Adhesions, Knots, Scar-Tissue, That May Affect Fascia, Muscles, & Nerves: Part II

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

Adhesions, knots, scar-tissue (AKS) caused by the excessive formation of fibrin on tissue will inhibit the function of those tissues. Over-training, inflammation, repetitive stress, trauma-injury, poor posture, aging, and inadequate nutrition may all contribute to the formation of AKS.

For example, over-training and inflammation that cause excessive formation of AKS on the fascia around the lower back and crest of the hip may develop into a mass or knot the size of a marble or golf ball. This mass may interfere with the nerve impulse or neural drive that occurs between the fascia tissue and the muscles of the lower back and hip. Because the AKS blocks the signal to these muscles other muscles may be recruited instead of the desired ones and a faulty motor-muscle recruitment pattern may result eventually leading to an injury.

Often if the AKS is so strong that it will restrict the range of motion (ROM) of the affected muscles as well as pull the connecting skeletal segment out of alignment or balance. Either scenario can result in muscle atrophy, weakening, de-conditioning, and loss in muscle tone. The above example may occur as a result of excessive treadmill or incline treadmill running caused by over hyperextension of the hip-thigh segment.

Repetitive stress and trauma to tissue leading to AKS formation within a muscle such as the bicep femoris of the hamstrings can prevent muscle fibers from contracting properly thereby irritating and inflaming the muscle tissue even more thus producing more AKS. Eventually this can lead to muscle shortening, tightening, and decreased ROM, then to a strain, tear, or pull within the weakest part of the tissue. The type of activity, movement, angle, and force will determine the severity of the injury as well.

Similarly poor posture, structural imbalance, and decreased circulation can affect a nerve segment within the correlating body segment thus assisting in AKS formation around the nerve. It can entrap that nerve, blocking the impulses to the muscle supplied by that nerve and other muscles along the path of the nerve. So muscle utilization will be difficult or compromised, affecting whatever movement is to be performed. Sort of like sitting 10,000 lb on top of an electrical cord to an appliance, over time the signal will dissipate or be interrupted making the devise useless.

Unfortunately aging is a contributor to AKS. As we age our production of the proteins and enzymes that help our bodies repair and regenerate healthy cells diminishes along with the proteins and enzymes that regulate AKS production. So we accumulate AKS easier as we age and it takes longer to break down and dispose of damaged tissues and cells. This process may also cause an increase in intra-cellular inflammation.

Inadequate nutrition may also aid in the formation of AKS by creating a blood, cell, and tissue environment that’s very acidic or inflammatory. Foods that may contribute to acidity and inflammation like processed flours, gluten, sugars, sodas, and snacks should be avoided or reduced. Artificial foods, drinks, and sweeteners will promote an acidic or inflammatory response as well. These antagonistic foods and their responses begin in the mouth and stomach and prohibit adequate protein-enzyme production while inhibiting the absorption of nutrients and the formation of healthy bacteria.

Next in Part III I will recommend foods, supplements, and treatment methods tomanage AKS formation.

Adhesions, Knots, Scar-Tissue, That May Affect Fascia, Muscle, & Nerves: Part I

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

What are adhesion's, scar tissue, or knots and how can they affect fascia, muscle, and nerve function? Lets start by explaining each of these terms. I'll begin with fascia, it's the thin layer of connective tissue that covers the muscles, tendons, vessels, and nerves. It’s like a latex glove or plastic wrap that fits around these tissues. In addition this fascia surrounds individual and whole groups of muscle fibers. If you have ever cut up a chicken you can see the thin almost translucent layer of tissue covering the muscle underneath of the skin, that’s fascia.

Next there are two types of muscle tissue, skeletal and smooth. Skeletal muscle is the elastic tissue that crosses over a joint and attaches to the bone to form a lever that produces movement, force, and locomotion. For example the biceps muscle in the upper arm attaches to the inside of the shoulder blade (scapular bone) and on the outside of the elbow at the forearm (radius bone) and contributes to elbow flexion or “making a muscle”. Since it attaches to bone it only makes sense that it’s called skeletal muscle. Also because we can start, stop, and control the movement willingly it’s action is considered voluntary.

The second type of muscle tissue is called cardiac or smooth. It’s responsible for the heartbeat or cardiac contraction, but in the stomach and intestines enables food and waste to be moved through the digestive tract. This type of muscle action occurs without our conscience effort and happens automatically, so it’s considered involuntary.

Nerves are fibers or cords that transmit electrical signals to various parts of the body i.e., brain, eyes, fascia, heart, lungs, muscles, organs, spinal cord, etc. It’s like an extremely complex highway or fiber optic system or matrix that’s alive and works 24/7 to keep us alive and functioning. The signals can originate from the brain or central nervous system or other sensory receptors.

Now adhesions, knots, and scar-tissue (AKS) are caused by the excessive formation of fibrin, a protein that helps form blood clots and repairs muscle, lung, and other tissue as a result of stress or trauma. The normal formation of fibrin contributes to and aids these natural processes but problems arise when excessive amounts are produced to form AKS. A thickening of the tissue will start to occur which initially is designed to strengthen and protect the area but too much will interfere with the normal function of the fascia, muscles, and nerves.

A visual analogy is like using glue to repair a broken vase but you continue to use the glue long after the vase has been fixed. Eventually you have a distorted vase that not only looks bad but doesn’t function as well either.

Okay, now I’m sure everyone has had enough of the biology session but unfortunately training and rehab comes down to science and math. So what’s the big deal about AKS? In part II we will discuss AKS in more detail and ways to lessen it’s affect.