suffer with chronic pain syndromes will be run through test after test after test, sometimes for decades, with doctors telling them repeatedly “We can not find any reason for your pain”. I find that many of these people, regardless of age, have been told “you just aren’t as young as you used to be Mr. Johnson; this is just part of life —- live with it”. These people are typically treated by their doctors with various medications which sometimes mask symptoms, but never deal with the underlying cause of the Chronic Pain or loss of function. Covering symptoms without addressing the underlying cause always leads to DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS and more of the same. However, there is an innovative and effective way to deal with many of these problems even if they are decades old.
I would strongly urge anyone dealing with Chronic Pain to take a few minutes and watch just a few of our scores of PATIENT TESTIMONIAL VIDEOS related to the procedures we use for dealing with numerous CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES, including pulled, stretched, or torn muscles.