It is confusing to be a consumer of healthcare. Part of that is the verbiage…unless you know Latin. In talking with my clients, an overarching theme that probably has the most confusion is the concept of fascia. I usually give this short spiel: “Fascia is under your skin, envelopes all of your muscles, and all of your organs, and if you dissolved everything else in your body you would have a continuous and intricate network of honeycomb.” This is also why I can treat an area that you may not think is the problem and make your pain go away.
I used to be part of the problem. When people would tell me things like “I have plantar fasciitis.” I would say things like “That term is really a misnomer, in that part of the foot the fascia forms an aponeurosis- you have plantar aponeurositis” to show people how smart I was? I’m not sure. Now, my pendulum has come full swing and I let my hands speak for my intelligence and don’t care if I throw a casually slang “ain’t” into conversation.
I’m in a tough spot as I have learned to choose battles, but even my whittled down list is chalk full of PSA worthy topics. So, let me stand on my soap box once more to talk a little about muscle. People always want to know what muscle is the problem, which is an easy way to think about it; muscles are easy to compartmentalize. PT’s love analogies, and I am no exception. The first continuing education course I took on fascia was when I was still a student and the instructor gave me this gem: Muscle is like the dumb jock in every 80’s movie. It just does what it is told. Contract. Relax. Except for Emilio Esteves…we later find out he has depth. Fascia, along with the nervous system are the characters that manipulate the jocks.
While, under a microscope, these structures have slightly different characteristics and have academically been compartmentalized, let’s for one moment in a hands-across-America-like fashion, drop our labels, and agree that they are all part of the beautiful, and intricate fascial network: fascia, mesentery, peritoneum, epineurium, periosteum, the iliotibial band, aponeurosis, dura…(this is by no means a comprehensive list).
Domo arigato, Mr. Mugatu; my sentiments exactly.
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