What does chronic pain, stiffness and cancer have in common?
They all occur within the fascial matrix also known as the connective tissue. The good news is that stretching can mitigate these conditions.
Why is Connective Tissue (a.k.a. Fascia) important? For many reasons but the most compelling (to me) is that when we feel stiff and sore or when we are experiencing chronic pain it's the fascia that needs attention.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is the stuff that holds all our organs, muscles, skeleton etc together. Without it we would be a mass of skin and bones on the floor. It provides structure to our body and keeps everything in place.
It permeates every part of our body; it's highly innervated and therefore a sensory organ (full of free nerve endings); glues the skin to the muscles; and tendons and ligaments and bone are made of this material. (View first video below)
Most importantly the health of our connective tissue plays an instrumental role in chronic pain including back pain and fibromyalgia.
Did you know that cancer grows on connective tissue and that persistent inflammation and fibrosis are factors for cancer growth?
Cancer secretes hormones that promotes stiffness and stiffness promotes cancer and there is some evidence that movement and stretching can reduce those secretions. For more information watch this VIDEO from the University of California.
1. Fascia & The Mystery of Chronic Pain
This is an awesome visual demonstration of how fascia affects mobility.
2. Connective Tissue, Chronic Pain & Cancer
Connective Tissue, Chronic Pain & Cancer
Key Points of this video:
[16:00] The speaker (a researcher) talks about back pain and connective tissue.
[19:30] Listen to what happens to the fascia after an injury.
[22.53] Chronic inflammation
[24:58] Connective tissue and cancer
[27:16] Persistent inflammation and fibrosis are factors for cancer growth. Cancer secretes hormones that promotes stiffness and stiffness promotes cancer.
[28:05] Stretching and how connective tissue can change in regards to movement
[34:31] The effect of stretching on fibrosis in Scleroderma
[40:36] Effect of stretching on chronic inflammation
[54:43] How much to stretch and how quickly after an injury (or operation) should we start stretching
I hope this well inspire you to stretch and move more often.