Home Posts tagged "Fascia"

Thinking Beyond Diagnostic Imaging

About ten years ago, I was in the operating room to observe my first Tommy John surgery. Much like my time in gross anatomy class during my undergraduate studies, it was an invaluable experience that helped me to appreciate human structure (and, in turn, movement) in a way that anatomy textbooks couldn't offer.

Textbooks typically present a very "neat" anatomy where muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and nerves are predictably positioned. You can imagine my surprise, then, when the surgeon made the initial incision along the medial elbow and it yielded a bunch of "stuff" in the way. The fascia, the intermuscular septum, the ulnar nerve, and a host of other unrecognizable structures make you realize that a) every anatomy course or textbook you've ever undertaken hasn't done justice to what's really going on at the elbow (or anywhere else in the body, for that matter), b) it takes a lot of practice to become a great surgeon, and c) you shouldn't let just anyone cut you open for surgery.

Now, let's fast-forward to the post-operative timeline. After the repair is complete and the patient is stitched up, the elbow is splinted at 90 degrees of flexion for a week. Following that week, the arm is put in a hinged brace that gradually allows more motion over the course of weeks 2-6. After six weeks, the brace goes away. In short, it's quite a bit of time with the elbow in a limited range-of-motion situation as a means of protecting the repair.

Not surprisingly, some patients have a lot of trouble getting back their motion - both from the graft gradually stretching out and the musculotendinous structures regaining their length. We'd be crazy to think that the aforementioned fascia structures aren't implicated in the challenges of regaining ROM, though. And, if they've got a role in limiting ROM, they've certainly got a role in the associated stiffness (and, sometimes, pain) that post-operative patients feel. Here's where a variety of manual therapy interventions - ranging from dry needling to instrument-assisted work - have yielded outstanding results. While some folks like to scream and shout in opposition to this fact, it's hard to refute that manual therapy has endured the test of time to the tune of thousands of years.

Only recently have there been technology advancements that allow us to better understand the role of the fascia system with respect to pain and performance (Bill Parisi spoke to this on our podcast a while back; listen here). In this excellent presentation on Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (along side Dr. Gregory Pearl and Dr. Regan Wong), Sue Falsone shares some great insights in this regard. While the entire presentation is terrific, I'd encourage you to check out the the 1-hour, 36-minute mark, where Sue comments on the decompression that takes place with a cupping intervention:

Now, let's take a step back and think about the big picture of diagnostic imaging. When we have chronic pain that alters movement patterns, we have adaptive changes of the fascial system. While the diagnostic imaging - MRI, CT scans, x-rays - might pick up on the structural defect, it might overlook the compensatory changes to the fascial system (much of which overlays the actual injury) that can't be appreciated by these types of scans. 

When we look at chronic shoulder pain, is the problem only the rotator cuff tear? Or is that problem magnified by the fascia limitations that arise from years of avoiding various ranges of motion (including at adjacent joints) that would normally be accessible?

I've written extensively about having both a Medical and Movement Diagnosis. The truth is that the discussion of the fascia system is probably a happy medium between the two. We may think too much about the injury the diagnostic imaging identifies and too little about the overlying and surrounding tissues. At the other end of the spectrum, we may be too quick to define a movement limitation as joint, musculotendinous, ligamentous, or motor control without first considering the role the fascial system is playing.

What's the most important lesson here? Professionals from all walks of sports medicine need to work together to thoroughly evaluate injuries and movement competencies in order to design the best performance and rehabilitation programs. And, we need to remain openminded to new technology that may make it easier for us to take an even more accurate and individualized approach to each case.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Fine-Tuning the Fascial System with Bill Parisi

We're excited to welcome Bill Parisi to the latest podcast for an in-depth discussion on the fascia system and how it impacts health and performance. Bill has a ton of experience in the trenches and a great network, and he leverages both to deliver some excellent information on this overlooked aspect of developing athletes.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Marc Pro. Head to www.MarcPro.com and enter the coupon code CRESSEY at checkout to receive an exclusive discount on your order.

You can follow Bill on Instagram at @Bill_Parisi, or visit FasciaTrainingAcademy.com.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Marc Pro, a cutting-edge EMS device that uses patented technology to create non-fatiguing muscle activation. Muscle activation with Marc Pro facilitates each stage of the body’s natural recovery process- similar to active recovery, but without the extra effort and muscle fatigue. Athletes can use it for as long as they need to ensure a more full and quick recovery in between training or games. With its portability and ease of use, players can use Marc Pro while traveling between games or while relaxing at home. Players and trainers from every MLB team - including over 200 pro pitchers - use Marc Pro. Put Marc Pro to the test for yourself and use promo code CRESSEY at checkout at www.MarcPro.com for an exclusive discount on your order.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

Name
Email
Read more
Page
LEARN HOW TO DEADLIFT
  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series