Visited East is East on Broadway last night for a family gathering and bumped into our good friend Doc Bones of MSK Chiropractic Clinic. I’m very much looking forward to my appointment with him and his RMT sister at their clinic this coming Friday. Since the last weekend of February I’ve put my body through 9 CrossFit competition events. 5 weeks of the CrossFit Open and 2 weeks of the CanWest Qualifiers has left this old body more than a little beat up!
Stiff, sore muscles are a common outcome of high exertion training. They’re not inevitable mind you. A good nutrition regimen and effective active recovery protocol can reduce or eliminate most training-related muscle soreness. My active recovery includes walking, swimming, hot tub and sauna and I’ve continued to use Macros and the My Fitness Pal app to optimize performance and recovery.
Injury to soft tissue can also be prevented and healed with good eating and recovery practices and avoided with careful attention to correct mechanics while training. I’ve been fortunate to make it through the first quarter of 2019 without any mishaps or injury.
But even when you are doing all these things correctly, there is another type of pain that can afflict athletes and non-athletes alike. Adhesions in the fascia can create tremendous discomfort and can be very difficult to isolate, identify and release. Many times athletes will mistake these for joint or muscle injuries. And when they are left untreated they can lead to joint and soft tissue injury due to impaired movement mechanics.
As yet, I have heard no clear explanation of why or how these adhesions form, so little is known about the fascia. My experience of it is that the pain is not so localized as a joint or soft tissue injury. It doesn’t present with redness or swelling and isn’t always painful to the touch. It is also not made worse by training through it. Training through an injured joint or injured soft tissue will aggravate the injured area and make it worse. Training through the discomfort of a fascia adhesion leaves it feeling just the same as before.
As we groan and complain about our aging bodies we often joke that we’re getting old but this pain is familiar to me from my 20’s when I’d return from Judo practices to sleep on multiple ice packs. In fact, three decades of untreated scarring from combat sport may be the major contributor to the pain I feel today. It is difficult to undo the damage caused by decades of abuse and neglect. Who knows how much scar tissue I’ve accumulated over the years?
So far the best treatment seems to be a good RMT. And I’ve heard that a dry tissue manipulation (no lotion – not very comfortable) is most effective at separating and mobilizing the fascia layers. Friday I will seek relief from a whole mess of scarred fascia in the offices of Doc Bones and his sister with the hopes of returning to pain free training by month’s end.
As we learn more about the fascia we are developing a better understanding of just how important a role it plays in human movement and sport performance as well as how much it may contribute to chronic pain. My take away is that not every ouch is an injury but this doesn’t mean we should leave it untreated!