In this article we are discussing how muscle adhesions make your muscle sore, tight, and achy and what you can do about it.

So what is muscle adhesion?
It is the inability of the muscle to glide over the smooth surface that exist between the muscle fiber and the muscle. This smooth surface is what we call fascia. Fascia wraps around pretty much everything in the body, the bodies organs and the muscles. Again it’s a smooth surface and it’s what the muscle fibers, the muscles, and the muscle groups slide over as they elongate on contract. Adhesions are the “gumminess” that has accumulated on the surface (Fascia). It is the gumminess that is impeding the fluid movement of the muscle.

What causes the “gumminess”?
There are a wide range of causes; injuries, trauma, radiation, lack of movement, over use of muscles, and repetitive movement. Over use and repetitive movement are activities normally seen a work and in sports.

How do Muscle Adhesions affect our muscles?
Think about this, you have this muscle that’s trying to move (contract and elongate) and the surface the muscle is moving on is gummed up. It’s going to inhibit the movement of the muscle. and eventually will reduce the of range of motion of the muscle. This gumminess can cause pain, stiffness, soreness, and increase the risk of injury. Adhesions, or gumminess, will also make you feel years and years older then you really are.

When I’m explaining Adhesions to my clients I always use my grandma as an example.
She is 90+ years. When she goes to turn her head to look over her shoulder, she doesn’t just turn her head, because she can’t! She has to rotate her entire body. There could be other structural issues going on with her, but its still a good example of the restriction power of adhesion. We are actually seeing seeing people younger than that feeling the effects of accumulating muscle adhesions. We seen people in their 20,30,40, and 50s who can not look over their blind spot when driving. They are actually dealing with adhesive issues in the muscle of their neck, and its causing that restricted range of motion. It’s not only restricted movement they are experiencing but often, pain and soreness go along with it.  

So we typically lump adhesion and scar tissue into the same sentence – how are they different?
So scar tissue is really the knitting together of the muscle where it’s repairing itself. Adhesions are really the gumming up of the fascia, which is going to reduce the smooth movement. If you put Elmers glue on your hands, put them together and let it dry and then try and move your hands – that is adhesions!

So what can we do to reduce adhesions?
We have to break up the adhesions so that the body can eliminate it. That requires self care, foam rollers and foam balls. That’s what will break up the adhesions between the muscle fiber, muscle, and muscle group.

What about stretching?
Stretching is good and will help re-educate the muscle to a more smooth movement, but it doesn’t do a good job in breaking up adhesions.

How will stimulating the lymph system help?
Since the lymph system would be the system that eliminate this broken up adhesions, we want a health lymph system to help with elimination. Staying hydrated, dry brushing, swimming, and increasing the amount of movement your body does will help. For those who are extremely tight, they may need the help of a massage therapist trained in lymph drainage. Movement is always the best and first step to helping the lymph system.


If you would like to learn more about our online Foam Rolling Program
“Purposeful Foam Rolling”

Christina and I are the creators of the online self care course “Purposeful Foam Rolling”. We teach you how to effectively and efficiently Foam Roll. So you can take control of reducing your muscle pain and tightness. This video is for educational purposes only. We are not treating, diagnosing or prescribing. We are giving you 15 Years of experience as Neuromuscular and Sports Massage Therapist. Check with your doctor first before doing this or any exercise program.

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