Myofacia is a very thin connective tissue that surrounds the entirety of our muscular system. It is this exact tissue that binds together becoming our tendons, while at the same time, still embodies our muscles. This means if something is going on with the tendon, it is going to directly affect the muscle and vise versa.
What could be happening on either end of these spectrums that would affect us on such a large scale? Myofacial trauma can be caused chronically (over time) or acutely (abruptly). Examples of chronic trauma are things such as sitting at a desk all day. While working at a computer or desk, our bodies start to hunch forward, it becomes the posture we implement and practice all day long. Think about what your body is doing here. To sum it up in short, we have muscles in our back that are slow twitch muscles that are developed to hold up the spine, all day long. Those muscles love that job by the way. When we are in a hunched over state, our upper body (muscles around our thoracic spine), is trying to contract while lengthening at the same time. This is an example of chronic myofacial trigger point development.
Acute trauma to our myofacia will result from a fast occurrence. Things such as car accidents, a fall, an injury or general overuse, such as in sports and weekend worrier runs, are all examples of acute myofacia trigger point development.
What is happening to these areas of tissue is they are binding together. When the tissue is damaged it binds on top of itself to become stronger. This leaves the muscle in a constant contracted and dehydrated state. It is isolating that section of the muscle, which prevents that cross sectional area of muscle from activating. This causes it to pull on the surrounding areas of tissue, which is when we start to feel pain.
We will feel pain in other areas than just where the trigger point is. This is call, referred pain. This pain can be felt in other areas of the muscle or will travel to the next joint causing for example, knee pain. If you apply this on a larger scale, think about not only how this affects your comfort, but how it affects your exercise routine or the risk it puts you for injury. If I know I can usually lift 100 lbs and over time I have trigger points which are preventing me from allowing my muscles to fully activate, over time I would be destroying my back or my knees because some of my muscles aren’t activating.
Not keeping up with the maintenance can lead to tearing ACL’s or rotator cuffs because when muscles aren’t activating, it puts that compensated weight and added stress on the joint.
The best way to maintain and address myofacial release is by simply foam rolling 15 minutes most days of the week, and before starting your workouts. This movement applies repetitive pressure to the muscle tissue and helps break it up, keeping our muscles thriving. There are different methods to address trigger points. There are more aggressive and less aggressive ways to work at the muscle tissue.
Happy foam rolling!