The Powerful Fascial Counterstrain Effect on Pain Therapy & Healing
Why Do Fascial Counterstrain Therapy?
Fascial Counterstrain reduces pain. It does this because it addresses the causes of pain that arise within your fascia. The goal of Fascial Counterstrain therapy is to gently help the body relax this tissue and “reset” the area back to a non-painful state.
Postural problems, movement issues, flexibility, strength, and gastrointestinal function can all be helped when problems in fascia are addressed. Fascial Counterstrain addresses an aspect of health that, for most people, never gets addressed, much less identified.
The Role of Fascia as a Major Source of Pain and Health Conditions
Fascia Throughout the Body
Fascia is the soft tissue “packaging” that wraps around all parts of our anatomy, not just muscles.
Structures and tissues wrapped in fascia include:
- Organ Structures
- Joint Capsules
- Arteries, Veins
- Lymphatic Vessels
- Scar Tissue
Your Pain Sensors Are Located In Fascia
Fascia is also the layer of tissue that houses the majority of your body’s pain sensors (nociceptors) and a large number of your strain sensors (mechanoreceptors). Therefore, the pain you feel is often coming from pain sensors within your fascia. Thus, when you are injured or in pain due to a condition, it is actually the fascia in the problem area giving you your sense of pain. This is why we can help you stop feeling pain when we help your fascia with Fascial Counterstrain therapy.
Tightness Protects – Unless it Lasts Too Long
Problems in fascia (known as fascial spasm) can start when these sensors become antagonized enough to create pain and protective guarding. Protective guarding is a normal response wherein muscles and fascia tighten to help protect an affected area. This is a healthy “safety response”, and helps prevent the body from further harm. Healthy fascia will normally“reset” back to a relaxed state after a time, and muscle tightness will subside.
However, problems in fascia arise when fascia and muscles can’t reset, and thus they remain chronically tight/spasming and guarded for the long term.
Pain Can Stem From Anywhere
Because fascia spasm can cause muscle tightness, and because fascia is present nearly everywhere in the body, this means fascia problems can cause pain and have a negative affect anywhere in the body. Therefore, issues originating in fascia can lead to problems with pain, posture, movement, flexibility, strength, and gastrointestinal function.
Painless Relief Possible for Common to Rare Problems
The Fascial Counterstrain approach is a uniquely whole-body technique. Fascial Counterstrain therapists are able to help fascia problems in tissues and structures all over the body, from bones up through to skin. This allows them to help a vast array of common to rare symptoms and problems, the sources of which are often primarily outside of the musculoskeletal system.
Addressing Stubborn Problems a Different Way
People who haven’t been able to fully heal still have a good chance of success or continued healing with Fascial Counterstrain therapy. Our therapists will look for sources of pain where others have not been able to; we look where no one else is looking.
What Exactly is Fascial Counterstrain (FCS) Therapy?
Fascial Counterstrain (FCS) therapy is an innovative system of soft tissue manipulation developed by Brian Tuckey (PT, OCS, JSCCI), a board-certified orthopedic specialist. The fascia in every organ, nerve, artery, muscle, ligament, tendon, vein and lymphatic vessel in the human body can actively spasm and produce pain in a natural, protective response to injury. The types of injuries fascia would react to include surgery, trauma, prolonged repetitive motion, strained posture, viruses or infections, and long-term dietary sensitivities (usually inflammatory in nature).
Once this fascia spasm is reflexively triggered it can persist, spread and cause the formation of many tender points. FCS works by releasing the tissues in spasm and corresponding tender points by gently unloading the affected fascial structure.
FCS therapy is a therapeutic, hands-on approach, designed to release fascial spasm in all tissues of the body.
How Do Fascial Counterstrain Therapists Help People Like You?
Fascial Counterstrain therapists are skilled at helping the body to help itself relax tissue and “reset” the area back to a non-painful state. This concept can be applied to almost all types of patients because it is gentle and addresses an issue common to everyone.
We start by finding systems in the body that are reporting reflexively that there is a problem. This creates tightness, pain, and a tender point in the area. When that tissue is released, there is a significant decrease in local guarding and pain.
This is all done without stretching or breaking down tissue to make the targeted tissue move better. When that tissue is released, there is a significant decrease in local guarding and pain. The gentle release encourages the nervous system to reset and then report that tissue as more normal. This allows the tissue to move better.
