Connective Wellness

Fascia - The Missing Body Maintenance Link

Did you know that scientists are considering fascia to be the largest system in our body instead of skin? What is Fascia? Wikipedia defines it as "a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs".  It allows free movement of the muscles, carries nerves, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and fills spaces between muscles.

Think about fascia and why it needs to be maintained this way: When you are preparing chicken for supper and you go to remove the skin it is the white membrane that holds the skin down. Now these chickens that we eat are only a few months old. Over time our fascia can become stuck and it may be stuck in a bad position that can cause pain. Fascia can become shortened, adhered, or restricted due to surgery, trauma, sickness, inflammation, or postural imbalances created by tension patterns of the muscles. Myofascial release is the technique that maintains your fascia. It separates the fascia from skin to muscle, muscle to muscle, and muscle to organ fascia.

Here’s my experience with myofascial release technique: I’m not sure why exactly I have issues with my fascia but since releasing it I have been able to maintain the gains I’ve received from massage. I notice when I have a spot missed by myofascial release that within hours my massage gains seem to disappear. I have hyperypkyphosis which is the excessive curvature of the thoracic spine and after a massage it was feeling great! Unfortunately, as soon as I started driving home the pain was back. I realized that releasing the fascia over my spine was missed. On my next appointment we corrected it and the gains were maintained for weeks instead of hours and I was once again able to maintain my new posture. 

Pain is the body's way of telling you something is not right. By the time you feel pain it means your body is already pulled out of proper alignment. Bones keep the body upright, ligaments hold the bones together, muscles create movement, and holding it all together is your fascia attaching, stabilizing, enclosing and separating.

Have you been dealing with a problem that has not been remedied no matter what you do or professional you have seen? Myofascial restrictions can be remedied with a combination of massage therapy, heat, and by stretching and strengthening the muscles to obtain your optimal physical health.

I look forward to seeing you,

Sheena Taggart RMT

Connective Wellness Therapeutic Massage

Restore function and life through the re-education of muscles and elimination of pain.

www.connectivewellness.ca

Published in the High Country News October 2020

 

 

Hyperkyphosis And How It Affects Our Body

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to introduce myself and my new business. My name is Sheena Taggart and my business is Connective Wellness Therapeutic Massage. Recently I finished my schooling at MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy and became a Registered Massage Therapist. For the last 9 years I have worked for Canada Post in Springbank and Redwood Meadows and can’t wait to see my customers again in my new profession! 

I chose this profession because of what I have experienced with my body and the medical professionals that helped me get to where I am today. I have seen an upper cervical chiropractor who would manipulate the first cervical vertebra as well as provided a stretching booklet that was followed by me.  In the 7 years since I have maintained the adjustment with very few appointments since. With my physiotherapist I have worked on all kinds of problems such as rotator cuff muscle imbalance, sciatic issues, anterior pelvic tilt, and chronic tight neck and shoulders. I found if I kept up with my stretches and strengthening I wouldn’t need to go back. The problem is I didn’t always do my stretches and strengthen. 

It was with massage that I found I was getting more lasting benefits. I talked to my massage therapist about all the many things she can treat and realized massage was something I could be passionate about. In school I learned about myofascial release which is the connective tissue that is between the skin and muscle, as well as surrounds the muscles and organs. I started doing myofascial release on my classmates, my massage volunteers that I had as homework, and myself. I am currently seeing a myofascial specialist as I continue to unwind my body and plan to continue my education in myofascial release. My journey has helped me to understand the body and how it works. Because of this journey, I am now able to create a lasting effect by treating the cause, not just the symptoms.

As I look around at people’s postures I have noticed that most people have an exaggerated curved upper back, protracted shoulder blades and a head forward posture which is called hyperkyphosis. It is often accompanied by hyperlordosis which is in the lower back.

This can happen with certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis, ankylosing spondylitis, Pott’s, and Scheuermann’s disease. If that is not an issue the main culprits are sustained poor posture (slouching or sleeping in the curled-up position) or emotional causes when unconsciously trying to appear small. Occupational sources can be excessive hours sitting and weightlifting since there is an overemphasis on the pectoralis and flexion strengthening exercises. Symptoms these people might be experiencing could be chronic headaches even migraines, sore tight shoulders, jaw issues, tight neck muscles, and nerve issues in the arms and hands. With really bad hyperkyphosis it can also affect our breathing.   

This illustration of poor posture provides an idea of the pounds of pressure put on the cervical vertebrae with the increased curvature of the spine.  

As long as the vertebrae are not fused the good news is this can be fixed. I am proof of that! The treatment for hyperkyphosis is a massage once a week for 6 weeks which would include heating the shortened muscles, myofascial release, trigger point release, stretching techniques, and stimulation of the inhibited muscles. For homecare there is a stretch and strengthening plan to follow. Following the 6 weeks is an assessment to determine next steps (if any!). Everyone is different so there is no one size fits all solution. Results depend on where a person starts from and if they have been able to keep up with the homecare. 

I look forward to seeing you,

Sheena Taggart RMT

Connective Wellness Therapeutic Massage

Restore function and life through the re-education of muscles and elimination of pain.

www.connectivewellness.ca

Published in the High Country News September 2020

 

Pillow height!

So many people come in complaining that they slept wrong that I wanted to address the topic. For back sleepers you should have a low pillow that fits nicely into the crook of your neck without pushing you head to far up. As well as a pillow under the knees to take pressure off the knee joint. For side sleepers there is a lot more to it. You want a pillow that allows your spine to be completely horizontal to your bed without your shoulder being rolled in. The pillow should cradle your head and support the crook of your neck. There should also be a pillow between the legs to prevent unneeded pressure on the hip joint. This will take some time for you to adapt to a higher pillow for side sleepers but your body will thank you.