By Matt Smith ART, FMS, CES, CPT
Injuries to joints and muscles can occur either suddenly or gradually. The latter is often the type that plague most fitness enthusiasts such as CrossFitters. In Part I of this series, we explored the anatomy of our fascia (muscles). Now we turn our attention to the process of injury in order to gain a better understanding of how injuries can manifest themselves over time.
Understanding the Injury Cycle
Throughout our daily lives, the repetitive motions and postures, nutrition, lack of hydration, and other factors can cause changes in the composition of our fascia. When this happens, it can lead to the development of localized areas of hyperirritable neural tissue lying within taut bands of Fascia and muscle called Trigger Points. These areas are essentially places where “The fuzz” no longer slides correctly and becomes “glued down”. This can lead to pain, altered proprioception (see below), muscle spasms, poor muscular contractions, and an overall massive wasting of energy.
In the most basic sense, trigger points are little knots that can reduce our balance, stability, power output, and overall ability to protect ourselves from injury during movement.
Luckily, this can be prevented through adequate nutrition, hydration, and mechanical stimulation of our myofascia through movement and myofascial release techniques.
Proprioception is your body’s spatial communication with the external environment; it combines sensory input and helps properly coordinate the neuromuscular system to create movement.
For a clear picture of what this means, close your eyes and raise both of your arms out to your side. Now, keeping your eyes closed take your right finger and try to touch your nose. Then do the same thing with your left and repeat. This is your proprioceptive system taking in information about where your nose is and then contracting and relaxing specific groups of muscles to allow you to eventually touch your nose with your finger. This system of movement coordination is your proprioception.
Unhealthy fascia and decreased mobility ruins your body’s ability to know where it is and how to properly adapt to its surroundings and create coordinated movement. This will, once again, lead to reduced ability for your body to provide balance/stability, power, strength, and prevention of injury.