The Fascial Counterstrain Effect
Fascial Counterstrain releases tension in the body’s tissues with a level of precision that is unparalleled in much of the manual therapy field. While the structures that get relaxed can be small in size, many of our patients tell us of how significant and noticeable the changes to their pain or condition are after just a few sessions with us.
Example: Helping Shoulder Pain & Impingement
Shoulder pain and impingement can be used as an example to illustrate how Fascial Counterstrain can help a common and persistent problem that many patients come to see us for. Shoulder impingement occurs when the small tendons of the shoulder rotator cuff muscles are pinched due to a decreased space between the top of the humerus (upper arm) bone and the underside of the collarbone. Very often the people experiencing this also have a forward or rounded posture to their shoulders. Picture how most of us sit if we’re hunched over our phone, or we’ve been at a computer using the mouse all day.
Over time, this pattern creates swelling in the area or even a bursitis (swelling in the joint capsule). The rotator cuff muscles are constantly in a state of tension and spasm because of the stress on their tendons. This forward-shoulder posture is also a classic problem of shortened (contracted) structures in front and lengthened (stretched) structures in back. The lengthened structures about the shoulder and neck fatigue and begin to break down, causing more pain, spasm and inflammation.
Typical therapies will stretch the pectoralis (chest) muscles in the front, strengthen the rotator cuff and shoulder blade muscles, massage and relax the neck muscles, and mobilize the joint structures of the back, neck, and shoulder. Often this works just fine; however, many times it does not.
The Fascial Counterstrain Difference
We take into consideration all of the types of tissues in the area from multiple systems. In this shoulder impingement example, there will be tight tissue in front, but not just the pectoral muscles. There are arteries, veins, bursae, nerves, and viscera (organs), such as the lungs, and more to consider.
Releasing the short, tight structures in front through relaxation versus traditional mobilization will allow the shoulder to achieve a better postural position. The nervous system will get signals reporting the relaxation, and will then “give permission” to tight and weak muscles to be less inhibited. Immediate strength gains can be seen and local pain and swelling decrease, further improving shoulder range of motion and even more decreases in pain.
This concept of encouraging the nervous system to allow releases of tissues instead of imposing a stretch on them can be applied to just about any type of patient, from an elite weightlifter to someone who is wheelchair-bound.
Which of these are you prioritizing now?
See how Fascial Counterstrain can help you “move the needle” in the direction you want:
Maintain and Aim for Wellness
The FCS way of gently releasing the body’s structures in tension is a relaxing experience, with the added benefit that patients can feel their tender points and pain literally disappear as each treatment is performed. FCS therapy uniquely addresses the entire fascial system throughout the whole of the body, making it an ideal complement to your wellness routine. A large number of our patients use FCS to complement and enhance the benefits they enjoy from things like massage therapy, chiropractic care, naturopathic medicine, and acupuncture, among others.
Enhance Athletic Performance and Recovery
Our patients who make fitness or athletics a regular part of their week can feel the benefits of FCS in their endurance, strength, coordination, focus, and shorter recovery times.
Taking tension off of tissues allows your body to have improved freedom of movement, increased strength & additional energy to put towards improved performance, rather than being held back by fascial problems.
When important fascia problems are helped, it frees up your body’s own resources to help repair any damage incurred while you were out working hard or playing hard.
Reduce Your Pain & Reliance on Pain Medication
If you are trying to reduce pain medication or are trying to avoid it and its potential side effects altogether, it is well worth your time to investigate how Fascial Counterstrain therapy can make you feel better by reducing or eliminating your pain. There is really no risk to you because of how gentle of a therapy it is.
FCS essentially helps the body and its tissues return ever-closer to a more normal, “factory settings” state. This then lets your body take care of you & itself better than it was doing before the injury occurred or before the painful condition developed. Sometimes we just need the right maintenance – just like a car that runs great as long as we take care of its individual parts when recommended.
Avoid the Need for a Surgery – or Avoid Another Surgery
Sometimes surgery is the only option. This is a fact. We propose, however, that there are quite a wide variety of situations where surgery is an option as opposed to the only option as a way forward for you.
If you are someone who would prefer to explore the less risky, less time-consuming, and usually much less expensive route – calling a Body Systems Anchorage Fascial Counterstrain therapist is one of the best next steps you can take before making any final surgery decision with your doctor.
Shoulder Nodule Case Study: Eliminating the Need for Surgery
To illustrate how a painful calcified nodule in the shoulder that seemed to require a second surgery turned out to be verifiably improved without surgery, we refer you to this cited case study