Monday, August 22, 2011

Spastic Muscles: Victim or Perpetrator?

This is perhaps one of the most counter-intuitive questions I have ever asked...and the answer is almost unanimously the same: "The muscles are the bad guys, therefore we need to attack them with an aggressive campaign of stretching...and if that doesn't work we always have botox". I'm exaggerating somewhat, however the only option families are given is overwhelmingly skewed to these drastic measures. As a professional (or as a parent / patient) it is fundamentally critical to examine all other options and not to simply "refer to my favorite textbook to see what the 'experts' say". The fundamental question is: "Are the muscles victims or perpetrators?" To be precise, are they THE problem or are they a SYMPTOM of a problem. In the overwhelming number of cases, muscle tension is SYMPTOMATIC (in both disorders of movement and posture AND the healthy population, by the way). Therefore, by definition the "treatment" protocol should be focused on the SOURCE of the problem. Unlike a common cold or flu, treating the symptoms leads to dead-ends and will result in future problems down the road.

In disorders of movement and posture like Cerebral Palsy, the muscular tension is a reflection of the profound compressional weakness that exists within the entire structure. For a better explanation of compressional weakness refer to my previous post, but in brief, compressional weakness is the absence of fundamental hydraulic strength which is responsible for support under the forces of gravity as well as the weight of the body itself. Essentially, when this vital component is missing, the muscles are asked to take on "double duty". They are actively solicited to compensate for the lack of compressional (passive postural) strength and therefore must be used to maintain balance...AND they are also called upon to perform the dynamic movement-based functions they are originally designed to do. It is no wonder that movement is so chaotic and uncontrolled...imagine using all of your muscles to maintain your balance AND perform movement at the same time.

Don't worry...I'm getting to the point. A strategic and focused protocol to improve compressional strength will subsequently result in a reduction in general muscular tension and rigidity. Period. Therefore my message is simple: STOP FIGHTING WITH THE VICTIMS! It is perhaps the most instinctive and inuitive thing to do, but history shows quite clearly that doing this is is a dead end street filled with false hope and "irresponsible dreaming".

Some of you may be saying "sounds good, but can it be done?" As the response to my previous post is are worth a thousand words. In that light, I have posted more amazing transformations that are an example of the potential to address muscle spasticity / rigidity at its true source. And remember...working with fascia is far from glamorous. It requires a significant amount of time and effort...but it is well worth it!


Analyzing the Source of Muscle Spasticity

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Role of Fascia in Cerebral can't miss this!

I have recently returned from Chile where I was working with another amazing group of children (and their families). It never ceases to amaze me how fortunate I am to be allowed the privilege to enter into their world and contribute to their child's progress. Each and every evaluation provides me with greater insight into the wonders of the human body...and for that I am eternally grateful. For those who have been curious enough to continue reading this blog, you are by now fully aware of my fascination for fascia and all that it implies. Although words (lots and lots of them)effectively convey this message, it is (more often than not) the actual pictures that demonstrate the full power and implication of this wonderful, and highly underrated, structure. I have performed many evaluations with children with disorders of movement and posture over the years...and there is a common thread that binds almost all of their families together: "Gavin, I just want a better life for my child. I want him/her to be happy and healthy and ultimately give them the absolute most that can be given to help them". Something as simple as being able to sit independantly can seem trivial to us, but can mean the world for these special children and special families. Therefore, I put it to anyone who questions the implications that fascia has on movement and posture...look at this example and formulate an intelligent, articulate, and logical reason not to admit the enormous opportunity and potential for improvement that exists. Although I have a plethora of examples, the one I have posted is the freshest in my mind and is also without possibility of mis-interpretation. One year of specific focus and hard work can bring about life-changing results! I hope it inspires you, fascinates you, and most importantly...stimulates some constructive curiosity!

Fascial Strengthening in Cerebral Palsy

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Coming Soon: Fascia and Fibromyalgia

I am very excited about this upcoming post because it will be the first look into some innovative techniques using the extended fascial paradigm in the treatment of a specific pathology. I recently stumbled upon an interesting article that outlines the role that fascia plays in Fibromyalgia. More importantly, how it may be a potential source of both the "problem" and the "solution" simultaneously. It is well known that massage has been a largely effective treatment for the reduction of symptomatic pain associated with fibromyalgia. Whereas some believe that the common "villain" is the muscle, there is growing evidence that fascial dysfunction is a more likely culprit. Therefore, any improvements to the delivery, absorption, and effective range of massage will help in relieving discomfort and pain. I will be outlining the Soft Ball Massage Technique in my next post, however I think it would be helpful to have a look at the article itself and get a fundamental look at the rationale behind this proposed technique. Enjoy and stay tuned for Soft Ball Rolling Massage!

Fibromyalgia and the Fascia Effect

Monday, August 1, 2011

Myth, Madness, or New Frontier?

Once again...another posting of an article on fascia. To be honest, it has been difficult to hold back on posting all of the wealth of existing study, research, and scientific evidence of the significance of fascia and connective tissue. I promise more original material, however I think my recent postings of Myers, Van der Wal, and Schleip will greatly enhance the general understanding that this is no myth...this fascia "stuff" is important! So it begs the question: is this myth, madness, or a new frontier? Some would agree that connective tissue is a simple "shrink wrap" for the muscles and just basically holds things in place and therefore considering it as an "active player" in musculoskeletal dynamics is pure MADNESS. Others, in their infinite ignorant wisdom, would tell you that it's purely MYTH..."studies are pure speculation and inconclusive". The reality is that connective tissue is not only the focus of increased in research protocols, but is proving to be quite relevant in the human organism. The potential implications give it the well deserved title of NEW FRONTIER. This was one of the first articles I read regarding fascial properties and it stuck with me throughout my formulations and developing understanding of the role of connective tissue and fascia. Paste it into your mental hardrive. Cheers.

Active Fascial Contractility