Fascia: The Mystery “Muscle” That May Be Causing Body-Wide Pain

by

Fascia Anatomy

Soreness and stiffness are often blamed on muscle tightness, strains or pulls. Or perhaps even bone, ligament or joint problems. Such symptoms may in fact be due to problems with these body parts. But it is also entirely possible that one mysterious group of connective tissue fibers is responsible for the body-wide pain you’re experiencing.

What Is Your Fascia?

You may have heard of fascia as it relates to plantar fasciitis. This condition is the result of in the fascia of the foot. It causes intense pain in the heal. But fascia plays a much larger role in the body.

The tightly packed bundles of dense regular connective tissues create a sheet of tissue beneath your that covers the entirety of your body. These are the type of connective tissue that bundle in a parallel fashion. This tissue is comprised of densely packed protein fibers. These fibers wind their way throughout your body. They bind to muscles, bones and organs. They give them structural support in the process. Fascia is packed with sensory neurons. It has approximately six times greater than in most other body tissue. Therefore, it is particularly sensitive. The sensory neurons in your fascia play a large role in communication among muscle systems. They help them function properly.

How Does Your Fascia Affect Your Health?

The density of sensory neurons in fascia are key for muscle function. They also play an important role in muscle communication. They represent the primary method through which your fascia can negatively impact your health. If your fascia becomes tight, sticky or stiff, it may result in general aches and pains throughout the body. This can irritate muscles, joints and other body tissues and connections. On the other hand, maintaining a flexible, stretchy fascia helps the body to move and bend more easily. It allows muscles to slide and react more smoothly and effectively. It also helps to keep pain and stiffness at bay.

Can I Do Anything to Help?

Now you know what condition your fascia should be in for proper function. So how can you help get it there? For starters, think about how most of us generally feel in the morning. We feel stiff, sore or cramped as we get out of bed and start to move around. This feeling isn’t uncommon. Just as animals do, especially cats, in the morning helps to relieve that tension and break up muscle “fuzz”. This example is a microcosm of the causes of, and remedies for, fascia tightness. Generally speaking, inactivity, repetitive motions and sitting for long periods of time may all contribute to unhealthy fascia. A lack of stretching and injuries may also add to it. However, the good news is that you can greatly improve the health of your fascia. Doing a few basic exercises and activities can enhance the heath of your fascia.

Ways to Improve the Health of Your Fascia

The most basic way to make your fascia healthier is to . It’s never a bad idea to out in the morning or before bed. Always before or after a workout, and after for an extended period of time. Doing so can help your fascia perform more effectively. Foam rollers are an great way to out fascia. They can target particularly sore or tight areas. Stretching your appendages and joints to utilize their full range of motion helps as well.

Beyond stretching, there are still a number of other ways to improve your fascia’s health and performance. Massages to release fascia are helpful. Tennis balls make great options for a self-massage to target fascia, since they grip the skin and help loosen layers of fascia. Light exercises in which the body covers a wide range of motion are great options too. Such exercises include walking and swimming. Hydration is important for fascia health as well. It helps to keep tissues loose and lubricated. So be sure to drink plenty of water and fluids. Lastly, if you think you need a little extra help, massage therapists may be able to loosen hard-to-tackle areas. They also may have more advice about regular maintenance and stretches.

One thing is for sure, fascia health and its role in how we feel every day has been vastly underestimated. Here are some stretching routines that may be worth bookmarking. Try to do a few every day to ensure the health and flexibility of your fascia.

stretches for fascia

To view or pin this image in a larger size, click here.


Derek Noland Derek is a technical writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the health care field, having first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Delaware. He is a contributing author on a number of textbooks in the medical field, ran a nuclear cardiology licensing course, and has written a variety of other pieces from online training courses to medical software manuals. Derek pursues his personal interest in health and wellness by playing multiple sports and running marathons. An insatiable traveler, he spent 16 months working and living abroad while traveling through South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.


Never miss out on valuable information. Subscribe to our newsletter today!



Leave a Comment Below


7 responses to “Fascia: The Mystery “Muscle” That May Be Causing Body-Wide Pain”

  1. lisa says:

    What a fantastic article! I am almost crippled from the Illiotibial band which is as tight as a steel band…stretching is the only thing which has helped and I love you including all the illustrations for all of these stretches too. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  2. Robert Ehlenfeldt says:

    I’ve been taught to roll on a styrofoam cylinder, so the pressure is on the fascia. This is a deep muscle massage and hurts a whole lot. But, stay with it, it becomes more tolerable.and I alleviates the pain in my hips.

  3. Brianna says:

    Is there a printable option for this illustration? maybe a poster we can order?

    I have suffered for several years now with the IT band and all over stiffness and chronic pain. Physical therapy and my new treadmill only made it worse. Maybe you are on to something here with the stretching (actually the first moment my IT started hurting way back when was while i was in the middle of stretching! maybe the ‘hair of the dog’ is just what is needed to reverse the situation :-) ?)
    My doctor gave me cortisone shots for the past two years which really helped, but now she has stopped them because she said anymore will cause my hip to degenerate. Hopefully these stretches will help me.

    Thank you for sharing this article with us.

    • Segen Tekle says:

      Brianna,
      We’re really glad you enjoyed our article! There’s actually an option to print the article at the very bottom of the page. Next to ’email this post’ you’ll notice it says ‘print this post’. Hope this helps! :)

  4. Susan Kanen says:

    Most medical professionals recognize over exposure to fluoride causes dental fluorosis or mottling spots on teeth. Ignored are the first stages of skeletal fluorosis starting with painful calcifications of facia and ligaments. I have an x-ray of the calcified ligaments of my forearm as well as parathyroid and thyroid disease, and painful arthritic symptoms after 60 years of fluoride consumption. My health is slowly improving after two years of fluoride avoidance.
    https://www.facebook.com/susan.kanen/posts/10207710181131774

  5. Amy says:

    Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this
    website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness
    and visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a amazing job with this.
    Also, the blog loads super fast for me on Firefox. Exceptional Blog!

    my web site: Amy