What Is Your Fascia and Is It Responsible for Your Musculoskeletal Pain?

What Is Your Fascia and Is It Responsible for Your Musculoskeletal Pain?

When it comes to musculoskeletal pain, you may be familiar with the usual suspects — torn tendons, stretched ligaments, strained muscles, and broken bones. It might surprise you to learn that there’s an even bigger culprit — myofascial pain syndrome, which is involved in 30-85% of cases of musculoskeletal pain.

Given this high involvement, our team here at Pain Medicine Consultants thought it would be a good idea to highlight the link between your fascia and musculoskeletal pain, which can help you get closer to figuring out what’s behind your discomfort.

Your fascia — a network of connective tissue

Fascia is everywhere in your body. It’s a thin, but tough, tissue made up of collagen that surrounds and supports most every structure inside your body, including your:

If you’ve ever cut into raw chicken (or other raw meats) and you come across that silvery tissue that’s a lot tougher to cut through, that’s a visual example of fascia.

This same tissue runs throughout your entire body, creating a connected network of support.

How fascia can lead to pain

If your fascia is tight, overstressed, or damaged, it can lead to painful trigger points or knots in your muscles, which we call myofascial pain syndrome (“myo” stands for muscle and “fascia” is what we described above).

These spasm points can not only lead to localized pain in which the area around the knot is painful and sensitive, the trigger point can also pull on the fascia and lead to pain in other areas.

For example, if you have a trigger point in the trapezius muscle in your shoulder, this knot can refer the pain up the side of your neck and around the back of your head and lead to tension headaches. Or you might have an area of hypertension in the fascia in your mid back, which can lead to muscular pain down into your lower back and one side of your buttocks.

So if you’re feeling pain somewhere in your body with no obvious injury, there's a good chance the problem stems from myofascial pain syndrome.

Releasing your trigger points

If, after examination, we find that your pain stems from trigger points that are pulling on your fascia, we offer trigger point injections. With this technique, we locate the painful knots and inject an anesthetic and a corticosteroid into the area to relieve the pain and swelling in the fascia.

Trigger point injections are designed to release the tension in the fascia, which then releases the tension on surrounding muscles.

If you don’t want us to inject any medications, we can also try dry needling. We insert the needle into the knot to release the spasm, but we don’t deliver any medications. If you want to avoid needles altogether, we can also try myofascial release through massage therapy.

To figure out whether your fascia is causing your pain and which treatment option would best bring you relief, please contact us at one of our offices in Pleasant Hill, Corte Madera, or Pleasanton, California, to set up an appointment.

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